Jayson Chung, 608-266-5517
Kyle Schwarm, 608-266-0050
MADISON – Wisconsin’s technical colleges are waiving out-of-state tuition to victims of Hurricane Katrina who need education and training. Last week, the colleges decided to use statutory and administrative authority to waive out of state tuition for needy and worthy students impacted by the hurricanes’ devastation.
While statutory limits exist on the number of waiver colleges can grant, Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) President Dan Clancy confirmed that it is entirely appropriate for colleges to apply these waivers to hurricane victims. “In this time of national tragedy, the WTCS is affirming its role as a national leader in providing education and training by working together to assist residents of the Gulf Coast area,” according to Clancy. In light of the number of people displaced by the Hurricane, Clancy is committed to seeking legislation that would expand waiver availability if needed.
Clancy has appointed WTCS Associate Vice President Jayson Chung to coordinate WTCS activities for disaster relief. Both Clancy and Chung are encouraging local colleges to coordinate their efforts through Wisconsin Emergency Management, a member of the interstate Emergency Management Assistance Compact. As an immediate response, the WTCS will also waive application fees for victims to encourage enrollment for January 2006 spring semester, and to assist students in seeking financial aid.
Brent Smith, President of the WTCS Board, hailed the concern and effort of WTCS staff and students who are looking for ways to assist. “Efforts by the WTCS to find ways of helping the hurricane victims demonstrate one of our key strengths: being nimble enough to provide a speedy response to those in need, whether dislocated workers in Wisconsin or those who come to Wisconsin seeking a better life,” Smith said.
Staff and students throughout the WTCS are actively involved in fund-raising efforts and in identifying other activities that will help displaced hurricane victims succeed. The WTCS System Office is compiling a list of local college staff involved in responding to the disaster, which will simplify the sharing of ideas, successes and issues that may arise.
Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges offer more than 300 programs to community residents who receive two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas. Wisconsin’s business and industry turn to the technical colleges for customized training and technical assistance. More than 400,000 adults in the state use the 16 technical colleges for career preparation and continuing education each year. The WTC System Web site address is www.wtcsystem.edu.