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Chapter Scholarship Program Changes Frequently Asked Questions

What is the history of the chapter scholarship program?

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association’s matching dollar scholarship program encourages alumni chapters around the world to help attract a diverse group of the brightest and best students to the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Since its inception in 1967, the program has matched gifts, up to $10,000 per year per chapter, and has awarded more than $6 million to nearly 5,000 deserving UW students.

In the 2016-17 academic year, the WFAA matching dollar scholarship fund awarded 299 scholarships totaling $725,150 through alumni chapters, and 25 scholarships totaling $69,777 though affiliate organizations. WFAA matched those scholarships with $293,663.

What is changing?

These changes, which will begin in 2018 and be fully implemented over the course of a three-year phase-in period, include the following:

  • Beginning Fall 2018, WFAA will no longer match gifts to affiliate organizations such as the Actuarial Alumni Club, Daily Cardinal Alumni Association, Hillel, etc., nor to new or inactive chapters and chapters who have not awarded a scholarship over the past three years.
  • Effective Fall 2019, matching dollars from the WFAA general equity fund will no longer be used to support chapters that consistently have met or exceeded the $10,000 match limit. (These eleven chapters have been notified).
  • Effective Fall 2020, matching funds from the WFAA general equity funds will no longer be used to support the remaining chapters. The last match will be for scholarships awarded for the academic year 2019-2020.
  • Effective Fall 2020, WFAA will no longer award scholarship stipends to Bascom Chapters.

Why are these changes being made?

Our goal is to help local chapters build a locally sustainable scholarship program that will benefit UW-Madison students for generations to come. Currently, the funds used to match local chapter scholarships come for the WFAA’s general operating fund, and those funds will no longer be available. By assisting in the transition and phasing in the program over a three-year period, we believe we can achieve that goal.

Is the WFAA providing any help to local chapters who want to continue the chapter scholarship programs?

The WFAA is committed to assisting local chapters in a successful transition to the new funding model for the scholarship program. Over the course of the three-year phase in, WFAA will offer support services, including but not limited to the following:

  • WFAA’s Development team will assist local chapter volunteers in their local fundraising efforts.
  • WFAA’s Marketing and Communications Department will help develop marketing tools and resources emphasizing the need for and impact of localized scholarships to help solicit gifts from area alums.
  • Launch a crowdfunding platform: By next fall, WFAA will launch a crowdfunding platform. Similar to a “Kick-starter” experience, Chapters will be able to utilize the site to solicit funds for scholarships. The chapter specific sites can be shared socially and throughout local networks.
  • Day of Giving: In the spring of 2019, WFAA will launch a “Day of Giving” event that will encourage all alums to give back to the university. Many schools leverage the idea of a “giving day” and it is expected to be the single largest day of giving at UW. Chapters will be receiving a customized page within the giving platform that will them to accept gifts for their local scholarships.
  • Video: Marketing will create a video describing the impact of chapter scholarships. It will feature recent recipients to show the impact that gifts to chapter scholarships can make. Chapters can then share the video along with other fundraising collateral to solicit gifts.
  • WFAA will identify and seek out gift funds that may be available to replace matching dollars from the WFAA general equity funds.
  • WFAA will work with UW-Madison’s Office of Financial Aid to help chapters better identify incoming and current UW-Madison students seeking financial aid.

Who can I talk to regarding these changes?

If you have questions or seek additional information, please contact Jeff Wendorf.