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Saturday, May 25, 2024

UW-Madison students talk tuition increase

Incoming and current students were caught off guard by the recent tuition hike.

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents voted in late March to increase tuition for undergraduate students, according to a University of Wisconsin-Madison press release. In-state students will see a raise of 4%, while out-of-state students will see a 3% increase. 

Following the announcement, some current and incoming UW-Madison students expressed concerns about the effects they and their peers will face due to the increase.

“School is expensive enough already,” said current in-state student Leah Fagan. “I’m really lucky to have scholarships that allow me to go to this school, but increasing tuition rates is just increasing the wealth gap disparities.” 

Wyatt Cirbo, another UW-Madison student, questioned whether the cost of tuition outweighs the benefits of attending the state’s flagship university.  

“As an out-of-state student, the cost of UW-Madison is already hard enough to justify, and this raise makes attending UW-Madison more of a question,” he said. “When I decided to enroll in Madison, I was doing so on the understanding of what tuition currently was — raising tuition significantly on a few months’ notice is unfair and presents a financial strain.”

Sarah Mammen is an incoming first-year student at UW-Madison who committed to the school prior to the announcement of a tuition raise.

“I think the tuition will affect me in a negative way because now I’m going to have to work a lot more throughout the school year,” she said. 

In-state students will see an annual increase of $372 starting this fall, and out-of-state students will see a $1,137 hike, the university press release stated. 

UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin cited a need for additional investment “to maintain our [the university’s] quality” following “a decade of frozen in-state tuition,” according to the release.

The student voice

Some students hope the university uses the increased funding for student support services. 

“I hope that the school puts the money towards student support,” added Fagan. “It's crucial that our school invests in its students’ health. I would hope that some of my tuition is [also] invested in research.” 

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Cirbo emphasized the importance of funding for student housing — a hot topic in the recent mayoral race given the city’s rapidly increasing rent prices. He also underscored the importance of prioritizing and expanding mental health services on campus. 

“I would hope that the school puts the money towards more mental health services and more professional development for students,” said Cirbo. “Additionally, putting the money towards housing for students.” 

Mammen shared her hope that the tuition hike will ultimately benefit her education. 

“I hope they use the money to continue to improve education and make it worth the 4% rise,” she said.

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