The Liberal Arts Advantage: Make a Good Living, Lead a Good Life
The Annual Report of the College of Letters & Science

Fund the Future

Gifts to the L&S Annual Fund allow the College to provide assistance to first-year students

Potrait of Calla Buttke

Calla Buttke (Submitted photo)

She was a student who had done everything right: juggled a rigorous course load of Advanced Placement classes in high school while volunteering for service initiatives and tutoring elementary-school students.

But Calla Buttke, who graduated first in her class at Wausau West High School, was not sure she would land a scholarship from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She wanted to study languages and History, and she had heard that scholarships in the College of Letters & Science were limited.

That’s when she learned about the new L&S Freshman Scholar Award.

In response to a tremendous increase in the number of scholarship applications from incoming first-year students in recent years, the College of Letters & Science created the award to provide much-needed financial assistance to 25 meritorious new students each fall. The awards are supported through the L&S Annual Fund, a critical discretionary fund that Dean Gary Sandefur uses to meet top needs.

“The need for additional student support is so clearly demonstrated,” says Allison Rice, L&S Undergraduate Scholarships Officer. “I am exceedingly grateful that our donors have responded to this need by generously donating to the College. We are able to help more students than ever before because of these important contributions.”

The cost of a UW-Madison education — tuition, fees, books, and room and board — for resident undergraduates for the 2012–2013 school year will be a little more than $23,000. Still, that figure ranks in the bottom half of the Big Ten for cost, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance placed UW-Madison at 13th in the country for best value among public universities. Even so, UW-Madison is last in the Big Ten in providing financial aid, and nearly half of all undergraduates graduate with debt.

By creating additional scholarships, the College is better placed to recruit talented students.

Every year, the list of first-year scholarship applicants — this year there were 1,219, a College record — is pared down to a group of finalists. It is made up of promising high school students who, as Rice says, “have worked hard and done everything right.”
They boast impressive test scores and grade point averages, and many were valedictorians of their classes.

Buttke is planning on majoring in German and History — and maybe Chinese, too — at UW-Madison. Thanks to the new scholarships, she will have some assistance in preparing for whatever lies ahead, be it law school, the Peace Corps or Foreign Service.

“I was really happy and surprised, because I didn’t think UW-Madison gave too many merit scholarships, especially in the College of Letters & Science,” Buttke says. “I’m excited to study the things that I really like, like languages and History.”