This policy applies to all tuition rates assessed by University of Wisconsin (UW) System institutions.


Section 36.27, Wis. Stats., grants the UW System Board of Regents the authority to set tuition rates. This policy establishes the Board’s principles and guidelines to be used in setting tuition rates. This policy also describes tuition authority delegated by the Board of Regents.

Policy Statement

It is the policy of the UW System Board of Regents to provide a system of higher education that allows all citizens to access high-quality, post-secondary education at affordable costs. As a publicly supported system of higher education, whose programs benefit individual students as well as the state of Wisconsin, the resident tuition charged by UW System institutions should reflect the shared responsibility, benefit, and needs of individual students, the UW System, and the state of Wisconsin.

Consistent with this philosophy, the Board of Regents must consider the following principles when setting undergraduate, graduate, professional, and nonresident tuition rates:

  1. Tuition rates must be based on the level of resources necessary to maintain access for students, to sustain academic quality, and to achieve the UW System’s mission. When general state budget increases are not sufficient to attain these objectives, tuition increases should assist in redressing the imbalance between needs and resources.
  2. Tuition and financial aid should be considered simultaneously and should balance access and ability to pay.
  3. The full cost of attending UW System institutions includes tuition as well as the cost of housing, food, books and supplies, and other expenses, all of which will be taken into consideration.
  4. Increases in resident tuition rates should be moderate when possible and subject to the need to maintain quality and access.
  5. Nonresident students must pay a larger share of instructional costs than resident students, when the market allows, to reflect the cost of instruction without a State subsidy.
  6. Graduate, professional, and nonresident tuition rates should be competitive with rates of peer institutions and be sensitive to institutional enrollment changes and objectives.

Tuition Rates

UW System institutions shall use a 12-18 credit plateau structure for undergraduate tuition.  Tuition for undergraduate students carrying less than 12 credits or more than 18 credits will be assessed on a per credit basis. Tuition for graduate students carrying less than nine credits must be charged on a per credit basis. Institutions must obtain approval of the Board of Regents to adopt an alternative structure.

Program-specific tuition rates for undergraduate and graduate programs may be added to base tuition to support additional services and programming for students within particular high-cost or high-demand programs, subject to the approval of the Board of Regents. The ability to identify and define high-cost or high-demand programs is delegated to the UW System President.

All tuition increases shall be limited to the amount necessary to meet institutional needs and maintain educational quality.

Resident Undergraduate: Resident undergraduate tuition shall include separate base tuition rates for each UW campus. All undergraduate tuition rates are subject to the approval of the Board of Regents.

Resident Graduate: Resident graduate tuition shall include separate base tuition rates for each UW campus. Tuition rates may vary by program, subject to the approval of the Board of Regents, but shall be established on a cost-related basis within market rates.

Nonresident: Tuition rates for nonresident undergraduate, graduate, and professional students may vary by institution and must be established at rates higher than tuition rates for resident students, when the market allows and as approved by the Board of Regents.

Professional:  Tuition rates for professional students may vary by program, subject to the approval of the Board of Regents, but must be established on a cost-related basis within market rates.

Programs for Nontraditional Students: The Board of Regents recognizes that programs tailored toward nontraditional students are often responsive to specific student or workforce needs and need a nimble implementation process. As a result, the Board delegates the authority to set such tuition rates to the UW System President.


UW institutions must determine residency for tuition purposes in a manner consistent with s. 36.27, Wis. Stats. UW institutions may require students who have been granted nonresident tuition exemptions to submit information verifying the student’s eligibility for the exemption or the student’s residency status. The Board delegates to each chancellor, or their designee, the authority to make final decisions concerning the residence classification of students for tuition purposes.


The Board delegates to chancellors the authority to remit nonresident tuition, in whole or in part:

  • To nonresident students upon the basis of merit, to be shown by suitable tests, examinations or scholastic records and continued high standards of scholastic attainment; and
  • To additional students who, in the judgment of the chancellor, are deserving of relief from the assessment of nonresident tuition.

Nonresident tuition and fees may be remitted, in whole or in part, as athletic scholarships, up to the maximum number allowed by the appropriate athletic conference, as recommended by the chancellor.

The Board delegates to chancellors the authority to remit nonresident tuition and fees, in whole or in part, to resident and nonresident graduate students who are fellows or who are employed within the UW System as faculty, instructional academic staff or assistants with an appointment equal to at least 33 percent of a full-time equivalent position.

Tuition and fee remissions for survivors of certain public safety employees, the surviving spouses and children of veterans, veterans, and funeral assistants must be provided as required under ss. 36.27(3m), (3n), (3p) and (3r), Wis. Stats.

Oversight, Roles, and Responsibilities

The UW System President is responsible for developing any policies or procedures necessary to implement this Regent Policy Document.

Related Regent Policies and Applicable Laws

Section 36.27, Wisconsin State Statutes



 Res. 1727, adopted 09/08/1978, created Regent Policy Document (RPD) 78-7, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-1, “Delegation of Authority Regarding Residence Classification.”

 Res. 3789, adopted 05/08/1987, rescinded RPD 72-12 and created RPD 87-6, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-2, “Nonresident Tuition Remission Delegated to Chancellors.”

 Res. 5046, adopted 09/09/1988, created RPD 88-11, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-3, “Academic Student Fee Structure.”

 Res. 5144B, adopted 02/10/1989, created RPD 89-2, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-4, “Tuition Structure: 12-18 Credit Plateau.”

 Res. 6238, adopted 10/09/1992, replaced RPD 90-8 with RPD 92-8.  Various provisions of RPD 92-8 were affirmed and/or amended by Res. 6733, adopted 08/18/1994; Res. 7176(b), adopted 05/09/1996, which also created RPD 96-3; Res. 8316, adopted 03/08/2001; and Res. 8841, adopted 05/07/2004.  RPD 92-8 was subsequently renumbered RPD 32-5, “Tuition Policy Principles.” Res. 9451, adopted 04/10/2008, reaffirmed RPD 32-5.

 Res. 7685, adopted 05/08/1998, created RPD 98-3, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-6, “Delegation of Authority to Establish Graduate Resident Tuition Remissions.”

 Res. 7904, adopted 05/04/1999, created RPD 99-2, subsequently renumbered RPD 32-7.  Res. 9755, adopted 04/09/2010, repealed and recreated RPD 32-7, “Student Involvement in Differential Tuition Initiatives.”

 Res. 12099, adopted 11/09/2023, rescinded RPDs 32-1, 32-2, 32-3, 32-4, 32-5, 32-6, and 32-7, and created RPD 32-1, “Tuition Policy.”