BaraBOOST scholarship having real impact at Baraboo Sauk County branch campus

UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County students

Almost nine in 10 students in this year's freshman class applied for a BaraBOOST scholarship at UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, according to the Friends of the Campus Foundation that supports the UW-Platteville branch campus in Baraboo. The $1,000 minimum scholarship is available to every new enrolled full-time freshman student who applies.

Rebecca Oettinger, president of the Friends of the Campus Foundation, said that three years ago, the Foundation was looking for a way to increase affordability for more students as well as promote a vibrant, healthy campus community by boosting enrollment. The result was the BaraBOOST scholarship program, which received applications from nearly 90% of the fall 2022 freshman class.  

“We’re delighted to have such full participation from this year’s class of new full-time students. Our donors want to support as many students on campus as we can. It is part of our mission, and it’s been great to have so many students applying and qualifying,” said Oettinger.  

To earn the $1,000 BaraBOOST, a student needs to fill out a very short online application, take a full-time slate of classes for two semesters, and earn at least a 2.0 grade point average in their first term. The award is then paid at the start of a student's second semester.  

“We want to make it as simple a process as possible,” said Oettinger. “We hope increasing participation by freshmen will lead to more students staying on campus for their sophomore year and beyond.”  

The Friends of the Campus Foundation also supports scholarships for returning students, targeted toward specific areas of study or student achievements.  

The BaraBOOST guarantee has already become a key selling point to prospective students, reports Megan Jensen, assistant director of undergraduate recruitment.  

“Many students considering a branch campus are very aware of the lower cost already, and the BaraBOOST makes Baraboo Sauk County an even better value,” said Jensen. “As the primary recruiter for the Baraboo Sauk County Campus, I am grateful for the commitment the campus and community have for student support. The BaraBOOST is just one of many reasons that make starting at Baraboo Sauk County a compelling option for students,” added Jensen.  

The Friends of the Campus is hosting its primary annual fundraiser, the “Grape and Gourmet Gala” on April 27 at Trappers Turn Golf Club in Wisconsin Dells.

“It’s hard to believe this is the 30th anniversary of the Grape and Gourmet Gala. It is one of my favorite events of the year," said Oettinger. "The food and wine are always outstanding, and it’s hard not to be inspired by our student speaker and what they’ve accomplished.”  

With the expanding number of students applying for their help, Oettinger expects the need for contributions to keep growing.

“In addition to the scholarships we provide, the Friends of the Campus Foundation also helps faculty with grants for travel. We’ve been looking into other ways to help students reach their higher education goals and to help the campus remain a central part of this community,” said Oettinger.