News Release

Published on Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, Inc. (FFWS) today announced a founding gift from John P. and Tashia F. Morgridge of $175 million. The gift will create a permanent endowment to provide financial grants for eligible, lower-income, talented graduates of Wisconsin public schools attending a Wisconsin public post-secondary school.

The donation from John Morgridge, former chairman of Cisco Systems, and his wife, Tashia, a retired elementary special education teacher, will give about 2,000 grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for the 2008-09 school year, and more than 3,000 grants annually after that. The purpose of the FFWS is to reduce financial barriers to college and to lighten the debt that most Wisconsin students incur during their college years. The grants come as a response to the gap created by decreased government aid and the increased costs of college education.

The grants, which do not be repaid, will be awarded through the University of Wisconsin System two- and four-year colleges and the Wisconsin Technical College System schools to eligible students.

“On behalf of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges, future students and their parents, we are extremely thankful for the incredible gift of the Wisconsin Scholars Fund. Significant numbers of technical college students have limited financial resources and the demand for state financial aid dollars has exceeded available funding for several years,” said Dan Clancy, President of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “The establishment of the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars and its potential to encourage additional contributions should reduce many financial barriers to college for generations to come,” Clancy added.

“This is great news for the students of Western Wisconsin. The more accessible college becomes, the more likely it is that students will pursue higher education,” said Lee Rasch, Western Technical College president. “And, since 77 percent of our graduates are employed within Western’s district, this will also have a positive impact on the region. As baby boomers retire from our local businesses, we need to replace them with skilled workers. The Wisconsin Scholars Fund can help make that happen.”

For more information on the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars, visit