Since 2004, UW-Madison tuition increased at a greater rate for Wisconsin residents
Written By: Pat Schneider
Tuition at UW-Madison is the topic of much scrutiny and debate, as the news of a second year of $1 billion fund reserves prompted Gov. Scott Walker to call for a second tuition freeze.
How high is tuition at UW-Madison?
Higher than it was — especially for Wisconsin residents — and lower than it is at comparable public institutions.
Homegrown Badgers continuing a family tradition of attending the UW-Madison paid a whopping 77 percent more in tuition and fees to enter as a freshman this year than their brothers and sisters did a decade ago, according to UW-Madison's Data Digest.
Academic year resident tuition and fees rose from $5,866 in 2004-2005 to $10,403 in 2013-14.
Non-resident undergraduate students pay substantially more to attend UW-Madison than residents, then and now.
Tuition and fees for non-residents was $19,866 in 2004-05 and $26,653 this year, a 34 percent increase, less than half the rate of increase absorbed by resident students.
Tuition is lower at UW-Madison — for resident and non-resident undergraduates — than the average for other public Big Ten universities.
Tuition in the Big Ten (excluding UW-Madison) averaged $7,634 in 2004-05 for resident undergraduates and rose to $11,808 in 2013-14, a 54 percent increase.
Average Big Ten tuition for non-resident undergraduates was $19,763 in 2004-05 and rose to $28,829 in 2013-14, a 45 percent increase.
The more gradual increase in non-resident tuition, and its comparatively low price tag, is one reason UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank has been eyeing an increase there. The current two-year tuition freeze enacted by the Legislature applies to resident tuition only.
While more palatable, perhaps, to state politicians than an increase in tuition paid by voting residents, boosting non-resident tuition could stymie efforts to diversify the student body at the flagship university of such a predominantly white state, an op-ed piece in the Badger Herald argues.
UW-Madison officials “preach that a diverse campus offers ‘educational benefits provided by a diversity of viewpoints, backgrounds, talents, perspectives and experiences,’ but they counter their argument by making it more difficult for out-of-state students to pay for their education,” writes Ryan Smith.
The Wisconsin Rapids Tribune reports that at an April 22 forum at UW-Marshfield/Wood County, talk turned to how fulminating over UW tuition and fund balances ignores the big reason that tuition is climbing: cuts in state funding.
“We saw UW System cut by $202 million (in the biennium budget),” said Rep. Katrina Shankland, D-Stevens Point. “I think that’s a historic disinvestment in our schools.”
State funds now support 29 percent of the cost of instruction, down from 53 percent 10 years ago, according to figures from the UW System.
Rep. Mandy Wright, D-Wausau, wondered whether the UW System could be considered a public institution anymore.
“It gets to the part of do we have public funding for public schools,” Wright said.
But Sen. Terry Moulton, R-Chippewa Falls, said he doesn’t think there is going to be urgency in the Legislature next year on the issue.
“I don’t think there’s going to be large sentiment in the Legislature to provide increases (in state funding),” he said.