Tag Archives: undergraduate

UW tuition increases, raise request get regents OK

University of Wisconsin System officials have approved raising tuition for out-of-state, graduate and professional school students by hundreds of dollars at more than a half-dozen campuses as they grapple with a Republican-imposed freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition.

The plan calls for increases at UW-Eau Clare, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Stout and all the system’s two-year institutions beginning next fall.

The increases range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars for professional schools at UW-Madison, the system’s flagship campus.

That school’s plan includes raising nonresident undergraduate tuition by $4,000 to $35,523 per year. Increases at the school’s professional schools are even steeper. A master’s degree in global real estate will now cost $43,387 per year, an increase of $11,116. One year of medical school will now cost $46,387 for nonresidents, an increase of $7,751. Wisconsin residents will now have to pay $34,478 annually for medical school, an increase of $5,828.

The campuses and system leaders contend they need the extra money in the face of the resident undergraduate freeze, which entered its fourth year this fall and a $250 million cut Republicans imposed on the system in the current state budget.

They also maintain the increases would bring nonresident rates more in line with peer institutions and dollars generated by the graduate increases will stay in those programs.

The plan represents a third round of nonresident and graduate tuition increases at La Crosse, Milwaukee and Stout and the second at UW-Madison since 2015.

The Board of Regents approved the increases on a voice vote.

Discussion lasted less than 15 minutes. Regents Bryan Steil and James Langnes, a UW-Whitewater student, were the only dissenters. Steil said the increases were “too much, too fast.”

System President Ray Cross and regents President Regina Millner countered that the increases represent an investment in the system’s future and UW-Madison’s professional schools are the only such public schools in the state and are crucial to providing doctors, veterinarians and lawyers for Wisconsin.

Raising nonresident and graduate tuition risks alienating those students and losing them to other schools. But system officials said in a memo to regents that schools aren’t concerned about losing those students because the rates are still competitive with peer institutions. A preliminary system report shows the overall number of nonresident freshmen fall enrollments has increased since the 2013-14 academic year.

The regents this fall approved a separate plan to keep undergraduate resident tuition flat for 2017-18 and raise it by no more than the rate of inflation the following year if Republicans lift the freeze. GOP Gov. Scott Walker has said he wants to continue the freeze for at least one more year but hasn’t committed beyond that.

Vote for employee raises

The regents also unanimously approved seeking an additional $78 million from the Legislature to bulk up employee raises over the next two years.

System leaders argued in a memo to the board that other public universities’ salary increases have been outstripping the UW System. UW-Madison’s faculty salaries, for example, were 18 percent lower than peer faculty elsewhere after adjustments for geographic costs of living in fiscal year 2014-15, the memo said.

The vote sends the request to the Legislature’s employment relations committee.

The request comes on top of the system’s request for an additional $42.5 million in state aid in the next state budget.

UW regents OK out-of-state, grad student tuition increase

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has approved raising tuition for out-of-state undergraduate and some graduate students at most of the system’s four-year schools as the campuses prepare to absorb massive cuts looming under Gov. Scott Walker’s budget proposal.

The package calls for raising tuition by hundreds of dollars this fall at eight campuses — La Crosse, Milwaukee, Parkside, Platteville, River Falls, Stevens Point, Stout and Whitewater. Tuition for UW-Madison nonresident students and graduate students in a half-dozen programs, including the medical and business schools, will go up by thousands of dollars by the beginning of the 2016 academic year.

The regents approved the satellite campus increases on a voice vote late last week at UW-Waukesha. The only dissenter was Regent Tony Evers, who doubles as the state’s K-12 public schools superintendent. He said he was worried the increases would hurt teachers looking to return to school.

Debate over UW-Madison’s increases was more in-depth. Chancellor Rebecca Blank originally proposed a four-year plan that would have raised UW-Madison’s out-of-state undergraduate tuition by $10,000 to $35,523 and tuition in the six graduate programs by thousands of dollars more by 2018.

The regents’ education committee voted Thursday to implement only the first two years of the plan, which translates to a $6,000 jump for nonresident undergraduates and spares the graduate students as much as an additional $10,000. Committee members said they were worried the economy could change and approving four years of increases could anger legislators.

Jose Vasquez cast the lone vote against the UW-Madison increases Friday. He said the regents should just approve the four-year plan, saying he’s convinced students will pay it and he can’t see what could change so dramatically in two years.

Margaret Farrow, an education committee member, said if the regents approved the third and fourth year, “there would be personality reactions” at the state Capitol. She also said she didn’t want students to plan for four years of increases only to see new regents come in and change the rates.

Campus officials are bracing for a $300 million system-wide funding cut that Republican Gov. Scott Walker has included in his budget proposal for the two years that end July 1, 2017. In return, the governor would decouple the system from state oversight.

System officials have long sought such flexibility but insist the cut would devastate their campuses. They anticipate they won’t be able to raise resident undergraduate tuition to offset the cuts. Legislators froze those rates two years ago, and Walker’s budget calls for extending the freeze for another two years.

Charles Pruitt, vice chairman of the education committee, told the regents the changes are designed to cope with the cuts and align tuition with the national market. According to system data, UW-Madison’s current nonresident tuition is about $2,500 less than the Big Ten median.

System President Ray Cross, who has been trying to persuade legislators to reduce the cuts before the budget is finalized later this spring, pointed out that Blank introduced her increases last summer months before Walker revealed his spending plan.

He also took issue with Sen. Stephen Nass, R-Whitewater, vice chairman of the Senate’s universities committee and one of the system’s toughest critics. Nass issued a statement Thursday accusing UW-Madison of “mugging” nonresidents and Blank of attacking middle-class families.

“I am miffed at the personal attacks that have happened,” Cross said.

Farrow said she doesn’t understand why people are worried about raising out-of-state tuition.

“I’m concerned about our resident students,” Farrow said. “I have no sympathy at all for out-of-state students.”

Nass spokesman Mike Mikalsen said in an email that Nass is glad Cross is miffed. He said Nass wants to see real action to cut costs and cap tuition and fees.