Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW-Madison will not join reciprocity compact

A few doors may have opened for Wisconsin students looking to attend college in other Midwest states after the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents passed a resolution authorizing UW schools to participate in the Midwestern Higher Education Compact's reciprocity program.

The program will likely also allow students in other Midwest states to enroll in some UW schools at a decreased out-of-state tuition rate. UW-Madison, however, will not be affected by this development.

"Basically it's a voluntary program so that universities can enter in and offer reduced tuition," Regent Charles Pruitt, chair of the Business & Finance Committee, said.


The reciprocity program will allow students in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska and North Dakota to attend willing UW institutions at 150 percent of the Wisconsin in-state tuition, the largest acceptable tuition figure under MHEC guidelines.

"It also enables Wisconsin students … to go to one of these out-of-state places at less than full out-of-state tuition," Pruitt added.

According to MHEC Director of Student Initiatives Jennifer Dahlquist, at this point no Wisconsin institution has "actually signed the participation agreement," although only UW-Madison has rejected the offer, which would commence in the fall 2006 semester.

"Madison is not participating and has no plans to," UW-Madison Associate Vice President of Budget Planning Lynn Paulson said.

UW-Madison Provost Peter Spear said administrators elected not to sign the reciprocity agreement because it does not make economic sense for the university.

"We considered the MHEC some months ago and decided to demur," he said via e-mail. "We don't have excess capacity in [many] programs and we aren't lacking in non-resident applications."

According to Spear, by billing out-of-state Midwest students 150 percent of resident tuition, the university would take a big loss on each student admitted through MHEC instead of regular out-of-state admissions, "where students pay nearly four times the resident tuition."

"Since our opting out of MHEC wouldn't prevent other [UW System] campuses from participating if they want to," Spear said, the university decided to decline the invitation.

A similar situation exists in the state of Michigan where, despite the state's approval of MHEC's reciprocity program, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University abstain.

"There are only two universities in the state of Michigan that participate in reciprocity," UM Vice President for Communications Joel Seguine said. "The University of Michigan [and other Michigan public universities] don't need to take advantage of the services that the compact offers."

Seguine said he believes the reciprocity service would be a lot more appealing to smaller schools that typically do not draw a large applicant pool of non-resident students.

"[These] services are important, I would think, for schools that are struggling a little more with enrollment," he said.

Despite the lack of enthusiasm for the reciprocity program in Michigan, UW Regent Brent Smith said he believes the program will be more popular in Wisconsin, and that it will benefit Wisconsin students desiring to leave the state and UW institutions alike.

"It is the majority of the campuses that have expressed interest in this," Smith said. "It wasn't just one or two."

Smith stressed he does not think the reciprocity agreement will have much of an effect on the nature of the education offered at UW schools, and that the regents are anticipating a very small change in the volume of college students leaving and coming to the Badger State.

"I think it's good, [but] I don't think we want to look at it as meaning a huge influx of out-of-state students to our campuses," he said.

Responding to Smith's optimism regarding the reciprocity agreement, Paulson said he is hopeful the program will work well for the UW System.

"We're hopeful that first of all we'll be able to attract and retain those students from in state, and we'll be able to attract students from other states," he said, adding the regents were "very optimistic" the system would fare well in this exchange.

Pruitt emphasized the new reciprocity program is very different from the long existing reciprocity agreement with Minnesota.

"That's a true reciprocity program," Pruitt said. "If you get into the University of Minnesota, you pay the Wisconsin [in-state] tuition, and vice versa."

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