Governor Scott Walker says no decision has been made yet on how his budget will address the future of a University of Wisconsin tuition freeze.
Walker has indicated he wants to continue the freeze, while System President Ray Cross wants to end it during the next biennium. The governor on Thursday said he has not yet made a decision yet on what direction his budget will go in, while also floating the possibility of a tuition reduction. “We haven’t made a final decision on whether or not it’s a two-year freeze, whether it’s what they are requesting, or arguably it could be…and I’m not proposing this, so let me qualify this…a tuition reduction.”
“We’re a long ways off from putting the budget together, but the bottom line is I want to make it affordable,” Walker said about continuing the freeze.
Cross and other critics have argued that keeping a freeze in place could force course reductions on UW campuses, which might lead to increased student costs by extending how long it takes to graduate. Walker countered that it’s an issue of priorities, noting that changes made in tenure during the last budget can allow the System to cut courses taken by only a few students, and shift those resources over to courses that are required to graduate.
Walker was also non-committal on the budget request approved by Regents Thursday, which calls for $42.5 million in new funding for the UW System. The governor will release his budget plan early next year.