Walkers’ budget impacts on UW-Whitewater

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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.

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Author: ericcompas

Eric Compas, Assistant Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the Geography and Geology Department.

3 thoughts on “Walkers’ budget impacts on UW-Whitewater”

  1. I was pleased to discover you blog while looking up data on current budget cut proposals to the UW-System and to UW-Whitewater. I’m going to post it on my blogroll.

    I also took a look at your Web page and enjoyed your picture of Monte Albán. I go to Oaxaca continuously with faculty and students from UW-Whitewater.

    This blog deserves a wider audience.
    Charles Cottle

    1. Thanks for checking out the blog. Started it for the walk and think I’ll keep it going.

      I agree. I would like more of our colleagues to read this post in particular (and I’ll take any suggestions). Can’t believe we’re not talking more on campus about the impact of the proposed budget on our students. Even holding at around 5.5% annual increases, this isn’t sustainable.

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