Walker visits SuperiorFees and freezes were the topics of discussion during Gov. Scott Walker’s visit to the University of Wisconsin-Superior Thursday. It was a chance, he said, to highlight a portion of the proposed state budget that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Fees and freezes were the topics of discussion during Gov. Scott Walker’s visit to the University of Wisconsin-Superior Thursday. It was a chance, he said, to highlight a portion of the proposed state budget that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention.
“Sometimes some of the really important things get kind of glossed over because they aren’t, some of them, many of them, aren’t controversial,” Walker said in the Yellowjacket Union atrium. “In this case when you talk about a tuition freeze it’s something that both Republican and Democrat lawmakers can support.”
With many wage-earners seeing little increase in their pay, he said, yearly hikes in tuition can be hard for students to afford.
Self-proclaimed “penny-pincher” Brody Baaken, a UWS senior, said he’s seen tuition increases year after year. “And so I think that no matter what you believe in your political, moral, whatever, if you’re a student this is a pretty cool thing … It’s guaranteed you’re not going to be asked to pay so much more and so much more year after year.”
Currently, tuition at UWS is $7,904 for Wisconsin residents. According to university spokeswoman Lynne Williams, tuition costs go up about 5.5 percent yearly at the campus. Even if tuition freezes, she said, the cost of operation will continue to rise.
“The university is still looking at the different priorities of how they adjust this,” she said. “We still don’t quite know the impact of how this will quite play out, but it’s going to be challenging for us to make up the difference.” UWS had an enrollment of 2,700 students in fall of 2012. Williams said that number is expected to be about the same for fall of 2013.
UW System schools fare well when compared with other colleges their size, Walker said. A tuition freeze will provide additional incentive for students to choose Wisconsin schools.
“As we’ve tried to echo by going from campus to campus, this is pretty doggone important,” Walker said, for students, their families and the state.
Student body Vice President Kara Schmidt, a UWS junior, expressed concern with a portion of the budget that would freeze segregated student fees and a proposal which would make mandatory refundable fees something students have to volunteer to donate.
The fee issues were added to the budget by the Joint Finance Committee, Walker said.
“Certainly that’s something we will look at,” he said. “We haven’t made commitments either way on vetoes or non-vetoes on any item and won’t until the full Assembly and full Senate take a review of them.”