UW-Madison chancellor Rebecca Blank has not been shy making an argument about the university’s professional schools that boils down to this: they offer too much bang for too little tuition buck.

A new report suggests that the basic storyline holds true at the business school. Among masters of business administration graduates, Wisconsin students come out making an average of about $109,000 annually, a similar but slightly lower haul as peers at more fancy schools.

But when it comes to student debt, there’s no competition: Wisconsin is the runaway winner.

The school’s graduates come out owing an average of $22,410, massively lower than any other top-tier school in the country. It saddles them with annual payments of just more than $3,000.

Compare that with Big Ten Conference rival Northwestern, where graduates owe an average of nearly $92,000, or $13,000 a year. The picture isn’t much better among other public universities in the Big Ten. The cheapest rival to appear in the rankings, Illinois, saddles graduates with an average of about $53,000 in debt, or about $7,400 annually.

Wisconsin’s combination of salary and debt made it one of the two “biggest winners” identified in the report by M7 Financial, a company that focuses research on the cost and outcomes of business schools. The MBA program at Brigham Young University was the other school identified as a top performer. It got the only A+ grade in the report. Wisconsin topped the list of 20 schools earning an A, ahead of such heavyweights as Harvard, Notre Dame and Stanford.

UW GOP on board with budget cut, autonomy

In a campuswide email and an editorial in the Badger Herald, the College Republicans at UW-Madison on Monday weighed in with their support for Gov. Scott Walker’s package of substantial budget cuts and eventual autonomy for the UW System.

“We’ve seen something like this succeed in another state with similar circumstances, but what about our state?” wrote junior Anthony Birch, referring to 2005 legislation in Virginia that gave its university system flexibility to run its own show mostly free of state rules and regulations.

He said the cuts are still open to legislative negotiations but however large they end up, they won’t be more than the university can handle. “No, the UW System is not royally screwed because of this,” he wrote. “You see, along with the cuts comes something the UW System has long been lobbying for: more freedom and autonomy as a system.”


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