Tuition Setting

The Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System is delegated the authority to set tuition under s. 36.27 of the statutes. The statutes permit the Regents to set separate rates for different classes of students, for residents and nonresidents, and for extension courses, summer sessions, and special programs. 

The Board uses Tuition Policy Principles (PDF shown to the right) while setting tuition in an effort to balance educational quality, access, and ability to pay. 

Tuition rates are established annually at the same time as the University’s annual operating budget is approved. Separate rates are set for students at UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee, the comprehensive institutions, and the UW Colleges. Tuition typically supports only the “instructional” portion of the UW budget. Instructional costs include faculty salaries and fringe benefits, which comprise the largest portion of instructional costs; supplies and services; administration; libraries; student services; and support costs.

Changes in tuition are the result of changes in costs, changes in state support for the University, and other factors. Significant reductions to the state support were made under the 2003-05, 2005-07, 2009-11, and 2011-13 biennial budgets. During the 2003-05, 2009-11, and 2011-13 biennia, the Board of Regents increased tuition to partially offset these GPR base reductions.