Gov. Scott Walker called for another tuition freeze at University of Wisconsin campuses on Friday.
Walker, who officially kicks off his campaign for re-election on Tuesday, called for an additional two-year freeze on tuition. Walker says the proposed freeze is in reaction to the UW's latest budget projections that show the system will end another fiscal year with a surplus of over $1 billion.
“It's a freeze across the board – it affects people already in the system and those yet to come over the next couple years,” said Walker. “When we talk about ways to make college more affordable, the bottom line is if you freeze tuition that's a huge advantage.”
The UW System came under fire last year after a legislative audit showed its campuses had amassed large reserves, while raising tuition year after year. That led to Walker signing a budget into law last year that included the first tuition freeze at UW in 10 years.
Newly appointed UW System President Ray Cross has vowed to be more forthcoming about UW's finances and reserves. In a presentation he gave at the Board of Regents meeting in River Falls on Friday , Cross shared projections that would draw down reserves over time.
Cross noted that much of the reported surplus is actually committed funding. He says he hopes to have more dialogue with Walker about UW's finances.
“Our goal is to work with him to help him understand our situation and to work with the Legislature in this process,” said Cross. “We're hopeful that in the coming year we can help a lot of folks, including legislators and the governor’s office, understand our financial situation better.”
The UW System projects it will end fiscal 2014 with $1.25 billion in cash on hand, down from $1.27 billion in fiscal 2013.