A University of Wisconsin education is one worth selling to out-of-state students, and in a competitive marketplace for these students, Chancellor Rebecca Blank said she believes Madison is falling behind its peers.
In her “State of the University” speech before Faculty Senate on Monday, Blank said she would discuss tuition increases for out-of-state students with the Board of Regents and state stakeholders as a possible way of bringing more funding to campus.
“We are in a market for out-of-state students, and we at the University of Wisconsin charge those students less than many of our Big Ten peers,” Blank said in her address. “I see no reason why we should sell our education to out-of-state students cheaper than schools that quite honestly aren’t as good as we are.”
According to the UW Office of the Registrar’s website, the tuition rate for out-of-state students at UW for fall 2013 is about $13,326 per semester or about $26,652 annually for students taking 12 to 18 credits.
In comparison to UW, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign charges at least $29,640 for out-of-state students per year, according to its website. The University of Indiana at Bloomington charges about $32,350 for non-resident students, the university’s site said.
However, UW tuition for in-state students falls between the other universities at about $10,402. While Indiana’s tuition is less at $10,208, Illinois is much higher for residents at 15,258.
David Giroux, UW System spokesperson, was unsure how raising tuition for out-of-state students could affect university finances.
“At some of our other campuses, not UW-Madison, when we were forced to raise non-resident tuition too quickly and too high, it drove down enrollment and ended up costing us money,” Giroux said. “Whether that would be the case at [Madison] would be a different story.”
Giroux said tuition for a Wisconsin resident only covers a portion of the cost to educate that student. Out-of-state tuition covers the cost of education plus some extra funding, he said. This extra money is used to support all students at the university, he added.
Associated Students of Madison Chair David Gardner said he hopes students would be included in any conversations about increasing tuition.
“ASM has always taken a stance that we would like to work with administration, especially in tuition setting,” Gardner said. “I think it’s really core to ASM values. There’s the issue of affordability and financial burdens students are faced with.”
He said the administration should take the diversity of the university into account. If tuition does increase, the university will need to take additional steps to ensure the student body does not lose its diverse population of students, he added.
Gardner said he also thinks students and administration need to talk with state legislators and other stakeholders about the value of state investment in the university.
“We’ve seen huge decline in state investment in education and this is a trend that’s taken place nationwide unfortunately,” Gardner said. “I think in order to keep our tuition more stable and accept the excellent students we do for such an affordable price, we need to be making case for state investment.”
The UW Board of Regents sets the tuition for all system schools. This process is typically done as a part of the annual operating budget, Giroux said.
He said the board would likely discuss UW tuition in June or July 2014. If the regents do decide to increase out-of-state tuition, the soonest rates could go up would be for the fall 2014 semester, Giroux said.