Sen. Tammy Baldwin visited the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Student Success Center today as part of a tour of the Fox Valley, which included Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton and the site of the redeveloping Oshkosh Premier Waterfront Hotel and Convention Center.
Baldwin said she chose to visit UWO so early in her Senate term because it was one of the first college campuses she visited during her campaign, and she wanted to what the university had done in the last few months. She said she plans to visit schools throughout the state.
UWO students and representatives from the university’s Business Success Center, Student Success Center and Division of Student Affairs visited with the senator, discussing programs the university offers to help prepare students for careers.
“I think we continue, in Wisconsin, to hear about the skills gap,” Baldwin said. “It’s really great when our institutions of higher learning are thinking ahead.”
A “tight partnership” between universities and local employers is necessary to address the current skills gap, as well as to prevent future setbacks, Baldwin said.
Baldwin also spoke in favor of bolstering financial support for college students. One way to make college more affordable, she said, is to increase funding for the federal Pell Grant program, and to increase the “buying power” of the grant by ensuring that it covers a larger percentage of a student’s total tuition.
She lauded the extension of the American Opportunity Tax Credit, a provision of the fiscal cliff deal reached at the start of the new year. The credit helps families pay for college.
Baldwin said it’s not just significant that the tax credit exists; it’s significant that the government recognizes that making college affordable is important.