College students would receive more need-based financial aid and those attending technical schools would have their tuition frozen under provisions announced Wednesday in Gov. Scott Walker’s executive budget.
The governor’s proposal would raise funding for the Wisconsin Technical College System by $10 million over the 2017-19 state budget to make up for the freeze on program and material fees, and to fund new grants for job training programs.
It would also increase state funding for the need-based Wisconsin Grants program by $10.2 million over two years.
Walker’s office announced most of his budget plans for higher education on Tuesday, calling for more than $100 million in new funding for the University of Wisconsin System and a 5 percent cut to UW’s resident undergraduate tuition for the 2018-19 school year.
The full budget proposal released Wednesday detailed other plans on college affordability.
Higher education officials have been lobbying for the state to increase its spending on Wisconsin Grants — the UW System Board of Regents last summer passed a resolution calling for $12.8 million in new funding for the program, which Walker’s budget mostly fulfills. Students can use the grants to attend UW schools, technical colleges, private colleges and tribal schools.
Funding for Wisconsin Grants has been flat since 2010 while demand has increased. The Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board, which oversees the program, has responded by reducing the average grant award by nearly $400 between 2010 and 2015, even as tuition and other college costs have gone up.
For technical college students, the governor’s office estimated the tuition freeze would save about $280 over two years based on prior increases.
Walker’s budget provides $5 million in the 2018-19 fiscal year to replace revenue colleges would lose with a tuition freeze. Another $5 million would go toward grants funding certificate programs for high school students in high-demand fields, which would be developed by technical colleges, businesses and school districts.