The combination of Governor Walker’s so-called Budget Repair Bill and proposed Biennial Budget will have significant impacts on the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, its students, and the community it serves. As the budget process moves forward, it is important for the citizens of Wisconsin to better understand the impacts of the budget on the future of higher education in the state.
Taxing our future
Increasing tuition costs amount to an increased tax on our most vulnerable citizens – our students. The proposed biennial budget includes an 11% cut for all UW System universities except the Madison campus. These cuts will be offset by a potential 5.5% increase in tuition in both 2011-12 and 2012-13 academic years. Facts about student tuition at UW-Whitewater:
- Tuition has more than doubled from 2000-01 to 2010-11, a rate that is four times the rate of inflation.
- Average student debt load for the 68% of students receiving aid increased from $10,451 in 2000-01 to $22,403 in 2009-10.
- Many of our students reach the maximum federal loan total of $57,500 by the time they graduate.
- The growing gap between rising tuition and available aid limits the number of students who can attend university. Recent and proposed cuts to both federal and state aid programs will increase this gap.
*based on projected 5.5% increase in tuition costs
“Privatizing” our public universities
The cost of operating our campus is increasingly being placed on our students’ shoulders.
If this trend continues, the university will be largely funded by tuition, fees, residential life revenues, and other expenses borne by students. This de facto “privatization” has occurred with little public debate on the future of higher education in the state.
- State funding for our campus in 2000-01 was 31% of the total budget and has mostly declined to the current level of 17%.
- In 2010-11, 30% of our budget came from student academic fees as compared to only 17% from base state appropriations.
- Governor Walker’s proposed budget for the UW System would further reduce the state portion and increase the burden on students.
Paying more for less
Increasing tuition will not offset the decreasing funding for our campus, thus leading to fewer opportunities for our students.
- While specific programs have yet to be identified, past cuts have reduced the number of on-campus jobs for students, the number of instructional academic staff, and the number of faculty positions. In turn, class sizes have increased.
- Decreasing faculty salaries has meant a rapid loss of seasoned faculty to retirement and difficulty in hiring high-quality faculty.
More information & news
- UWW Common Data Set, http://acadaff.uww.edu/ir/cds, data on tuition, fees, and financial aid
- UW System budget data, http://www.uwsa.edu/cert/publicat/archive/index.htm
- Governor Walker’s proposed biennial budget for the UW-System, http://www.doa.state.wi.us/debf/docview.asp?budid=56
- Raw data and graphs for this fact sheet: http://goo.gl/Q0yd0
- Drowning in Debt, a 2009 report from Education Sector on university debt across the country
- Trends in College Pricing, a 2010 report from College Board about rising university costs