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Boys and Girls Club, Madison College announce partnership to support students with services and stipend

Dr. Jack Daniels III. Photo by Robert Chappell.

The Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County and Madson College on Thursday announced TOPS+, a new program to provide tuition support, tutoring, a $250 per semester stipend and other services to ensure their success in higer education.

The program is funded by a $1.5 million donation from philanthropist Mary Burke.

TOPS+, which will launch next fall for 50 students graduating from Madison high schools this year, is an extension of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County’s Advancement Via Individual Determination/Teens of Promise (AVID/TOPS) program ,whichhas supported thousands of Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) students through high school graduation, post-secondary education enrollment and credentials and successful careers. The program is a high intensity, in-school and out-of-school partnership between Madison Metropolitan School District (AVID) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Dane County (TOPS). AVID/TOPS was also initially funded by Burke, a longtime member of the BGCDC board of directors.

To participate in the TOPS+ program, students must graduate from a MMSD high school in AVID/TOPS beginning June 2023, have a Cumulative GPA of 2.0 or above, enter into a Madison College associate degree program, take 12 credits/semester and complete the FAFSA or Madison College Alternate FAFSA. Applications for the Madison College Scholars of Promise and TOPS+ are due by April 1. 

Benefits of participating in the TOPS+ program include $250 each semester for staying on track, free Madison Metro Bus Pass, free e-textbooks/book rentals and support for other required class supplies. In addition, students will benefit from a scholarship to cover tuition and mandatory fees after financial aid for income eligible students and a dedicated advisor. A complete list of the eligibility requirements, program benefits and the application process is availabe at https://www.bgcdc.org/topsplus

“Boys and Girls Clubs of Dane County is grateful to Mary Burke for her generous commitment to youth academic success and the creation of the TOPS+ program at Madison College. This program will allow students to focus on their education while having their tuition and fees paid,” BGCDC president and CEO Michael Johnson said in a statement. “This will be an amazing opportunity for students to graduate and be ready for career success.” 

“Partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County on the TOPS+ program represents another way that we’re ensuring students have the resources and support to succeed at Madison College whether that success is defined as completion of an associate degree, career readiness or transfer to four-year university,” said Tim Casper, executive vice president student affairs, Madison College. 

– “The TOPS+ program is another example of how Madison College partners with like-minded organizations in our region to have real lasting impact for our students and the community at large,” Madison College President Dr. Jack Daniels president said. “We’re excited to strengthen our relationship with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, and together, continue solving the challenges our students face while also creating better access and support to help them succeed at school and beyond.”

Speakers at the announcement event Thursday included Burke, Daniels, MMSD Superintendent Dr. Carlton Jenkins and current AVID/TOPS Madison College student Desia Xiong.

Desia Xiong. Photo by Robert Chappell.