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University of Wisconsin System
Return to Wisconsin Pilot Program
Implementation Guidelines


General Description

On November 7, 2003, the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents authorized a pilot program offering discounted tuition to the eligible non-resident children and grandchildren of alumni. Tuition rates for eligible individuals would be discounted to a rate equal to regular non-resident undergraduate tuition less 25% but not less than the projected cost of that student’s education. The student would continue to pay all other costs at rates applicable to other students. Participation would continue for subsequent terms as long as the student remains in good standing and makes satisfactory academic progress. The pilot program is to be effective with the Fall 2004 session and will run for a period of three years. After this period, the program will be evaluated and a recommendation made to the Board regarding continuation. The primary goal of the program is to increase non-resident enrollments thereby generating additional financial support for resident enrollments. It is also hoped that providing such a benefit will enhance development opportunities by strengthening relationships with campus alumni.



Qualifying Alumni


The program is open to students whose parent or grandparent graduated (with associates, bachelors, masters or doctoral degree) from the institution the student will be attending. For purposes of this program, parents include biological, adoptive, step or legal parents and/or legal guardians. Grandparents are defined as the biological or adoptive parent of a person who has a biological or adopted child.


Qualifying Student

Eligible Non-resident students include those from states other than Wisconsin and Minnesota as well as residents of US territories and foreign countries.

The program is open to all new and continuing non-resident students beginning with the Fall 2004 session.

Documentation of Eligibility

Participating students will be asked to submit a signed and notarized certification attesting to their relationship to an eligible alumnus. This document is to include at least the following key elements:

  1. Full name of student
  2. State/Country of student residency
  3. Full name of eligible alumnus (current and at graduation, if different)
  4. Graduation date of qualifying alumnus
  5. Relationship of qualifying alumnus (only those listed below qualify)
    1. Biological Parent
    2. Adoptive Parent
    3. Step Parent
    4. Legal Guardian
    5. Biological grandparent
    6. Adoptive grandparent
  6. Signature of eligible alumnus attesting to relationship. In cases where the qualifying alumnus is deceased, prospective program participants are required to present the date of birth and social security number of the deceased. Institutions may, at their discretion, seek formal documentation to substantiate claimed status. Such documentation might include birth and/or marriage certificates, adoption papers or other documentation deemed appropriate.

Relevant Fees

The 25% discount under this program applies to the total non-resident academic fees normally assessed to non-resident students. It does not apply to differential tuitions, housing, food service or other fees which may be assessed to these students.

Limits on Benefit

There are no limits as to the duration and/or cumulative benefit which may accrue to students under this program as long as the student remains in good standing and makes satisfactory academic progress as defined by the institution under US Department of Education guidelines for federal financial assistance programs.

Should the program sunset after its three year pilot period, students will continue to pay the reduced Return to Wisconsin rate as long as they maintain continuous enrollment toward their undergraduate degree.

The program does not apply to graduate program tuition and fees.

Institutional Caveats

The Board has stipulated that this program cannot displace resident students at the institution. Enrollments will be considered outside the institution’s enrollment management target.

Institutions should make clear in any marketing or other communications that the program offers no preference with respect to admissions. All participants are subject to the same admission criteria as other students seeking to attend the institution.

The program discount applies only to the regular non-resident tuition rates. All other applicable fees, charges and expenses are not to be discounted.

Information to be maintained/developed at participating institutions

Institutions must track the number of legacy applicants seeking participation in the program through data collected in the application process. The HELP Office intends to add a single question to its e-application asking students to self identify themselves as eligible noting whether they have a parent or grandparent who graduated from a UW institution and, if so, which institution(s) they hold degrees from and year of graduation. This question will also be added to the paper application forms as soon as practicable.

In addition, participating institutions must track actual legacy enrollments. This will be facilitated through information collected on the eligibility document detailed above as well as through “flagging” the student as a legacy on the CDR. It is anticipated that the CDR process will have elements added to note participation in the program and alumni relationship (e.g., parent, grandparent, etc.). Note that state of origin is already part of the CDR.

Institutions will be allowed to retain 100% of the tuition collected under this program.

Finally, the Board of Regents expressed an interest in understanding the impact of the program on diversity efforts at participating institutions. Accordingly, institutions will be asked to assess such impact and explain how the program helped/hindered campus efforts to bring additional diversity to the student body.