Senator Roth, chair of the Senate Committee on Universities and Technical Colleges, initiated a series of informational hearings for the members of the committee to learn more about pertinent topics under the purview of higher education in Wisconsin. These informational hearings were held around the state between February and April 2021. The committee heard from a variety of speakers on the topics of demographics, campus free speech, student readiness, and budget provisions.

This committee report summarizes the testimony of those committee meetings and presents policy options and recommendations from those who testified.

Based on the testimony provided, the committee recognizes that higher education will face serious challenges in the near future. It is clear that the way our state’s higher education systems have developed over time does not match an ideal design if they were created today. The committee grasps the opportunity at hand to make reforms now and prevent more serious consequences in the long term.

The committee provides its findings and recommendations guided by the following goals:
• Strengthen the state of higher education in Wisconsin, in accordance with the statements of purpose and mission in Wis. Stat. § 36.01 (University of Wisconsin System) and Wis. Stat. § 38.01 (Wisconsin Technical College System).
• Advance our higher education delivery systems to become more robust and relevant models in the twenty-first century, further fulfilling Wisconsin’s drive toward academic and economic excellence.
• Keep higher education accessible and affordable for Wisconsin students.
• Ensure our higher education systems are attractive to students of all ages in Wisconsin and other states and are revered around the world.