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Lawmakers To Vote On Walker’s UW System Budget

Plan Would Cut In-State Tuition By 5 Percent

okandasan (CC-BY)

The Legislature’s finance committee is scheduled to vote Tuesday on pieces of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget for the University of Wisconsin System, including his plan to cut tuition across all UW campuses.

Walker’s budget called for a 5 percent tuition cut for in-state students at the UW System schools starting in the 2018 school year. Republicans have frozen UW System tuition for in-state students for the past four years.

The governor’s budget would also increase state spending on the university system by $35 million to offset the lost tuition revenue, although the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said that would fall about $7.5 million short of covering the overall cost of the tuition cut.

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Some GOP lawmakers have suggested the state would be better off spending additional state money on financial aid grants for students who need the help. That’s the approach they took last week when they rejected Walker’s plan to freeze tuition at Wisconsin’s technical colleges.

The budget committee is also scheduled to debate Walker’s plan to tie about $42 million in increased funding for the campuses to performance metrics that are approved by his administration.

The metrics would reward UW System campuses based on a variety of factors, including the percentage of students who receive degrees in healthcare, science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Editor’s Note: Wisconsin Public Radio is a service of the University of Wisconsin-Extension.