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Bill guaranteeing admission to UW, tech schools for top students signed into law

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Bill guaranteeing admission to UW, tech schools for top students signed into law

The bipartisan bill will task schools with creating ranking systems to get top students guaranteed admission to in-state colleges.

February 20, 2024 4:33 PM CDT

By: Jimmie Kaska

MADISON, Wis. (Civic Media) – Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers signed a bill that guarantees admission to Wisconsin schools within the Universities of Wisconsin or technical colleges for top students into law Tuesday.

Senate Bill 367 becomes Wisconsin Act 95 with the signing.

Under the bill, public and private schools in Wisconsin would e required to develop a class ranking system based on grade point average, ACT scores, course work, and other factors. Schools would have to notify students finishing in the top five percent of their high school class of their ranking.

The guaranteed admission is for first-year undergraduate students at UW schools.

“Our state faces immense workforce challenges, and bolstering our workforce to make sure it can meet the needs of the 21st Century means working to keep our state’s homegrown talent right here in Wisconsin,” Evers said in a statement. “I’m glad to be signing this important legislation that will help address our state’s generational workforce challenges by ensuring greater access and opportunities for our kids to go to school, start their careers, and build their futures in Wisconsin.”

Ahead of the bill’s passage, UW officials were unable to provide a financial estimate of the impact of the bill because they didn’t know what would be required of the colleges at the time they made the estimate. The state’s technical colleges didn’t expect there to be a big financial impact because its programs already allow for open access.

UW officials said about 90% of graduates from the Universities of Wisconsin stay in-state, according to a release from Gov. Evers.

The bill passed committee 5-3 before being adopted by the state Legislature, where it was approved 23-9 with bipartisan support in the Senate, while the Assembly passed it on a voice vote.

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