Investing in Outstanding Students: The Nicholas Match


UW-Madison Students: The Future of Wisconsin

Campus is home to more than 40,000 bright, energetic students: tomorrow’s leaders and innovators. But as the cost of education rises and state support languishes, many of these talented students find it hard to afford this university.

On average, UW students graduate with $25,000 in college debt, and Wisconsin ranks low among Big Ten institutions in undergraduate need-based awards. Additional funding would allow UW-Madison students to attend the university without facing uncomfortable levels of debt.

Scholarships often make the difference when students are deciding to enroll at UW-Madison. Merit-based scholarships are limited, and increasingly, bright young students are offered aid packages at other schools. Additional scholarship dollars for new freshmen would strengthen UW-Madison’s ability to recruit some of the best and brightest students.

Graduate Students: The Lifeblood of a Research Institution

Graduate students conduct research, teach undergraduates, assist professors, and form the cadre for the UW’s future faculty and staff. They work side by side with educators and researchers, asking penetrating questions, making discoveries, and inspiring undergraduates. They are tomorrow’s leaders, advancing knowledge in the sciences, arts, humanities, environment, medicine, engineering, and more.

Like top faculty, the most accomplished graduate students are in high demand, and other institutions use generous aid packages to attract them. Graduate awards give UW-Madison the ability to recruit and retain these young scholars.

The Nicholas Match: Investing in the Future of Wisconsin

In June 2015, Ab ’52, MBA’55 and Nancy Johnson ’55 Nicholas announced a transformational, $50 million gift to create a one-to-one match to inspire other donors to fund undergraduate and athletic scholarships and graduate fellowships for UW-Madison students.

“The Nicholas gift is in the sweet spot of our priorities,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Along with the donations it inspires, it will go straight into the pockets of students and their families to make UW-Madison more accessible and affordable.”

The Nicholas gift will match new gifts and pledges that create permanent endowments to provide support for UW-Madison students. Gifts of $125,000 to $1,000,000 are eligible for the match. For example:

  • A gift of $125,000 will be matched dollar for dollar to establish an endowment to provide need-based grants to incoming freshmen
  • A gift of $250,000 will be matched dollar for dollar to establish an endowment to provide a four-year merit-based scholarship to an outstanding incoming freshman.
  • A gift of $200,000 will be matched dollar for dollar to establish an endowment to attract outstanding graduate students.

The Nicholas Match applies to new gifts, which may be pledged over a five-year period. The endowments are named by the donor who makes the qualifying gift.