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Walker open to compromise on UW tuition cut, as long as freeze stays

Patty Murray Wisconsin Public Radio Gov. Scott Walker says he's open to compromise on his plans for University of Wisconsin System tuition in the upcoming two-year state budget but he's drawing the line at raising rates for students. The last two...

Patty Murray

Wisconsin Public Radio

Gov. Scott Walker says he's open to compromise on his plans for University of Wisconsin System tuition in the upcoming two-year state budget but he's drawing the line at raising rates for students.

The last two budget cycles have kept UW System tuition for in-state students frozen. In his 2017-2019 proposal, the governor is calling for an extension of that freeze for another year, followed by a 5-percent cut.

But speaking to reporters Thursday, Walker signaled he'd be open to dropping the cut as long as the freeze is left in place.

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"My second-year budget proposal was an outright reduction of 5 percent. So to me a compromise would be to say instead of doing my 5-percent cut, it might be keeping the freeze in the second year of the biennium," Walker said, adding he's heard positive feedback from parents and students about the tuition freeze.

The GOP governor's proposed tuition reduction has received lukewarm reactions from fellow Republicans on the state Legislature's influential budget committee, some of whom have said it may be time to unfreeze tuition and possibly raise it.

Joint Finance Committee co-chair John Nygren, R-Marinette, told the Wisconsin State Journal on Sunday that, "we can’t freeze tuition forever."

Nygren said he favors state spending for "targeted financial aid" rather than an across the board cut or freeze.

Brookfield Republican state Rep. Dale Kooyenga, who also sits on the JFC, supports continuing the freeze for the first year of the new budget but advocates a plan that would tie future tuition increases to the Consumer Price Index.

UW officials are asking the Legislature to return tuition oversight to the UW Board of Regents.

Wisconsin Public Radio, © Copyright 2017, Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System and Wisconsin Educational Communications Board.

 

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