Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty Lawsuit is an attack on technical colleges and their students.
Wisconsin Institute of Law and Liberty Lawsuit is an attack on technical colleges and their students
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty’s (WILL) litigation challenging the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aid Board’s (HEAB) Minority Retention Grant is an attack on the state’s students of color and on Milwaukee Area Technical College.
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s “College Scorecard” 66% percent of MATC’s students receive federal Pell Grants. Those grants cover less than 60% of the cost of attending a two-year college. The HEAB Minority Undergraduate Retention grants are available to students at the state’s technical and tribal colleges and can help students who might otherwise not be able to attend college on Pell grants alone. Gaps between costs and financial aid, explains Dr. Lisa Conley, President of AFT Local 212, is a primary obstacle to college completion for MATC’s students. “Wisconsin’s Minority Retention grants are one of the few tools that students at MATC have to help address this shortfall.”
Crystal Sanford, a MATC nursing student, explains, “The minority retention grant has made a great difference in pursuit of my education… It has been and still is a struggle to pay tuition, take care of a child and pay bills all while trying to make a better life for myself and my family. I would hope that this grant is not taken away. I’m sure other students like myself, would like to attend college and not have this heavy burden of trying to afford it and be successful.”
“WILL’s attempt to eliminate the minority retention grants is racism clothed in hypocritical rhetoric,” said Conley. If it succeeds, it will make it more difficult for low-income Black, Latino, Indian and Asian students to pursue a post-secondary education.
Milwaukee Area Technical College serves over 31 thousand students on four campuses. Fifty-seven percent of students are students of color and 90 percent of all students attend the college part-time.
American Federation of Teachers, Local 212 is the largest post-secondary teacher’s union in the state and seeks to foster an equitable society by enriching, empowering and transforming the lives of MATC’s students and educational professionals and to meet the needs of the communities that we serve.