The Legislature’s budget committee has rejected a plan to cut tuition on University of Wisconsin campuses, although a freeze on tuition increases will remain in place for another two years.
The budget panel on Thursday approved a sweeping motion that addresses funding for the state’s universities. The plan includes establishing a system for campuses to track performance, provides funding for the creations of a research center named after former Governor Tommy Thompson, and creates an engineering school on the UW-Green Bay Campus.
Joint Finance Committee co-chair Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) called it a good budget for students. “I think we’re being very much a partner with the UW System,” she said.
Democrats on the panel accused Republicans of cutting funding to the UW though by keeping the freeze in place, which has been included in the past two budgets. Sen. Jon Erpenbach (R-Middleton) argued it could make it harder for students to graduate on time because of lost resources on campus. “The freeze sounds really great, we’re going to freeze tuition. And oh, by the way mom and dad, it’s probably is going to take your kid a year longer to graduate, so there’s…ten grand.”
Governor Scott Walker appeared to signal he was fine with the decision not to included the tuition cut, posting a thank you message to lawmakers for continuing the freeze on social media.
Thanks to Jt Finance Committee members for continuing our UW tuition freeze for another 2 years!!! Tuition went up 118% before our freeze.
— Governor Walker (@GovWalker) May 25, 2017