MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will review an operating budget and consider tuition rates for the 2012-13 academic year this week in Milwaukee.

In the face of ongoing state funding reductions, UW System President Kevin P. Reilly is recommending the 5.5 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduate students that were built into the UW’s 2011-13 biennial budget approved by the state.

“These are challenging times for our colleges and universities, as well as for our students and families. With that in mind, we’ve recommended a modest, predictable tuition increase that provides some additional revenue for our campuses,” Reilly said. “Those funds will help ensure that students get the classes they need to graduate on time, in a safe, productive learning environment. Through this balanced approach, we can maintain UW’s historic commitments to both affordability and academic excellence.”

The State of Wisconsin’s 2011-13 biennial budget reduced funding to the UW System by $250 million. An additional budget lapse approved in February 2012 withdrew an additional $66 million in taxpayer support. In addition to these reductions in operating revenues, all UW employees are paying for a larger portion of their health and retirement benefits.

Added to last year’s 5.5 percent tuition increase, the new rates proposed for the coming academic year would result in a total of $110 million in new tuition revenue for UW institutions over the two-year period – about one third of the funds needed to offset budget cuts and lapses.

“As our entire state continues to feel the ripple effects of a historic economic recession, UW chancellors continue to make tough choices and tighten their belts, while also focusing on educational programs and research efforts that will fuel economic recovery,” Reilly said.

When adjusted for inflation, the total cost of educating a UW student today is about the same as it was in 1980.  However, state support for the public universities and colleges has not kept pace with inflation, resulting in higher tuition. As state appropriations decline, relative to inflation, students have assumed a bigger share of college costs. (See this Feb. 2012 presentation to the Regents: Strategies for Cost Containment and Improved Educational Attainment pdf )

If the recommended rates are approved, resident undergraduates at four-year UW universities would see their tuition bills increase by an average of $396 for the year. Students at the 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges would see a $248 increase. In every case, UW System tuition would remain very competitive with other schools in their respective peer groups.

Most UW students receive significant financial assistance in the form of grants, scholarships, and federal tax deductions. These aids reduce the “net cost” of college.  (See the College Board’s “Trends in College Pricing” at

More than 70 percent of all UW System undergraduate students receive some form of financial aid, and almost two thirds of those receive at least one outright grant or scholarship:

  • 48,658 UW students received a federal Pell Grant in 2010-11. The maximum Pell Grant for 2012-13 will be $5,500.
  • 30,344 students received a Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG) award in 2010-11. Students with financial need will be eligible for a $2,384 award in 2012-13.
  • Students with incomes below $60,000 who do not receive a WHEG award are eligible for Tuition Assistance Grants from UW System, which help to offset some tuition increases.
  • UW System campuses awarded $64.9 million in private scholarships and other campus-funded financial aid to 23,769 undergraduates in 2011.
  • More than 1,300 UW students received $5 million in need-based assistance from the Fund for Wisconsin Scholars (FFWS) last year.
  • Last year, the first cohort of Wisconsin Covenant scholars arrived at UW campuses, with participants receiving between $250 and $2,500 in aid each year from public and private sources.

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UW System Media Contact:
David F. Giroux

To locate a local UW Public Information Officer, see:


Proposed Tuition Rates for 2012-13 Academic Year


Annual tuition for full-
time resident students

from 2011-12

UW-Eau Claire
UW-Green Bay
UW-La Crosse
UW-River Falls
UW-Stevens Point
Average at 4-yr Universities
UW Colleges
Tuition rates listed include campus-wide student-supported differential tuitions previously approved by the Board of Regents. UW-Madison rate includes a $250 increase for the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates—the last of four previously approved increases. UW-Eau Claire rate includes a $300 increase for the Blugold Initiative—the third of four planned increases. UW-La Crosse rate is for students who entered in Fall 2008 or later.  ‡ UW-Stout tuition would increase by the same rate (5.5%), but is charged on a per-credit basis, so the increase shown is based on a typical student carrying 14.3 credits per semester.