MADISON, Wis. – University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross and Board of Regents President Regina Millner commended the strong focus on college affordability and three-year-degree proposals Governor Scott Walker included in his 2016 State of the State address.
President Cross said the educational priorities identified by the Governor and the legislature align with priorities shared by Wisconsin citizens, business owners, community leaders and other stakeholders during the UW System’s statewide strategic planning listening sessions over the past several months.
“The Governor is hearing the same thing we are, and it is significant that our priorities are in strong alignment,” Cross said.
“The university’s future and the future of the state are one and the same. In the UW System, we need to better focus our resources to meet the needs, hopes and dreams of people and innovators in Wisconsin. Making a UW System education more affordable and putting Wisconsin in a better position to retain talent within our institutions is critical to the state’s future.”
Last week, Governor Walker unveiled a package of new legislative proposals focusing on enhancing the success of UW System students and the state.
The proposals include legislation creating new Internship coordinator positions to help connect more UW System students to Wisconsin business experiences; providing better and clearer information to help students be informed of their education debt obligations; offering small, targeted micro-grants to assist students facing financial emergencies; expanding tax deductions to help students and families keep costs down; and encouraging new three-and four-year degree programs and/or guarantees to accelerate the time it takes students to graduate and move into the workforce.
“The Governor boldly challenges the Board of Regents to work with our UW System and institutional leaders to develop alternatives and innovations, including expedited degree programs, to help more of our students graduate in four years or less and with less debt. We accept that challenge,” Millner said.
“I look forward to working with my fellow Regents, President Cross, our Chancellors and faculty, staff and students throughout the UW System to continue to find innovative, new approaches to ensure that more students have access to an affordable, world-class education.”