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LETTER: Budget inaction hurts UW students

To The Telegram: With Gov. Jim Doyle's amended state budget failing to pass in the legislature earlier this week, this extraordinarily lengthy budget session has crept over the 110-day mark. For students of the University of Wisconsin System, thi...

To The Telegram:

With Gov. Jim Doyle's amended state budget failing to pass in the legislature earlier this week, this extraordinarily lengthy budget session has crept over the 110-day mark. For students of the University of Wisconsin System, this is not a good sign. With the Board of Regents having to potentially reassess the tuition rate for the second semester to account for the budget shortfall, students have to consider the impact of attending a public university in Wisconsin. Can we afford to leave the talent, commitment and gifts of these students behind?

The term "public" is significant here. If the state does not approve a budget soon, there are some students who could be priced out of an education. While the Growth Agenda proposed by the Board of Regents earlier in this biennial process called for increased access to higher education in order to enlarge the number of baccalaureate degree holders in Wisconsin, the lack of a budget, or indeed a severe cut to the UW-System's budget, would have exactly the opposite effect. If the legislature does not provide for quality in our public education system, the quality of services provided to students could dramatically drop due to a lack of resources.

Indeed there are already students, due to the funding for the Wisconsin Higher Education Grant being tied up in the budget impasse, who are considering not returning because of their inability to pay their costs. Is this the situation Wisconsin, with a historic and prestigious university system, wants to be in?

At UW-Superior, I see everyday individuals working above and beyond the proverbial call of duty in order to serve students the best they possibly can because they believe in what students can offer to the future progress of this state. I would urge the legislature to end this protracted budgetary process soon and grant the UW-System the funding necessary to allow students to grow academically, professionally and personally. Without looking after the state's own public university system, we run the risk of falling a generation behind states, and indeed nations, that understand an investment in students and higher education as a whole is an investment in growth and advancement.

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-- Stefan Fletcher,

UWS student body president

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