We Can’t Repel a Tuition Increase of that Magnitude!Posted: February 19, 2011
The recently leaked memo from the Chancellor to the Governor’s office includes a seventh page that was left off of our initial reading of it. On that page, it includes an estimated breakdown of what would occur if we took a $50 million cut to our state funding. Specifically:
In response to your questions and in accordance with the Governor’s instructions, we have considered how we would accommodate a $50 million base reduction with a 75 percent tuition offset. Our analysis indicates that a tuition offset of this magnitude would require a 26 percent increase in undergraduate tuition over the course of the biennium. This projection takes into account the completion of the Board of Regents-approved Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU) phase-in, as well as , the tuition share of “cost to continue”. We believe a tuition increase of this amount is unacceptable.
Unacceptable? That’s putting it lightly.
Now, I have it on good authority that Governor Walker has been throwing around budget cuts to the UW System that are similar to those proposed by Governor Doyle half a decade ago. That’s $250 million over two years! Madison typically consists of 38-40 percent of the system’s budget, so that puts us squarely at the $50 million mark each year.
Moreover, this cut would come from our base funding! Without getting into too much of the nitty-gritty details, the base funding is the hardest to get back, so any cuts to it are likely long term.
So what do we have?
- A huge cut coming from a Governor who has proven his stubbornness and disdain for higher education (didn’t mention it once in his state of the state).
- The money cut would be nearly impossible to get back.
- A cut of that magnitude would equate to a 26% tuition increase (we’re talking UC system raises here!)
So what do we do?
The more and more I think about, the more and more I don’t want Mr. Walker making any more decisions about what goes on at this University. As is common knowledge at this point, I voted for the guy (I’m unapologetic but at this point, he’s lost my vote), but he knows nothing about what makes the UW great.
I also can’t accept any outcome of these cuts; I don’t want a huge tuition increase, and I don’t want any decrease in the quality of our education. The only solution I’ve heard to this conundrum? Give us the authority to handle these cuts on our own. Now I have no idea what will come out of the Governor’s proposed budget, but if we are to handle huge cuts, we need to be able to handle them in such a way as to side step their impact.
Even the Regent level decision making is suspect. For years, we’ve been grouped into tuition increases with the other comprehensive schools. No disrespect to Eau Claire or Milwaukee, but we have our own needs, and we should be able to accommodate them ourselves.
So let’s do this.
No more decisions about UW Madison from the capitol. Let us make those decisions on a local level. No more micromanaging of the UW from the state. Let us have the freedom to deal with inevitable budget cuts how we see fit. And no more being grouped into the category of the other UW schools. Let us address our own problems here on our campus.
We have no choice, General Calrissian.