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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Reilly defends proposed budget’s affect on tuition

[media-credit name=’AJ MACLEAN/Herald photo’ align=’alignnone’ width=’648′]Reilly_AM_416[/media-credit]University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly discussed recent budget proposals that could affect Wisconsin higher education in a press conference Monday.

Under an earlier UW Board of Regents budget proposal, tuition would increase by 4.3 percent. However, in Gov. Jim Doyle’s executive budget proposal, tuition would increase between five and seven percent for the 2005-06 and 2006-07 school years.

Though the tuition hikes may be alarming to many students, the extra money brought into the UW system would “help recruitment and strengthen overall academic quality,” Reilly said.


Along with these recruitment initiatives, the influx of tuition money would aid a 5 percent increase in compensation for UW leaders such as professors and administrators, according to Reilly.

Reilly said UW faculty and staff receive 7.6 percent less than their peers at other state schools, and salary increases at other state institutions will likely occur this year.

While criticisms over tuition costs pour in from large numbers of students, Reilly said students should not to lose sight of the value of a UW education.

“Tuition [at a four-year UW academic institution] is an investment that will lead to [on average] a one-million-dollar income greater than someone with a lesser degree,” Reilly said. “[Tuition] is really a great investment.”

UW tuition is the second lowest in the Big Ten.

Reilly said the increase in tuition might also benefit some students, since a rise in tuition also translates to a rise in financial aid.

“Degrees really mean something. Don’t lose sight of that when thinking about where to go to college,” he said.

However, Associated Students of Madison Chair of Academic Affairs Ashok Kumar said in a release there was certainly an issue with getting lower-income families into UW.

“[The average UW-Madison household income] is $94,000,” he said. “We know there is a problem when the poorest 40 percent of Wisconsin make up only 14 percent of UW.”

Reilly also spoke about the affect of President George W. Bush’s recent budget proposal.

“The war in Iraq is sucking up a lot of dollars … and the federal government is struggling to figure out ways to fund higher education,” Reilly said.

He said not only is the federal government focusing its attention and money toward the war, an increased allotment of money is being sent to Medicaid and Medicare as well in order to match the aging of the Baby-Boomer generation.

Reilly added despite Bush’s proposal to increase funding to Pell Grants, the effect could be deleterious on other federal programs.

“The problem is that the money to fund more Pell Grants is taking away from programs such as Upward Bound and Gear Up, which provide UW with $5.1 million per year,” Reilly said.

Though Bush wants to increase Pell Grants, his proposed budget suggests a decrease in the number of Perkins Grants, according to Reilly.

“Perkins loans comprise $40 million per year that goes directly to students and [the funding] of 37 financial aid counselors,” Reilly said. “[Bush’s budget proposal] would zero out” money needed to keep all of these counselors on staff.

Additionally, he said Bush’s proposal would alter current tax tables. The result would eliminate a large bracket of students from financial aid.

Reilly urged students who wish to have their voices heard over the tuition increase to contact local congressman and legislators.

“Anything students can do [to try and bring down tuition prices] would be very helpful,” he said.

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