APPLETON, Wis. (WFRV) – Several higher education institutions in Northeast Wisconsin have announced new tuition aid programs to make college more affordable for more students. 

The most recent one is Lawrence University. This week, officials announced a program called the ‘Lawrence Advantage.’

“Anything that aids students and their families with reducing the cost of higher education is a win for everyone,” said Lawrence University president Laurie Carter.

Carter said the program would help students meet any remaining needs not covered by scholarships, grants, federal loans, and student employment through a supplemental Lawrence grant for all four (or five) years of their college experience.

The program is for students from Illinois and Wisconsin who make up about 37 percent of the student body. The program will begin in the fall of 2023.

Carter said that the money for the new program has come from donors. She said that the average amount of student debt Lawrence University students end up with when they graduate is $5,000 less this year than it was just two years ago.

According to its website, tuition for this school year is over $53,000 for one year and if you add up tuition, room, board, and fees it comes out to over $65,000 for one year.

“Sometimes the cost of higher education is viewed as an impediment, we don’t want that to be the case,” said Carter. “We want everyone to know that they can really take advantage of this excellent academic opportunity.”

Although Carter said that the ‘Lawrence Advantage’ program didn’t come in response to it, its rollout comes about a month after the University of Wisconsin system schools announced some major tuition assistance news.

A new program at the UW system schools guarantees free tuition for students who are Wisconsin residents and live in households with adjusted gross incomes of $62,000 or less. It launches next fall.

On Wednesday, Governor Tony Evers was on UW Oshkosh’s campus to talk to the university’s student Democrat group.

Local Five News was able to speak with him after the event and we asked him how he would keep tuition costs down for students if he gets re-elected as Wisconsin’s governor in November.

“We anticipate bringing a more robust budget this next time around so that more of that is on the state and less on the students,” said Evers. “Scholarships, but also it costs a lot of money to heat these buildings and keep them maintained anything from administration to materials I believe the state has some obligation around that.”

Governor Evers said that he also supports President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan.

The plan would cancel $10,000 of debt ($20,000 for those who qualify for Pell grants) for Americans who make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 for a family. The Department of Education will create an application for the program next month.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated this week that this will cost about $400 billion across 30 years. Republicans will almost undoubtedly challenge Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan in court.

“Tony Evers tried to hike taxes by $1 billion, but Tim Michels will enact real tax reform, increase investments in vocational training, and provide opportunities for students to participate in internships and apprenticeships,” said a spokeswoman for the Tim Michels campaign. “Tim will work to lower prices for all Wisconsinites — not force taxpayers without student debt to cover for others’ degrees like Biden and Evers.”