Freshmen costs up 4.6 percent at UW-Whitewater
The new rates represent a 4.6 percent increase for the average freshman, including tuition, segregated fees, housing and meals. The board of regents’ approval of a $5.6 billion operating budget came nearly three weeks after Gov. Scott Walker signed the state budget cutting $250 million from the UW System over the next biennium.
The 5.5 percent tuition increase at all universities and colleges is expected to generate about $37.5 million this school year. That covers just one-third of the shortfall, forcing institutions to consider other alternatives to save money.
“We have to deal with the other shortfall,” UW-Whitewater Chancellor Richard Telfer said. “The system will try to help us with that, and we’re going to work proactively to maintain the quality of education for students, but obviously the shortfall makes it harder.”
The tuition hike—the maximum allowed for the state system—means UW-Whitewater students will pay an additional $322 this year. Other increases in the operating budget include:
-- Segregated fees of $863—an increase of $32.
-- Room rates of $3,360—up $128.
-- Annual meal plans costing $2,194—a $74 increase.
The average increase at four-year institutions is 5 percent. UW-Whitewater’s increases were below average in each category, and its segregated fees remain the lowest of any state university.
Telfer credited administration and the Segregated University Fee Allocation Committee with minimizing the designated fees levied on students.
Now that the latest increases are approved, universities already are beginning to look ahead to changes that could help them operate more efficiently.
After a proposal to split UW-Madison from the state system was removed from the budget, lawmakers implemented a limited range of flexibility for all schools. That included project management, procurement, personnel and tuition.
UW System President Kevin Reilly said universities still must make difficult decisions over the next two years to adjust to the reduction in aid.
“This is a discussion about balancing the quality of education with the price students have to pay for that education,” he said. “In the end, it’s a question about the value proposition we offer to our students and their families.”
Telfer is hoping the state will go further in the future and allow universities more control over their funds and resources. A task force put together by the state Legislature will examine the issue, and Telfer hopes they will expand on the minor flexibilities that were included in Walker’s budget.
“In most of those areas, there is something there we can work on,” he said.