Wisconsin residents will not pay any more next year to attend the state’s universities.
The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students Thursday as part of the 2022-23 operating budget.
Newly appointed system President Jay Rothman recommended extending the freeze for a ninth straight year, saying it would be funded using a $25 million allocation of federal pandemic relief funds.
Republican lawmakers last year relinquished tuition-setting authority back to the Regents for the first time since tuition was frozen in 2013.
Rothman has said he wants to address affordability and enrollment numbers, attract more students from underrepresented groups, build the System’s relationship with the Legislature and business community, and address ongoing concerns with diversity, equity and inclusion on campuses.
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“We appreciate the legislature’s recognition of the Board as the tuition-setting authority for the UW System,” Regent President Edmund Manydeeds III said in a statement. “The affordability review requested by President Rothman will provide us the data we need to make decisions going forward.”
Researchers with the nonpartisan Wisconsin Policy Forum wrote in an April report that state spending on grants, loans and scholarships to undergraduates increased rapidly from 2000 to 2011 but has stalled since then.
UW System students eligible for a Wisconsin Grant, the most common form of state financial aid that is awarded based on financial need, received an average of $2,163 in 2010 but only $2,037 in 2021 — without adjusting for inflation.
The report also found Wisconsin’s financial aid funding falls far behind other states. That may be the result of a political focus on maintaining the in-state undergraduate tuition freeze as a way to keep UW tuition affordable.