MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will meet in early August to approve the annual operating budget for its 26 campuses. As part of that budget action, the Regents will set tuition rates for the Fall 2007 semester.
The Regents anticipate that the state Senate and Assembly will approve different versions of the 2007-09 state budget, requiring additional work by a joint legislative conference committee. In addition, the Regents are waiting for the Office of State Employment Relations (OSER) to submit a recommendation for UW faculty and staff salaries.
“We hope that the legislature supports the budget submitted by the Board of Regents, advanced by Governor Doyle and approved by the legislature’s own Joint Committee on Finance. Together with decisive action on competitive pay for faculty and staff, this would keep tuition increases at very modest levels,” said Regent President Mark J. Bradley.
If enacted today, the UW System budget already approved by the legislature’s bipartisan Joint Committee on Finance would result in annual tuition increases of $198 at UW-Madison, $194 at UW-Milwaukee and $150 at the 11 comprehensive universities. With tuition rates already lower than most peer universities, these modest increases would preserve the UW System’s national reputation for affordability.
Following action by the Regents in August, UW System campuses will have ample time to mail tuition invoices for the Fall 2007 semester. Before approving the tuition levels, the Regents hope to obtain more complete information about state support for the UW System, as they work to minimize financial barriers to higher education for Wisconsin residents, while preserving the quality of a UW degree.
“We want to keep tuition as low as possible, passing along to families and students only the minimum increase necessary to meet our educational obligations,” explained Bradley. “We must avoid a situation where we announce one tuition increase now, only to discover later that the amount is unnecessarily high, or too low to support the kind of quality education that state residents expect from their UW.”
UW System President Kevin P. Reilly emphasized the importance of providing broader, more affordable access to four-year college degrees.
“In the knowledge economy, Wisconsin should be increasing the number of seats on UW campuses for our students, and seeking to attract more high-tech research grants like the $125-million bioenergy project announced last week, which produce good in-state jobs for our graduates,” said Reilly. “After years of deep budget cuts to the university, we need the legislature’s reinvestment in the UW to help build a future for our children and grandchildren here.”
The UW System Board of Regents will meet next week (July 12-13) in Madison. As part of their agenda, they will discuss broad issues related to tuition and financial aid, as well as the need to offer competitive compensation for UW faculty and staff.