The $70,000 funding from UW System includes $20,000 for one-time start-up costs, along with $50,000 which will continue annually if criteria are met. The program is modeled after a similar one at UW-Stout.
Over the past three years, up to 40 UWL students have identified themselves each year as having no living parent, being in foster care or previously being a dependent or ward of the court.
“The goal is to recognize that this is a very underserved population in the state,” says Narcotta-Welp. “We’re hoping to provide more services to these students while they are in college.”
Narcotta-Welp says foster students will be welcomed this fall into the university’s current Student Support Services (SSS) program in 2131 Centennial Hall. SSS serves first-generation and low-income students, as well as students with disabilities. While some foster students had already qualified for assistance in that program, the additional money ensures no students from foster care will be turned away if the program fills up.
The grant allows for additional peer tutors in math, science and writing; three peer mentors; and a student intern to promote the new services. Grant funding will also cover cultural events, conferences and career readiness experiences that often remain out of reach for this population because of the added expense.
Foster students will receive welcome-to-campus packages containing bedding, toiletries and laundry supplies. They will also receive a $500 scholarship.
Students will also be directed to assistance programs already in place such as the UWL Food Pantry; Campus Threads, which offers free clothing to students; and various UWL Foundation fundraisers.
The total $750,000 in funding for Fostering Success grants was awarded to the UW System as a part of the 2021-23 state budget. UWL received the allotted maximum award possible after applying early this summer.