Tuition program helps future farmers and agricultural professionals

Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) students visit a horticulture business in November 2017. Courtesy of FISC

Training future farmers on the latest science-based management and production techniques is at the core of the College of Agricultural and Life Science’s mission. Since 1886, the college has provided training to tens of thousands of agricultural professionals through the Farm and Industry Short Course (FISC) program. Financial limitations should not prevent Wisconsin residents from pursuing their dream to learn about agribusiness—and UW–Madison is pledging funds to ensure all Wisconsin students can pursue a career in agriculture, regardless of their financial circumstances.

Through a new financial assistance program called the “Farm and Industry Short Course Tuition Promise” the university will guarantee all FISC students from Wisconsin with a family income below $60,000—the median income in the state – will have their tuition funded by gifts and grants.

“We are excited to demonstrate our strong commitment to training future farmers and agricultural professionals through this new financial assistance program,” said Kate VandenBosch, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. “In light of the recent financial hardships facing many of those in Wisconsin agriculture, we are pleased to make this commitment to training future generations of agricultural leaders.”

The FISC Tuition Promise program shares the same goal as UW–Madison’s Bucky’s Tuition Promise: to ensure Wisconsin’s flagship public university is affordable for Wisconsin students and families. Unlike Bucky’s Tuition Promise, however, the FISC program does not involve federal financial aid, so FISC students do not need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Instead, students qualify by completing a FISC scholarship application after they have been admitted to the program.

“Due to the success and generosity of our graduates and supporters, FISC has been able to provide scholarships to our students for decades,” says FISC Director Jennifer Blazek. “With the launch of the FISC Tuition Promise we are strengthening our commitment to ensuring that students with the greatest need are not discouraged from applying and attending.”

Additional scholarships will continue to be available for students who do not qualify for the FISC Tuition Promise. All admitted students are strongly encouraged to complete a FISC scholarship application to be eligible for scholarship support.

Farm and Industry Short Course is the primary farmer-training program offered by the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. Participants take courses on the UW–Madison campus during the stretch of time between fall harvest and spring planting. The curriculum covers topics such as crops, dairy, meat animals, agricultural engineering, farm business planning, agribusiness, human relations and communications. Coursework involves lectures, hands-on labs and tours. For more on the program, visit

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UW student Skylyn Worzalla speaks with William Karpus, dean of the graduate school, at an info session during the University of Wisconsin-Madison and American Family Insurance Partnership Celebration Event held in the Discovery Building of the University of Wisconsin-Madison on April 19, 2019.