Bucky’s Pell Pathway

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is an expansion of our commitment to Wisconsin resident students.

The program is designed to assist Badgers from low-income Wisconsin households pay for college through a combination of grants, scholarships and work-study. It includes a commitment to meeting full financial need without loans for incoming first-year students for four consecutive years and transfer students for two consecutive years.

About Bucky's Pell Pathway

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What is Bucky's Pell Pathway?

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is an expansion of our Bucky’s Tuition Promise commitment. Bucky’s Pell Pathway guarantees grants, scholarships, and work study sufficient to meet full financial need for Pell Grant-eligible Wisconsin Residents that intend to enroll in an on-campus program.

Who is eligible?

New incoming Wisconsin residents admitted to an undergraduate on-campus degree program, whether first-year or transfer, who are eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant, or who identify as homeless, a former foster youth, a ward of the court, in legal guardianship, or whose parents are both deceased.

How do I know if I'm eligible for the Federal Pell Grant?

The Federal Pell Grant is a federal grant for students who have exceptional financial need and who have not already earned a bachelor’s, graduate, or professional degree. If you are eligible for the Federal Pell Grant, it will appear as part of your financial aid offer.

When you submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), the U.S. Department of Education determines an Expected Family Contribution (EFC). The calculated EFC determines whether you are eligible to receive the grant.

What is financial need?

Financial need is defined as your Cost of Attendance (COA) at UW-Madison minus your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), the number your FAFSA® calculates.

How long can I participate?

These grants, scholarships, and work study are guaranteed for four (4) consecutive years or eight (8) consecutive semesters, not including summer, for incoming first-year students; and (2) consecutive years of four (4) consecutive semesters for new transfers.

Receiving Bucky's Pell Pathway

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Do I need to apply for Bucky's Pell Pathway?

No. Eligible students are automatically notified of Bucky’s Pell Pathway as they are admitted into UW-Madison and our office receives their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). No separate application is necessary and the Office of Student Financial Aid will notify eligible students via email and post mail.

Is the FAFSA® required?

Yes! All students eligible for Bucky’s Pell Pathway are required to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) and are required to do so on an annual basis.

Do I need to complete a FAFSA® every year?

Yes. Students should complete their FAFSA® each year and as soon as possible after it becomes available. UW-Madison will not have a priority deadline due to the delayed release of the 2024-25 FAFSA®, but we expect it will return in future years.

The Office of Student Financial Aid will be holding events throughout the spring semester to assist students with completing the new FAFSA®.

What if I am no longer eligible for the Pell Grant during my time at UW-Madison?

Your eligibility for the Pell Grant may change from year to year, but once in Bucky’s Pell Pathway, you remain until you’ve used your full eligibility. Bucky’s Pell Pathway guarantees to meet your full financial need during that time, no matter how your EFC or Pell Grant-eligibility changes.

If you believe your family’s income will change drastically, make an appointment to speak with a financial aid advisor.

What if I'm not attending school full-time?

We strongly encourage you to maintain full-time enrollment; however, Bucky’s Pell Pathway will cover the your full financial need so long as you enroll in at least 6 or more credits each semester.

If you enroll in less than 6 credits, you may be eligible to receive the Federal Pell Grant, but no other financial aid.

Because the program only guarantees funding for four (4) consecutive years for incoming first-year students and two (2) years for new transfer students, you can make the most of your financial aid by maintaining full-time enrollment.

Bucky's Pell Pathway Offers

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What grants/scholarships will I receive as a Bucky's Pell Pathway Scholar?

You will be offered both your full federal and state grant eligibility and UW-Madison meets the rest of your financial need through various institutional and private grants, scholarships, and work-study.

How do outside scholarships affect a Bucky's Pell Pathway financial aid offer?

Because a student cannot receive more than their financial need, work-study and/or other grants are decreased to make room for outside scholarships. Overall, the student doesn’t receive less funding, but cannot receive more than their financial need each academic year.  Students should inform us if they are receiving a scholarship as soon as possible.

What if the Bucky's Pell Pathway offer doesn't cover my full cost to attend?

Bucky’s Pell Pathway is committed to covering your full financial need, which most times will help pay for tuition and fees, housing expenses, food, required course material, miscellaneous costs, travel, etc.  However, because it cannot cover your Expected Family Contribution (EFC), you will need to budget and plan accordingly.

While a Bucky's Pell Pathway Scholar...

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Do Bucky's Pell Pathway Scholars live in any particular University Housing?

Chadbourne Residence Hall offers an affinity community option where Bucky’s Pell Pathway Scholars live together, but you can choose to live anywhere that’s best for you!

If you choose to live in University Housing, you will need to complete your housing contract and submit a deposit by your specified deadline to secure your space.

Are the monthly workshops required?

Although they are not mandatory, the goal of the monthly workshops is to support you beyond providing financial aid.

These workshops provide you the opportunity to connect with other students over a meal while learning about various campus and community resources. Some of the workshop topics include information on funding study abroad experiences, funding graduate school, stress management and resume building.

See our event listings on this page for upcoming workshops.

What academic standards must a Bucky's Pell Pathway Scholar maintain to continue receiving financial aid?

All students receiving financial aid, including through Bucky’s Pell Pathway must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP).

Your academic record is reviewed at the end of each academic year (late May/early June).

Will I receive financial aid if I decide to enroll in summer?

Yes, summer financial aid is available to Bucky’s Pell Pathway Scholars that have completed at least one semester at UW-Madison and are enrolled in at least three credits, which will be paid for through grant funds. Work-study and loans may also be offered to you. You can use the loans to cover additional expenses, however, the loans may not be enough to cover your costs for the entire summer.

There is no application needed for summer financial aid if you’re taking the classes at UW-Madison.

Another option for summer school is to take classes at another campus (such as Madison College or another UW system school). If you’d like to do this, please be sure to consult your academic advisor. You will also need to complete and submit additional paperwork called a consortium agreement.

You will not get as much financial aid over the summer as you do during the academic year – plan accordingly.

Can I participate in a co-op?

As co-op students tend to only enroll in one-credit during the semester they participate, the only financial aid a co-op student may be eligible to receive is the Federal Pell Grant. And if needed, co-op students will be automatically granted an additional semester of financial aid eligibility to complete their degree.

Can I study abroad?

Yes, Bucky’s Pell Pathway Scholars are provided funding to study abroad. We encourage students to plan early and find programs that match the cost of attending UW-Madison to avoid taking on large amounts of student loan debt to cover excess costs (studyabroad.wisc.edu).  Students should also make sure to apply for study abroad-specific scholarships (https://www.studyabroad.wisc.edu/scholarships.html) which can reduce or replace any offered loans

What are Success Services?

Bucky’s Pell Pathway Scholars have priority access to the Office of Student Financial Aid’s Success Services. Success Services include success coaching, peer mentorship, a workshop series, and basic needs support. Learn more about accessing each resource here: https://financialaid.wisc.edu/success/

Upcoming Events

Using Your Federal Work-Study

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What is work-study?

Work-study is federally funded financial aid in the form of part-time employment. You can work on-campus or with approved off-campus non-profit or small business employers to earn money for additional educational expenses. Read more about Work-study.

How do I receive payment from participating in work-study?

The money earned through work-study is not disbursed to you directly nor is it applied towards tuition or housing; to receive this money, you must earn it through working in a work-study position. You will be paid a portion of their work-study every two weeks through a paycheck, based on your hourly wage and the number of hours worked. You can decide how to spend the money earned with each paycheck depending on your needs at the time. The minimum wage on campus is $10.00/hour.

Am I required to work?

We strongly encourage it. Working while in school can be a great way to not only help pay for living expenses, but also to be involved within the UW and local Madison community, meet new friends, discover new passions, learn about oneself, and gain valuable professional skills.

What types of jobs are available?

Work-study can be earned through any student help part-time position offered by UW-Madison departments.  In addition, work-study can also be earned through a position at some local non-profit organizations and small businesses within the state of Wisconsin. Most UW-Madison employers strongly prefer to hire students who have work-study and many community based, non-profit organizations will only hire students with work-study.

How do I find a job?

Visit the UW Student Jobs website to find hundreds of job opportunities available and it continues to be updated every day! Work-Study can be earned from any student help position offered at UW-Madison. You may also earn your Work-Study from a position at any community based, non-profit organization in the surrounding Madison area. To find more information about these categories, visit the Federal Work-Study page on the Student Jobs website.

When should I start looking for a job?

The earlier the better! While UW-Madison jobs are posted throughout the year, the vast majority are posted throughout August and filled prior to the beginning of the Fall semester. It is recommended to check the Student Jobs website daily leading up to the beginning of school so that students can find the best opportunity for them.  Job openings with both UW and non-UW employers continue to be posted daily on the Student Jobs website throughout the year.

What if the job I take isn't work-study eligible; is that OK?

Yes, although we do strongly encourage working either on-campus, at local community non-profits, or small businesses that are work-study eligible. If the student chooses a non-work-study employer, the student would not earn any funds from their work-study award, but it would remain in the offer to represent the Bucky’s Pell Pathway work expectation.

Can I study on the job?

The name work-study can be misleading. Work-study jobs are no different from any other job in which students are expected to work in exchange for wages. Work-study jobs are real jobs that play an integral role in an organizations daily functions.