MADISON — Students attending University of Wisconsin System institutions will receive some new information as they receive their second-semester tuition bills: an indication of who is helping them attend classes.

Students and parents will be informed in second-semester notices that state taxpayers pay `almost two-thirds of an undergraduate’s instructional expenses at UW System institutions. Tuition notices will bear the following statement:

“The Legislature and the Governor have authorized $860,291,800 of state funds for the University of Wisconsin System and its students during the 1997-98 academic year. This is a tuition subsidy of $6,873 per student from the taxpayers of Wisconsin.”

Tuition paid by resident undergraduates ranges from $2,860 at UW-Madison to $1,956 at UW Colleges two-year campuses. Room, board and other expenses are borne by students and parents.

While legislators and university administrators and faculty have long been aware that the greatest share of a student’s direct instructional costs have been borne by taxpayers, the fact is not widely known among the general public. Through the 1970s, taxpayers supported 75 percent of instructional costs; by 1986-87 that percentage had dropped to 68.5 percent.

For the 1997-98 academic year, taxpayers will provide 64.3 percent of instructional costs for an individual student while the student – or the family – will assume the remaining 35.7 percent.

Including the tuition subsidy to students, state taxpayers provide about 34 percent of the UW System’s total annual budget. The remaining 66 percent is derived primarily through grants, gifts, student tuition payments and fees for services.


Peter D. Fox
(608) 262-6448