Walker Talks Tuition Freeze at UWS

Posted at: 06/06/2013 5:49 PM
Updated at: 06/06/2013 6:21 PM
By: Maarja Anderson

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker visited UW-Superior Thursday morning, praising lawmakers for passing a budget measure that he said, would make getting an education in the state easier.

The tuition freeze would be across the UW System, covering 13 universities, 13 colleges, and nearly 200,000 students.

Walker used UW-Superior as a backdrop to talk about the freeze. Walker said the freeze is partially in response to news that the UW System had $650,000 in surplus from 2012.

"We should keep it within the system. Since a significant part of it came from tuition in the past, that should be returned in terms of freezing tuition," said Walker.

Under the freeze, tuition at UW-Superior would stay around at $6,000 a year. At the system's largest campus, UW-Madison, tuition would be around $10,000 for in-state students.

Meanwhile, students at the University of Minnesota will also see a tuition freeze. But U of M's freeze was proposed by the university president, not handed down by the legislature, like in Wisconsin.

"The tuition freeze...is the right thing to do for the students at this point in time," said the Director of Media Communications at UW-Superior, Lynne Williams.

Along with the tuition freeze comes $200 million in cuts to the UW System's budget. For now, students will benefit.

"I'm paying for college mostly on my own, my parents help where they can, but it means that I get a little bit leeway in how much I'll have to pay," said UW-Superior senior, Mariah Shonkwiler.

Student body president, Graham Garfield, said he was refused a meeting with Walker. He praised the tuition freeze short term, but said down the road it could hurt the system.

"Long term, a tuition freeze without new funding from the state is just going...to be bad. It's going to force us to cut programs, it's going to force us to cut faculty," said Garfield.

Garfield said other measures in the UW System budget could be detrimental to students. For example, a freeze on certain student segregated fees could affect funding for student organizations.