Among the best

UWL Scholarship Coordinator Josh Bonnell, right, with Amanda Lee, left, vice president of the university’s First-Generation Organization, and Quentin Clark-Meyer, treasurer of the group, promote National First-Generation Student Day Nov. 8 at Hoeschler Tower.

UWL earns high rank for 1st generation, low-income students

UW-La Crosse has received more national recognition. This time it’s on ScholarMatch’s 2018 College Honor Roll for going above and beyond for providing excellent support and opportunities for first-generation and low-income students.

UWL is one of 375 schools, and one of only two UW schools, on the list. The other is UW-Eau Claire. ScholarMatch is a San Francisco nonprofit organization whose mission is to make higher education possible for low-income youth.

“UWL understands the value of a dollar earned, much like what is instilled in our first-gen and low-income students from their parents and families,” says Josh Bonnell, scholarship coordinator at UWL. “For this reason, we offer a variety of services dedicated to not only helping students graduate with minimal debt, but also set them up for a financially successful future.”

Daniel Valle, a peer advisor with UWL’s It Make$ Cents, discusses financial tips with a student. The Money Management Center offers one-on-one counseling with student mentors who offer guidance on personal finance topics.

Bonnell points to the university’s nationally known and three-time Governor’s Financial Literacy Award recipient, It Make$ Cents!, as beneficial for students, along with a Scholarship Resource Center. Also for first-generation students, UWL has a First-Generation Organization that provides services and resources to help them be as successful, and persist to graduation, as their counterparts.

UWL also encourages first-generation students to take the UWL 100 introductory class to help develop skills and knowledge the average first-generation student needs. The university also has dedicated offices and scholarship programs specific for first-generation and low-income students.

“UWL has many faculty and staff members who were first-generation themselves,” notes Bonnell. “So no matter what office a student walks into or college they are a part of, there should be someone who they can relate to and aspire to be.”

UWL’s first-generation students are around 35 percent of the 10,569-member student body, while 20 percent are considered low-income and eligible for Pell grants.

Each year, ScholarMatch analyzes 1,400 U.S. colleges and universities using public college data and information from the College Scorecard to identify schools that offer the most supportive environments for students whose families earn less than $50,000 per year. They publish their findings on their College Honor Roll, recognizing the schools that are truly offering robust student support and are achieving excellent outcomes for this student population.

ScholarMatch features selected schools on their College Honor Roll in their college search tool, the ScholarMatcher, which is a free interactive tool that help underserved students find their best-fit college in just a few simple clicks.

See more about ScholarMatch. Test out the ScholarMatcher.

Among UWL’s other recent national kudos are:
• No. 4 public university in the Midwest — and No. 1 in Wisconsin — in U.S. News & World Report’s 2019 America’s Best Regional Universities in the Midwest.
• No. 13 among four-year public institutions nationally with the highest, five-year loan repayment rates for Pell Grant recipients.
• No. 6 among the Top LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges for 2018-19 by, a leading online organization that lists affordable colleges.
• No. 22 on the list of the 2019 Most Affordable Online Colleges for Educational Leadership for its Master of Education – Professional Development Educational Leadership Emphasis program.