La Crosse Promise Neighborhood Program Requirements & Policies

 

LA CROSSE PROMISE BUILD/BUY PROGRAM POLICIES

La Crosse Promise hopes to attract conscientious, education-minded, success-driven homebuyers to the City.  We seek to reverse the decades-long trend of declining enrollment in the School District of La Crosse and simultaneously rejuvenate the housing market in the City of La Crosse. La Crosse Promise is currently prioritizing applicants who build, or are the first occupants of a new single-family, owner-occupied home within the Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood or the Washburn neighborhood. The family would contribute a minimum of $150,000 toward the project, through personal resources or market-rate financing. The total maximum lifetime scholarship for an individual student is $25,000. The maximum lifetime amount awarded to a La Crosse Promise Build Family is $50,000.

Steps to secure status as a La Crosse Promise Scholarship Family:

  1. Submit an Application. The La Crosse Promise Scholarship Committee will determine eligibility and evaluate whether the application best supports current program goals. In most cases, applicants will be notified of their selection as a conditionally approved applicant within 30 business days of submission. La Crosse Promise will hold the scholarship for the applicant as the applicant completes the remaining requirements in the stated timeline.
  2. Within four months of notification of selection as a conditionally approved applicant, the La Crosse Promise Build Family directs their lending institution to provide La Crosse Promise with a letter confirming they have qualified for a mortgage for that particular location. If building a home, a copy of the blueprint/construction appraisal should be submitted to La Crosse Promise, along with supporting contractor bids and/or a copy of a signed contract with a builder/general contractor.
  3. The family who is building a home must complete the construction project within one year of selection. Upon completion, the La Crosse Promise Build Family directs their lending institution to provide La Crosse Promise a letter confirming they have met their bank’s requirements and have fulfilled their construction loan obligations. A copy of the recertification of value, or second appraisal, must also be submitted to La Crosse Promise.
  4. If purchasing a new, previously unoccupied home from a contractor who has received La Crosse Promise Build Eligibility, the family will provide La Crosse Promise with a copy of the deed. The applicant must apply within 60 days of closing on the property.
  5. When the above documents have been submitted and approved, the family will receive a letter confirming their status as a La Crosse Promise Scholarship Family. The student’s scholarship will be awarded after the remaining scholarship and residency policies have been met.
  6. La Crosse Promise makes these incentives available only for single-family, owner-occupied properties. If at any time the home is discovered to be a rental property, the applicant will forfeit any scholarship incentives. In a case where a Promise home becomes a rental and Promise payments have already been made, the owner/applicant will be responsible for returning the scholarship dollars to La Crosse Promise.

Other Information: 

  • The La Crosse Promise Build Scholarship Program supports construction projects resulting in a final appraised value of at least $150,000 (including land), with the family contributing a minimum of $150,000 toward the project in personal and/or loan funds.
  • If a family does not complete one of the above steps within the stated timeline, it loses La Crosse Promise Build status. The family may re-apply when ready to move forward to complete the steps. In case of demonstrated hardship, an appeal may be made to La Crosse Promise for an extension.
  • In order to improve the home’s marketability, La Crosse Promise will allow a one-time transfer of the scholarship asset (untapped scholarship) to the home’s next qualified buyer, subject to program rules.
  • La Crosse Promise families is asked (but not required) to allow La Crosse Promise to take photos to record the progress of their project for the purpose of documenting and illustrating the program’s impact.
  • La Crosse Promise is currently prioritizing applicants who build a single-family, owner-occupied home within the Powell-Poage-Hamilton neighborhood or the Washburn neighborhood.
  • The total maximum lifetime scholarship for an individual student is $25,000. The maximum lifetime amount awarded to a La Crosse Promise Build Family is $50,000.

LA CROSSE PROMISE RENOVATE PROGRAM POLICIES

 

Families are also permitted to apply for the La Crosse Promise Renovate Scholarship if they purchase and are the first occupants of a newly remodeled La Crosse Promise Eligible home from a builder/contractor.  We welcome families and individual homeowners to participate in the La Crosse Promise Scholarship Renovation Program.  La Crosse Promise encourages participants to work with us to help ensure a smooth process and a great outcome.  We have several experts in the building industry who serve on our board and as committee advisors.  Please contact us ay 608.792.1137 or at info@lacrossepromise.org so we can help you get started on your project.

Steps to secure status as a La Crosse Promise Renovate Family

  1. Submit a Preliminary Application. Attach a separate page explaining your intended projects for both the interior and exterior of the home.  Include a photo of the home’s exterior, and a copy of a pre-qualification letter from your lending institution that is less than six months old.
  2. The La Crosse Promise Scholarship Committee will determine eligibility and evaluate whether the application best supports current program goals. In some cases, outside realtors and appraisers will be asked to evaluate planned improvements to determine if the proposed project will sufficiently increase the home’s value.  In most cases, applicants will be notified of their selection as a conditionally approved applicant within 30 business days of submission. La Crosse Promise will hold the scholarship for the applicant as the applicant completes the remaining requirements in the stated timeline.
  3. Within four months of being selected as a conditionally approved applicant, the La Crosse Promise Renovate Family directs their lending institution to provide La Crosse Promise with a letter confirming they have qualified for financing for that particular location.  (If purchasing a newly renovated home, skip to step 5.)   A copy of the blueprint/construction appraisal should be submitted to La Crosse Promise, along with copies of the cost break out for the improvements. In addition, supporting contractor bids and/or a copy of a signed contract with a builder/general contractor must be submitted.
  4. The La Crosse Promise Renovate Family must complete the renovation project within one year of selection. Improvements completed prior to the application approval date will not be considered as part of the improvement costs.
  5. Upon completion, the La Crosse Promise Renovate Family directs their lending institution to provide La Crosse Promise a letter confirming they have met their bank’s requirements and have fulfilled their construction loan obligations.  A copy of the recertification of value, or second appraisal, must also be submitted to La Crosse Promise.
  6. If purchasing a newly renovated La Crosse Promise-Eligible home from a contractor that has received La Crosse Promise Renovate Eligibility, the family will provide La Crosse Promise a copy of the deed.
  7. When the above documents have been submitted and approved, the family will receive a letter confirming their status as a La Crosse Promise Scholarship Family. The student’s scholarship will be awarded after the remaining scholarship and residency policies have been met.

 Options and Requirements:

  1. Invest $30,000-$59,999.00 in a qualified renovation of your home and obtain $25,000 scholarship; or,
  2. Invest $60,000 or more in a qualified renovation of your home and obtain a $50,000 scholarship.
  3. All applicants are required to show proof of funds expended.
  4. The property must have a minimum initial assessment of at least $60,000 according to county tax records, and a maximum initial assessment of no more than $150,000. An exception to the $150,000 maximum may be issued in cases where a rental property is being re-purposed to single family owner-occupancy.
  5. To participate, the owner needs to obtain a home inspection by a certified home inspector.[1]This report must be included in the Promise Renovate application. Critical issues identified in the home inspection will need to be addressed as part of the scope of work.
  6. Applicable expenses include project-related design, permit, contractor, and material costs. Cost for DIY owner-labor, loan fees, and loan interest are not allowable.
  7. La Crosse Promise requires a minimum of $5,000 of the renovation investment to be allocated to upgrade of the exterior facade of the home. Qualifying external improvements include (but are not limited to): exterior cladding, insulation, new windows, new doors, roofing, sidewalks and steps.
  8. La Crosse Promise highly recommends hiring an architect, qualified designer, or qualified contractor to assist in planning the renovation work. Cost of design work (not to exceed 10% of the project) may be counted toward achieving the investment threshold.
  9. In the event that a home is being converted from a multi-unit rental property to a single family dwelling, the home is permitted to have a starting assessed value greater than $150,000. Since a multi-family rental is often appraised higher due to its income potential, La Crosse Promise will waive the requirement that the project be expected to increase the appraised value to at least $150,000, but will require a minimum expected increase of $50,000 on the blueprint appraisal.
  10. If a family does not complete one of the above steps within the stated timeline, it loses La Crosse Promise Renovate status. The family may reapply when ready to move forward to complete the steps. In case of demonstrated hardship, an appeal may be made to La Crosse Promise for an extension.
  11. In order to improve the home’s marketability, La Crosse Promise will allow a one-time transfer of the scholarship asset to the home’s next qualified buyer, subject to program rules.
  12. La Crosse Promise families are asked to provide “before and after” photos of their renovation project upon request. In addition, La Crosse Promise families are asked (but not required) to allow La Crosse Promise to take photos to record the progress of their project for the purpose of documenting and marketing the program.
  13. The parent/guardian must reside in the La Crosse Promise home for at least four years before their oldest scholarship recipient can be eligible for a scholarship. If selling the home, they must continue to remain a resident of the City of La Crosse until the youngest scholarship recipient has graduated from a qualifying high school. Scholarship benefits are not transferable to the home’s next owner.
  14. La Crosse Promise Scholars must be legal dependents of the home’s owner.
  15. La Crosse Promise Scholarship recipients must live in the City of La Crosse from grades 9 through 12, at a minimum.
  16. The La Crosse Promise Scholar must be enrolled in one of La Crosse’s public high schools, or Aquinas or Onalaska Luther High School during all four years of high school, as verified through school records. In the event that a student must withdraw from high school, a GED or HSED must be earned by the age of 21, providing that the student spent the majority of their high school years attending a qualifying high school.
  17. La Crosse Promise makes these incentives available only for single-family, owner-occupied properties. If at any time the home is discovered to be a rental property, the applicant will forfeit any scholarship incentives. In a case where a Promise home becomes a rental and Promise payments have already been made, the owner/applicant will be responsible for returning the scholarship dollars to La Crosse Promise.

[1] If the applicant is participating in the City Housing Renovation Program or Housing Rehabilitation Program, they may use the City inspection in lieu of a paid inspection. Any repairs identified in the City inspection should be addressed and may not be counted as a qualified renovation.

 

GENERAL POLICIES REGARDING DISBURSEMENT OF FUNDS

  1. Each term, La Crosse Promise will send scholarship dollars directly to the college where the La Crosse Promise Scholar is enrolled. The college’s financial aid office will include the scholarship as part of the student’s financial aid package.
  2. La Crosse Promise Scholars must remain in good academic standing with their college to receive future semester funding.
  3. Students would receive a maximum of four years of scholarship. Scholarships must be used within 8 years of high school graduation. Exceptions include students whose active military duty in the armed forces of the United States interrupted their college attendance, or students who are requested to work for the federal government during a national emergency.  The service member must give notice of intent to return to college no later than 3 years after the completion of the period of service.
  4. Scholarships will be set aside for each family for no more than 30 years from the date of the original acceptance letter.
  5. The La Crosse Promise Board has the option of adjusting the scholarship amounts for inflation after five years, though this is not guaranteed.
  6. The La Crosse Promise Board of Directors has created an appeals board to review special circumstances regarding the above guidelines.

SCHOLARSHIP AND RESIDENCY POLICIES FOR DEPENDENT CHILDREN SCHOLARSHIPS

  1. If children are added to a family after the initial La Crosse Promise application was submitted, the parent or guardian should register the child with La Crosse Promise within one year of the child’s first school attendance.
  2. During their high school years, La Crosse Promise Scholars must meet with Future Center Advisors at least twice, complete the FAFSA, and apply for at least three other scholarships.
  3. Scholarships must be used for a Federal financial aid eligible graduate or undergraduate program at an institution of post-secondary education in the United States that is regionally accredited.
  4. Students must be enrolled full-time (typically 12 credits or more).
  5. Like many national Promise initiatives, students enrolling in two-year programs receive a smaller scholarship, due to the lower cost of attendance at those schools. The Scholar submits the Intent to Enroll form to La Crosse Promise upon making the college decision. Full-time students attending two-year programs can receive up to $3,000 per year. Full-time students attending four-year programs can receive up to $6,250 per year. Students transferring from a two-year program to a four-year program may begin receiving up to $6,250 per year once enrolled in the four-year program.
  6. At the time of college enrollment, the parent or guardian will notify La Crosse Promise as to how their scholarship dollars should be distributed among their dependents. No one student may receive more than $25,000 total in La Crosse Promise Scholarships.
  7. If selling the home, the family must continue to remain a resident of the City of La Crosse until the youngest scholarship recipient has graduated from a qualifying high school. Remaining Scholarship benefits are not transferrable to the home’s next owner.
  8. La Crosse Promise Scholars must be legal dependents of the home’s owner.
  9. La Crosse Promise Scholarship Dependent Children Scholarship recipients must live in the City of La Crosse from grades 9 through 12, at a minimum.
  10. The La Crosse Promise Dependent Scholar must be enrolled in one of La Crosse’s public high schools, or Aquinas or Onalaska Luther High School during all four years of high school, as verified through school records. In the event that a student must withdraw from high school, a GED or HSED must be earned by the age of 21, providing that the student spent the majority of their high school years attending a qualifying high school.
  11. The parent/guardian must reside in the La Crosse Promise home for at least four years before their oldest dependent child scholarship starts high school.

Adult Scholarship Policies

  1. Adults may begin accessing scholarship dollars on a prorated basis after one full year of occupancy in the completed La Crosse Promise home. The Scholar submits the Intent to Enroll form to La Crosse Promise and contacts us within 3 months prior to the start of the semester.
  2. The adults will only receive scholarship dollars while they are residing in the La Crosse Promise home. Residency requirements will be confirmed on an annual basis through various methods including city assessment records.
  3. For the purpose of this program, an independent student is one of the following:  at least 24 years old, married, a graduate or professional student, a veteran, a member of the armed forces, an orphan, a ward of the court, or someone with legal dependent other than a spouse, an emancipated minor, or someone who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.
  4. Adult scholars must be listed on the deed of the Promise home.
  5. Adult scholarship applicants must have a high school diploma or equivalency.
  6. Scholarships must be used for a Federal financial aid eligible graduate or undergraduate program at an institution of post-secondary education in the United States that is regionally accredited.
  7. Adult students must be enrolled at least half-time.
  8. At the time of college enrollment, the adult scholarship applicant will submit the Intent to Enroll form to La Crosse Promise.  Each term, La Crosse Promise will send scholarship dollars directly to the college where the La Crosse Promise Scholar is enrolled. The college’s financial aid office will include the scholarship as part of the student’s financial aid package.
  9. Students enrolling in two-year programs receive a smaller scholarship, due to the lower cost of attendance at those schools. Full-time students attending two-year programs can receive up to $3,000 per year. Full-time students attending four-year programs can receive up to $6,250 per year. Students transferring from a two-year program to a four-year program may begin receiving up to $6,250 per year once enrolled in the four-year program. Scholarships for half time students will be prorated accordingly.
  10. No one student may receive more than $25,000 total in La Crosse Promise Scholarships.
  11. Scholarships must be used within 8 years of enrollment. Exceptions include students whose active military duty in the armed forces of the United States interrupted their college attendance, or students who are requested to work for the federal government during a national emergency.  The service member must give notice of intent to return to college no later than 3 years after the completion of the period of service.
  12. Payments will be withheld until all required documentation is received.

 

 

 

 

Contact: klueth@lacrossepromise.org or call 608.792.1137 for more information.

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