The editorial board of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offered its opinion on Governor Walker’s proposal to extend the current tuition freeze for two additional years. University of Wisconsin System campuses are currently in the first year of a two-year tuition freeze implemented as part of the 2013-15 biennial budget.
The editorial notes that continuing the freeze will be popular with students and their families, but seems opportunistic in an election year. The freeze also raises important questions about how the state intends to fund UW System in the future:
Wisconsin students deserve affordability, but they also deserve a quality education — the kind of education the system has provided throughout its history. And a quality system requires quality faculty, staff and research facilities. Which, in turn, means paying competitive salaries and providing adequate funding for those facilities.
UW System President Ray Cross told the Journal Sentinel last week that he thought an additional one-year tuition freeze might be possible given current financial reserves, but a two-year freeze was unexpected. The editorial concludes that a one-year freeze with greater management flexibilities might have made more sense:
That strikes us as the more prudent option, unless the state is willing to come up with additional funding for the university to maintain affordability and quality for students. What the universities need is greater flexibility from state control — not more, mindless, politicized control. As we asked earlier: What sort of university system does the state want? Let your governor and legislators know.
Your opinion is important. Information on how to contact the governor or your legislators is here.