Wisconsin GOP blasts UW over tuition surplus
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Republican lawmakers gave the University of Wisconsin System president a brutal tongue-lashing Tuesday over a report that shows system officials built a huge tuition surplus even as they demanded students pay more every year.
GOP members of the Legislature’s employment relations committee spent two hours dressing down Kevin Reilly during a hearing, telling him their constituents are outraged. They said they’ve lost trust in the system and questioned how system officials could raise tuition on struggling students when they have more than enough money.
"How can you sit there and look at that cash balance and say, ‘you know what, we’re still going to ask for a 5.5 percent increase each year?’" Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, said. "Someone should have said stop."
Reilly explained most of the money is meant for specific purposes and campuses built the reserves to protect themselves as state funding dwindles. He promised to review how much money belongs in the reserves and how to make the amounts more transparent.
"Look, I hear the anger. In many ways it’s justified," Reilly said. "I don’t think we’ve done right in the way we’ve put these numbers out."