Statement on Gov. Walker’s cut to UW Campuses

At a time when we should be increasing our investment in higher education to grow Wisconsin’s economy, Governor Walker is once again proposing devastating cuts to the University of Wisconsin System.  A $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System does nothing to address the skills gap or prepare students for the 21st century economy.  What it does is exacerbate the growing student debt crisis by funding higher education through future tuition increases and student loans. 

Ensuring that our universities and technical colleges are affordable for all students must be our priority.  We know the value of higher education.  A college degree leads to higher lifetime earnings; yet access to our two and four year schools is becoming more difficult for middle class families.  Unfortunately today’s announcement seems more focused on addressing the budget deficit Governor Walker created than a thoughtful approach to the future of higher education. 

At this time I have not seen many details of the governor’s proposal.  I am very concerned about the long term effects his plan will have on one of the best university systems in the country.  One thing is for sure, we should not be handing over the keys to our prized UW Campuses to an authority we know nothing about.  Anyone with children considering a UW System school should be worried about uncontrolled tuition increases beginning in 2017 when the tuition freeze ends. 

Today I reached out to both current and former administrators at UW-Superior and UW-Barron County.  They share my concerns about the lack of detail and the potential impacts. These schools are critical to the economic vitality of northern Wisconsin.  I will be working with them and my colleagues in Madison to defend Wisconsin’s proud tradition of accessible and exceptional higher education.