UW-Madison students are facing an 8.4 percent tuition increase for the 2001-02 school year, with numbers for out-of-state students jumping even higher.
UW System President Katharine Lyall’s mid-July announcement called for tuition increases for all UW schools, and a Board of Regents vote made it official.
Twenty-four UW schools will face a seven percent increase, while students at both the Madison and Milwaukee campuses face an additional 1.4 percent increase added to fund the Madison Initiative and Milwaukee Idea, two education-enhancement programs that fund faculty recruitment and retention.
Out-of-state students face an even higher increase of 15.4 percent this year.
Lyall said the increases — which are consistent with previous years — are necessary because of insufficient funding coming from the state budget.
“These increases are consistent with the moderate tuition increases of the past decade,” she said. “Among the public Big Ten universities, the annual increase at UW-Madison for the coming year is third smallest. This follows a year in which tuition has been frozen system-wide for resident undergraduate students. Despite these increases, tuition in the UW System remains affordable, and our commitment to a high degree of student access remains strong.”
Among other Big Ten schools, Illinois students will have the largest increase of $686 per in-state student. Madison’s tuition increase will be $278, slightly lower than the average $319.
Before the budget met Governor Scott McCallum’s hands legislators called for a 2.5 percent increase, but McCallum added another 2.5 percent.
Traditionally, tuition is set early in the budget process so tuition bills can be sent to students before classes begin in September. This year is no exception.
The UW operating budget for the upcoming year will be $3.351 billion, one-third of which is funded with state dollars. Tuition adds another 16 percent, and 51 percent comes from other sources such as room and board, gifts and grants.
UW-Madison Chancellor John Wiley said he is torn about the tuition increases.
“Our tuition is currently second-lowest in the Big Ten, so I do firmly believe our tuition is comparatively a bargain,” Wiley said. “At the same time, I believe in access and affordability to public schools.
Wiley said the increases are not UW’s fault because as the Legislature cuts back the amount of funding, tuition will have to make up the difference.
ASM Chair Jessica Miller said while she expected a tuition increase, she never thought it would be so high.
“Because the budget was so tight this year, it would have been very hard to keep tuition from going up,” Miller said. “The problem is that it is going up so much and financial aid isn’t.”
Miller said tuition levels are hitting a point where many out-of-state students will choose to go to other schools.
UW-Madison senior Michelle Kotecki is not too upset over the increase.
“It could be worse,” she said. “Considering we are the second-cheapest in the Big Ten and for the education we get at Madison, I don’t think the tuition increase is that bad.”
However, United Council President Matt Fargen said he is afraid the access to education will go down as tuition increases, and UW should not make up the need for additional money through tuition.
“The university shouldn’t balance the budget on the back of students and their families,” he said. “I think it is important to ask why tuition goes up so much and inflation doesn’t.”
Both Fargen and Miller said if tuition is going to go up, there should be a comparable increase in the amount of financial aid given to students.
Wiley said he is working to level the field for students with scholarships, financial aid and private funding.
Last year, undergraduate tuition was frozen because of the 9.6 percent raise the year before. In 1998-99, tuition went up 5.1 percent, 6.9 percent in 1997-98, 5.2 percent in 1996-97 and 5.3 percent in 1995-96.
In addition to the tuition increases, Lyall announced some cuts, such as keeping administrative jobs unfilled, in the UW System. Lyall also wants to phase in a 4.2 percent pay increase requested for faculty, instead of giving the money all at once.
–N. Zeke Campfield contributed to this report