In 2013, Wisconsin lawmakers discovered that the University of Wisconsin System maintained a surplus of over $648 million while simultaneously raising tuition and seeking more funding from state government. Following this discovery, Governor Walker and other Republican lawmakers instituted an in-state tuition freeze in order to keep the cost of college affordable. Additionally, the tuition freeze would keep the UW system competitive with other universities and ensure that the UW system would use the surplus that they had accumulated (which was considered to be hidden from lawmakers) instead of increasing the burden on Wisconsin families. Earlier this year, lawmakers in Wisconsin renewed their commitment to students in the University of Wisconsin system by keeping tuition frozen through 2019.
Those on the left, however, still criticize the freeze. They claim that the freeze has crippled the UW system and that the UW system cannot afford to keep rates of tuition so low and still provide quality education. However, this is simply not true. In the years since the tuition freeze UW system schools continue to be ranked some of the best in the Midwest.
UW is currently ranked as the 12th best public university in the nation, with a spectacular reputation for excellence in business, engineering, research, journalism and other programs. In the years since the freeze was put into place, the UW system has proved that excellence can be achieved while keeping costs low.
The tuition freeze has helped students afford the cost of college at UW colleges while other higher institutions around the nation have seen their tuition increase substantially. Those on the left preach that the cost of college makes obtaining an undergraduate degree more and more difficult, but also oppose policies that make it easier for Wisconsin students to afford college.
So no, Scott Walker and other Republicans are not trying to destroy Wisconsin schools. In fact, they have invested more in education than ever before by introducing policies that strengthen Wisconsin schools and make college easier to afford.
Throughout the years, Wisconsin Republicans have proved they are committed to Wisconsin students by keeping the costs of college low while maintaining some of the best universities in the nation. Over four years, the tuition freeze is estimated to save the average student $6,311 (that’s over 2,000 slices of Ian’s pizza). When students leave the UW system, they will leave with a world-class education and far less debt than they would have if lawmakers would have voted to allow tuition to increase.
So during this holiday season, I’d like to give my thanks to Governor Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature for making it easier to pay for my college degree.
Alesha Guenther ([email protected]) is a sophomore studying political science, journalism and mass communications. Guenther is the Deputy Communications Director for the College Republicans.