MADISON, Wis.—University of Wisconsin System President Tommy Thompson today announced additional details to provide incentives to UW students with nursing skills and other health backgrounds to work on the front lines of Wisconsin’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional details include qualifying criteria, deadlines, and how students can apply.

“The UW System has identified a need and is stepping up to help,” President Thompson said. “As Wisconsin deals with this terrible pandemic, the need for health care workers has never been greater. The UW System is glad to be able to offer this incentive to students, who can use this opportunity to learn and to help our fellow Wisconsinites.”

The System had previously announced that its approximately 4,000 nursing students would be able to earn real-time experience and a $500 tuition refund for agreeing to work in hospitals and other health care settings and to help administer vaccines, including anticipated vaccines that combat COVID-19.

A $500 tuition refund will be provided to students who meet the following criteria:

  • Must be enrolled at a University of Wisconsin System campus during the Spring 2021 semester.
  • Must work a minimum of 50 hours in a Wisconsin clinical or health care setting, such as a hospital, clinic, nursing home, long-term care facility, state or local health care facility, or state veterans home, between December 1, 2020, and February 1, 2021.
  • Must meet health care licensure and certification requirements, such as a Registered Nurse (RN), Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Certified Medical Assistant (CMA), Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), Emergency Medical Technician (CEMT), or Nurse Aid. Students who also qualify as a CNA under the emergency rule currently in place can participate as well.

The program is open to students currently employed or who become employed in a Wisconsin clinical or health care setting. To be eligible for the tuition credit, students must present a letter from their employer verifying the type of work and the hours worked to their campus Bursar’s Office by no later than March 31, 2021.

Students who qualify will receive a $500 tuition refund at the end of the Spring 2021 semester. Students may receive only one $500 tuition refund regardless of number of hours worked beyond the 50-hour minimum.

Students interested in becoming involved can connect with employers via Handshake, an online job listing and candidate management system. The UW System will promote the use of Handshake to potential health care employers, and UW campus career services administrators will help students identify job eligible opportunities.

The UW System is considering additional spring semester incentives for nursing student health care work, including clinical support for vaccinations, beyond February 1, 2021.


The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 165,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.


Media Contact

Mark Pitsch UW System (608) 265-3419