Proposal extends freeze at 13 UW Colleges for third consecutive year
Most students at four-year campuses will see $280 annual increases

MADISON—The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents is scheduled to approve an annual operating budget and set tuition rates for the 2009-10 academic year next week in Madison.

The budget recommended by UW System President Kevin P. Reilly must account for significant financial challenges, including more than $250 million in cuts outlined in the State’s recently passed 2009-11 biennial budget. UW System institutions will need to manage more than $100 million in reductions, lapses, and reallocations for the new fiscal year that began on July 1.

In spite of those challenges, Reilly will propose a modest tuition increase that maintains the same rate of increase approved by the Regents in each of the past two years. The UW System budget will also include new financial aid measures to protect low- and middle-income students from any tuition increases.

“In these times of unprecedented financial crisis, it is more important than ever that Wisconsin grows its college-educated workforce,” Reilly said. “We are committed to keeping tuition increases modest and predictable. For the benefit of all, it is vital that college remains within the reasonable reach of Wisconsin residents. Equally important, it preserves the high quality and lasting value of a UW degree.”

Reilly will propose freezing tuition for the third consecutive year at the 13 UW Colleges, benefitting more than 13,000 full- and part-time students. At the four-year UW campuses, tuition would grow by 5½ percent – the same increase approved by Regents in 2007 and 2008. Tuition at UW-Madison would increase by a total of $618 for the academic year (including a previously approved $250 differential tuition). Rates at UW-Milwaukee would grow by $359, and general tuition increases at the 11 other four-year UW campuses would grow by $280.

Even with these increases, UW tuition would remain very competitive. UW-Madison tuition would rank second- or third-lowest in the Big 10. UW-Milwaukee tuition would rank 12th out of 15 peer universities, and the average tuition at the other UW System four-year schools would rank 31st compared to tuition at 35 comparable regional universities.

The Federal stimulus bill signed by President Obama includes a $619 increase in the maximum Pell Grant, expanded work-study funding, and refundable tax credits for families working to cover tuition and other educational expenses. The State Budget signed by Governor Doyle maintains funding for the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG-UW) program, and provides $12.4 million to the UW System for a special Tuition Increase Grant program over the next two years.

Together, this Federal and State aid will be enough to offset tuition increases for resident undergraduate students with financial need whose families earn up to the state’s median family income of $60,000. Similar “hold harmless” provisions at UW-Madison will extend to families with annual incomes up to $80,000, reflecting the median family income of students on that campus.

“At a time when so many are feeling squeezed by the global economic troubles, we would love to have no tuition increases at all. In reality, that is not an option. It simply is not possible to maintain the quality of our academic programs and the quality of our university experience without raising tuition,” Reilly said. “There is good news. First, we must remember that UW schools continue to offer a tremendous educational value at a competitive price. Second, we have a new influx of federal, state, and private financial aid that will preserve affordability and access for hardworking Wisconsin families.”

Proposed Tuition Rates for 2009-10 Academic Year


Annual Tuition

Recommended Increase from 2008-09

UW-Eau Claire*
UW-Green Bay
UW-La Crosse*
UW-River Falls*
UW-Stevens Point
13 UW Colleges
*Tuition rates listed for these campuses Include student-supported differential tuitions previously approved by the Board. At UW-La Crosse, first- and second-year students pay the full differential (higher rate shown), while other returning students pay the general tuition (lower rate).
‡ Tuition at UW-Stout would increase by the same rate (5.5%). UW-Stout tuition is charged on a “per-credit” basis, and the increase shown is based on a student carrying 14 credits per semester.


Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464