Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Badgers in the red

The combination of increasingly outrageous tuition hikes and the prospect of a cut in the state’s commitment to UW-Madison puts the university on a very dangerous path. If we’re going to go down that road, we might as well go down in style:

2002 Despite the state budget crisis, the UW administration refuses to eliminate its Madison Initiative, designed to recruit star professors. Instead, it announces the program’s mission is actually “to attract mediocre, perhaps even slightly above-average, faculty.” In deference to the governor, the Regents increase tuition 9.99 percent.

2003 Assuring students that “it’s all part of the plan,” the Regents raise tuition 12 percent for residents, 18 percent for nonresidents.

2004 State funding for UW continues to lag, while lawmakers praise a seven percent tuition increase as “responsible and very reasonable.” Nationally, inflation stands at 2.4 percent.

2005 In another summertime decision, the Regents raise in-state tuition seven percent, out-of-state tuition 15 percent.

2006 Because of declining state funding, the tuition bill subsidy message is changed to, “The monies authorized by the governor and the state legislature cover the cost of this mailing.” Tuition rises seven percent.

2007 In an agreement praised for “increasing the number of entertainment options available to students while strengthening campus diversity,” the Ho-Chunk Nation opens a casino under Library Mall and begins $10 million annual payments to the UW. Tuition rises seven percent.

2008 Tuition increases another seven percent. In a statement, the Regents justify the increase by saying, “The UW’s a bargain, and everyone else is doing it.” In a public response, the Regents’ mothers ask, “If everyone jumped off a bridge, would you?”

2009 The keynote speaker at the 2009 Firstar Graduation Bash is Terry McAuliffe, the UW’s newly-appointed fundraising czar. The Wisconsin-Minnesota reciprocity agreement falters as more and more Wisconsinites head west. Tuition rises seven percent. The Regents stop trying to justify it.

2010 Following a generous corporate donation of nearly $1.4 million, the renovated and newly-domed Bascom reopens as Oscar Mayer Hall. Supporters hail it as “a beacon for the Wisconsin Idea that will continue to attract high-caliber students and faculty to the UW for years,” while critics take issue with what appears to be a giant wiener. Tuition rises eight percent, 15 percent for nonresidents.

2011 The Regents determine that heat and electricity are actually student services that should be funded through student segregated fees. In gratitude, the State Building Commission moves the UHS/Student Activity Center building to number eight on its construction priority list. Tuition rises seven percent.

2012 Private donations now account for the vast majority of the UW’s research budget. Administrators adamantly insist there is nothing remotely ironic about the new Monsanto Center for Bioethics, and UW scientists begin appearing on infomercials to tout their studies about the miraculous benefits of the AbWorkerPro. Tuition rises seven percent.

2013 The governor proudly announces additional financial aid programs worth $200 per low-income student. Tuition rises 14 percent.

2014 A report suggests Wisconsin’s brain drain is accelerating. It criticizes the discrepancy between increasing state population and stable UW enrollment levels. In addition, it contends the UW’s high out-of-state tuition makes Wisconsin less attractive to students who could be future Wisconsin taxpayers. The Board of Regents and the governor both express concern. Tuition rises eight percent for residents, 16 percent for nonresidents.

2015 Participation in study-abroad programs and co-ops declines as students work to save money by graduating in four or even three years. The legislature mandates a tuition freeze for residents. Out-of-state tuition rises 10 percent.

2016 Sensing an opportunity, Southern Alabama Tech sets up a recruiting station in University Square. Because of last year’s tuition freeze, tuition now rises 15 percent.

2017 In an emotional speech, the UW Chancellor announces the university can no longer afford sifting and will instead focus its efforts entirely on winnowing. Tuition rises seven percent.

2018 US News and World Report ranks the UW number 16 in its Annual Listing of Top Regional Midwest Universities. Citing the obvious bargain, the Regents raise in-state tuition 11 percent, out-of-state tuition 19 percent.

2019 Through segregated fees, ASM now operates two academic departments and a small airport south of Monroe. Tuition rises eight percent.

2020 In-state tuition has more than quadrupled since 2002, while the few nonresidents who actually attend Madison pay over $50,000 a year. Past graduates discover their UW diplomas no longer have the prestige that they once had. The Board of Regents, the legislature and the governor decide something must be done. Tuition rises eight percent.

Bryant Walker Smith ([email protected]) is a senior majoring in civil and environmental engineering.

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *