College News

UW-Milwaukee Chancellor reassures concerned postsecondary students of restructuring

After UW-Milwaukee satellite campuses were announced, Washington County residents voiced their concerns. Weeks later, UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone guaranteed a prosperous future for postsecondary students.

Image By: Betsy Osterberger

Concerns among local residents lingered in the weeks following the merging of UW-Milwaukee with two-year colleges. Since then, UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone has promised that Washington County students are “in good hands.”

This comfort proved to be necessary as the former UW-Washington County was not supported by local residents at first.

Mone said local students would be able to seek “a much more affordable and more seamless pathway” to a four-year degree. Further, students on the local campus will also have access to courses in Waukesha and Washington, with the option of lectures led by UW-Milwaukee professors.

Funding for the construction of buildings on campus were given by local taxpayers and donors, which is different from the four-year UW campuses since the UW-Milwaukee is owned by Washington County. In addition to infrastructure funding, local organizations have been cumulatively offering more than $2 million from local donors for scholarships.

At the beginning of this school year, Waukesha and Washington County colleges expanded the UW-Milwaukee campus. The decision to create the satellite campuses follows the UW System restructuring that began in July.

The UW System has undergone a major change as the state’s two-year colleges are now affiliated campuses of the 13 four-year universities. The branching aims to keep the colleges’ doors open in spite of declining enrollment and revenue.

“The state of Wisconsin is getting older, there are fewer high school students graduating from high schools and entering into the pipeline of higher education,” said Stephen Schmid, the interim dean of the UW-Milwaukee College of General Studies. “And so these are all real dynamics in the state of Wisconsin.”

In response to the dwindling enrollment, state funding for the UW System has decreased and a tuition freeze has limited that important source of revenue. Prior to the start of the academic year, Gov. Scott Walker froze the tuition for the sixth year.

Students are adjusting to the new alignments, but the concern of high tuition costs looms in the air. The appeal of technical schools originates in their convenient locations and lower tuition costs, according to a local student.

“With how much tuition is and how harsh the penalties are for loans these days, there’s no way I could’ve put myself with that kind of debt,” Caleb Ebbott, a student at the Waukesha campus said.

However, Schmid is not aware of any plans on raising tuition.

“Any tuition changes go through a very formal and lengthy process, so it’s not like it’s a switch that anyone can flip,” he said.

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