A state lawmaker wants to rethink how tuition increases on University of Wisconsin campuses are handled.
In a column written for right Wisconsin, state Representative Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield) argues a tuition freeze that’s been in place for the past four years was the right move, after it was discovered the System had been raising tuition while sitting on large cash reserves. However, in an interview with WRN, the Brookfield Republican said the state now needs to look forward and consider different approaches to the issue. “I think it’s responsible of us to have conversations saying…we should have some flexibility where students are putting some equity towards their college.”
Kooyenga, who serves as vice chair of the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee, believes those conversations include a discussion about capping future tuition increases at the rate of inflation or of growth in the median family income. He believes that would give the UW more flexibility, as it works to determine how to bring the best product to market.
The governor has proposed cutting UW tuition by five percent in his state budget. Kooyenga and other GOP lawmakers are skeptical of the move though, because the state would have to cover the lost funding. Kooyenga argued that would mean taxpayers, many of which do not attend UW schools, would be paying more for the education of others – moving the state closer to a “free tuition” model.
Governor Scott Walker on Monday released a column on the conservative site refuting some of Kooyenga’s arguments against a tuition cut. He said his proposal is about giving UW students and their families a break. “What we are doing is reversing years of irresponsible and unnecessary cost increases in higher education,” Walker wrote.