Poll Says Freeze Tuition, But Give UW More Money


Freeze University of Wisconsin (UW) tuition, but give the university system more state tax funds. Those are the messages from a new poll.

A Marquette University poll completed about a week ago delved into the issue of the UW System’s hundreds of millions of dollars of reserve funds. The poll shows 76 percent of respondents favor a two-year tuition freeze, with only 21 percent of people opposing the freeze. Marquette pollster Charles Franklin says the result will likely encourage state lawmakers to go ahead.

Certainly in the current context, those legislators that are arguing for a tuition freeze for two years certainly have a lot of public backing behind them on that.

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But Professor Franklin says the poll results may give some pause to lawmakers and Governor Walker, who are also talking about pulling back some or all of the $181 million increase in state funds that Walker wanted to give to the UW. Franklin says half the people back the university getting all the money.

There, the public is more split. Forty-four percent favor cutting that increase, but 50 percent oppose cutting that increase. So here is the issue: tuition freeze is very agreeable to voters, but a little bit more prefer not reducing this increased spending for the university.

The governor, the UW and state lawmakers are said to be talking about what to do with the university budget proposal. Walker – at one point, anyway – still wanted the UW to get $20 million tied to economic development efforts.