Tuesday, June 5, 2012

University Tuition

Thursday the UW Reagents are going to vote to increase tuition another 5.5%, which it turns out is as high as it can be raised thanks to the Governors tools.  Yes, this will make college unaffordable for some and it is likely to get worse before it gets better.  The Ryan budget would cut grants and loans further making it hard for the middle and lower classes to go to college.  Of course, the tuition increase has brought noted small government and all around university critic Steve Nass out of hiding.  He released a statement saying that we need to control these tuition increases so that middle class students are not priced out of college.  This is the same man who voted to cut the university budget, and now he wonders why they need to increase tuition.  It is mind boggling that he can't understand this issue, one would think in the absence of any other factors just to maintain the same level tuition would have to go up.  So what exactly is Rep. Nass proposing as a way to control costs and maintain the system that he loves to hate?  He is proposing keeping the 5.5% tuition caps on.  Really, does anyone believe that will stop tuition increases?  No, they will be raising tuition 5.5% per year because the system is losing money from the state and federal government and they have more in state students (who get a break by the fact that they are from Wisconsin) who don't pay the true cost of education (it is subsidized by the students who pay out of state tuition).  If you want to cut costs you can do it a variety of ways.  You could downsize the university system, that probably won't help the job numbers.  You could cut staff salaries and benefits, which is probably the best way.  Finally you could eliminate some majors or move them around to other campuses in the system.  I guess there is one more for Rep. Nass to consider, increase the state assistance to the UW system.  We all know that is a non-starter.  No, I'm afraid that the only way to keep public college affordable involves making hard choices that in the end will probably destroy the value of a degree from what was once one of the best university systems in the country.

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