Out-of-state students at UW-Madison will face a $4,000 jump in tuition over the next two years after the UW System Board of Regents approved the increase during its meeting Thursday.
The university has steadily increased tuition for nonresidents during the past few years in an effort to make up funds lost from millions of dollars in budget cuts coupled with stagnant in-state tuition, which Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin state legislature have frozen since 2012.
With the approved increases in place, tuition for out-of-state students will reach $35,523 by the 2018-’19 academic year. Resident tuition, in contrast, currently rests at just over $10,400.
The increases conclude a plan proposed two years ago by UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank, asking for four years of such tuition increases. Blank has cited the university’s fiscal needs following an $86 million budget deficit in the current biennium, as well as rising operations costs, as reasons for the tuition hike.
The Board of Regents also approved nonresident tuition increases for six other UW System institutions, though UW-Madison was the only school to request an increase of more than a thousand dollars.
Regent Bryan Steil, a member of the board’s Business and Finance Committee that initially approved the increases, called the raises “too much too fast” for students across the system. Steil was one of the few regents who voted against the increases.
UW-Madison’s graduate and professional students will also see tuition hikes in the next two years. Those increases range up to roughly $5,000 per year—for example, the Wisconsin School of Business’s global real estate masters program tuition will reach $43,280 by 2018-’19.
Business and Finance Committee Chair Janice Mueller said that while some of the proposed increases were initially concerning, those concerns were alleviated when she learned that the money received from higher tuition will stay within the schools themselves.
Regent President Regina Millner agreed with Mueller, saying she was “very supportive” of the resolution.
“The system offers the only public schools of those kind in the state. Although they may be located at UW-Madison, they really represent the whole state,” Millner said. “Those schools are critically important to producing professionals.”
Blank has also been vocal in pointing out UW-Madison’s nonresident tuition in comparison with other Big Ten schools.
The university currently ranks fifth in the group, but Blank argued that setting this portion of tuition closer to the market rate will make UW-Madison a more marketable school.
“In some cases, tuition is low enough that top students hesitate to apply to UW schools because they think the low tuition must signal low quality,” she said in a Monday blog post.
The regents also approved a system-wide policy regarding sexual assault on campus, the culmination of a two-year process from the system’s Task Force on Sexual Violence and Harassment.
In the upcoming months, UW leaders from around the state will begin a series of initiatives targeting sexual assault on college campuses, including launching mandatory training on the issue for all students and staff. Though much of that training for students already exists, employee training is slated to begin soon.
Additionally, task force co-chairs Anne Bilder and Petra Roter announced the creation of a website that will compile support resources for students across the system who may have been sexually assaulted or harassed. They also plan to develop a system-wide campus climate survey to gauge knowledge of sexual violence.
UW System President Ray Cross commended the task force’s work, but reminded regents to consider the personal aspects of the issue.
““This is a really good report, and in no way do I want to diminish its importance to us, but I want to appeal to a bigger issue,” Cross said. “This issue is more than just statistics and policies. It’s our responsibility not to just put in mechanical processes or tools, but to take this personally.”
UPDATE Dec. 8, 8:23 p.m.: This story has been updated to include additional information.