Students come to Madison with their priorities for the upcoming state budget.

Funding the UW System benefits everyone. So says the United Council of UW students. Nicole Juan, executive director of the Council, says they want affordable tuition and financial aid, saying the amount of student debt affects career choices.

Higher debt deters graduates from taking a job in government, education or nonprofits. With the rising cost of tuition, books, fees, room and board, Omer Farooqut, president of the United Council points out that many students are forced to work the duration of their college years to pay for their education … leading to missed lectures, over-due assignments and poor exam scores, among other problems.

The United Council also says the UW faculty and staff are not being equally compensated as compared to their peer institutions, specifically with regard to domestic partner benefits. 

Students are meeting with their legislators, talking about their report called "Dollars and Sense: Student Priorities in the State Biennial Budget."

Meanwhile, the UW System releases new data, showing a record number of students are pursuing degrees at the 26 campuses. UW System's Fall 2008 enrollment reached over 175,000 – an increase of over 1,600 from the previous year, and an all-time record for the System.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:43 MP3)

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