UW-Madison's tuition and fees would top $10,000 per year for in-state students for the first time if a recommended tuition increase of 5.5 percent is approved by the UW Board of Regents on Thursday.
For the sixth consecutive year, University of Wisconsin System President Kevin Reilly is recommending a 5.5 percent tuition increase for in-state students at the 13 four-year campuses in the UW System. He's recommending the same increase for UW System's two-year campuses for the second year in a row.
Resident students would pay an extra $681 at UW-Madison, bringing tuition and fees to $10,379 per year. That total includes an increase of $250 per year for the fourth and final year of an undergraduate tuition surcharge approved in May 2009.
Allie Gardner, a senior who just stepped down as chairwoman of the Associated Students of Madison, said the $681 increase translates into her needing to work 76 more hours at her $9 an hour job.
"Basically, I'm paying more, I'm working more and have less time to study for my degree," Gardner said. "This is personal to me. Every percent increase is personal to me."
The Regents are prohibited from increasing tuition more than 5.5 percent due to a legislative cap in the current two-year budget. In a statement, Reilly described the times as challenging for both students and the university system, while touting the "modest, predictable" tuition increase.
"Those funds will help ensure that students get the classes they need to graduate on time, in a safe, productive learning environment," he said.
Gov. Scott Walker cut state funds to the UW System by $250 million over two years in the 2011-13 budget. Then in October, the Department of Administration announced UW System had to return $46.1 million in state funding in the 2011-12 academic year to cover budget deficits and will have to return $19.6 million in the 2012-13 fiscal year.
The 5.5 percent tuition increase last year and this year — if approved — would result in a total of $110 million in new tuition revenue of the two year period.
Despite the cuts to state funding, UW System's total operating budget would increase from $2.2 billion in 2011-12 to $2.4 billion in 2012-13. The budget accounts for increased costs to utilities and debt service, said David Giroux, spokesman for the UW System
Tuition at UW-Madison alone — without mandatory fees — would be $9,273. That's less than tuition at Michigan State, where it's $12,630 per year; Minnesota, $12,060; and Illinois, $11,636. But it's more than Ohio State, $9,166; Indiana, $8,750; and Iowa, $6,678.
Tuition for out-of-state undergrads would increase by the same dollar amount as in-state undergrads. At UW-Madison, that would push tuition and fees above $26,000 for non-residents.
At other schools:
- Tuition would increase by $422 at UW-Milwaukee, for a total of $9,181 in tuition and fees per year.
- Tuition would increase by $328 per year at the other four-year campuses. Total tuition and fees vary by campus depending on campus-level tuition surcharges and fees, ranging from $7,287 at UW-Parkside to $8,572 at UW-La Crosse.
- Tuition would increase $247 per year at the System's 13 two-year campuses to an average total of $5,096 in tuition and fees.
Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, who is chairman of the Assembly Colleges and Universities Committee, wants to extend the 5.5 percent tuition cap for two more academic years. That's according to a memo he sent Monday to a special task force looking at the structure of the UW System.
He wrote that he believes the Legislature should have more oversight on tuition. He is proposing a system where the Legislature would set a tuition maximum and the UW Regents would need legislative approval to go above it, according to the memo.
"The students who are being squeezed out of college are the middle-class students who don't qualify for financial aid," said Mike Mikalsen, Nass' spokesman.
There were no increases in the state's primary need-based grant program, the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant, during this two-year budget, but Reilly is recommending the state match any tuition increases for 2013-2015.
About 70 percent of UW System undergrads receive some sort of financial aid, according to the System.
The UW Board of Regents will take up the operating budget and a proposed 5.5 percent tuition increase for the University of Wisconsin System on Thursday. Below are the proposed tuition increases alone, which do not include mandatory student fees. UW-Madison’s tuition and fees would be $10,379, under the proposal.
Source: University of Wisconsin System