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Thursday, February 29, 2024

UW-Madison students will offer alternative to tuition increase recommendation

A group of Wisconsin students will attend Thursday’s University of Wisconsin Board of Regents meeting in Milwaukee following UW System President Kevin Reilly’s recommendation to push in-state tuition and fees at UW-Madison above $10,000 for the first time.

Reilly recommends a 5.5 percent increase to in-state tuition for the state’s four-year and two-year institutions. If approved, next year’s total costs, including room and board, for an in-state student at UW-Madison could add up to over $18,000.

The estimated tuition and fees for an out-of-state student would exceed $25,000, according to UW System spokesperson David Giroux.

Associated Students of Madison Vice Chair Maria Giannopoulos said members of ASM plan to attend and recommend a smaller 4.6 percent increase. Members of United Council will also attend the meeting to ask that the money from the tuition increase be used for student services, according to communications director Matt Guidry.

Giroux said the proposed increase is a direct result of the long-term trend in decreasing state support for Wisconsin’s universities.

“If you adjust for inflation, the university is actually getting less money from the state than it did 20 to 30 years ago,” Giroux said.

According to Giroux, the recommended tuition increases would help cover about one-third of last year’s $300 million decrease in state funding to the UW System.

However, Giannopoulos said a tuition increase of 5.5 percent might turn students away from coming or transferring to UW-Madison.

“I think that over $10,000 is a really scary number for students,” Giannopoulos said. “Just looking at some of my friends who decided not to go to UW-Madison for their first year and went to different in-state schools, they did it just because of the price.”

Giroux said there is concern that students may be turned away by the “sticker price” of attending Wisconsin system schools.

“We’re trying to do a better job of talking about the ‘net cost’ of college, and in that, doing a better job of explaining the kinds of financial aid resources that are available to students, particularly for young people whose intellect far outweighs their financial capacity.”

Giannopoulos said Thursday’s tuition recommendations will be the first that students have ever made to the Board of Regents.

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“I’d anticipate that they’re not going to take it into consideration just because they sometimes don’t like to listen, but that’s just them sticking with the status quo,” Giannopoulos said.

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