Tag: higher education funding

Governor Walker on Tenure, Tuition, Free Speech on Campus

Governor Scott Walker spoke about UW System and recent faculty no confidence votes with Jay Weber on WISN radio yesterday.

The pair touched on several subjects, including tenure (“jobs for life”), the possibility of extending the tuition freeze into the next biennium, shared governance and giving more power to the chancellors, strengthening free speech on campus, and “superstar” faculty members who bring in large amounts of research funding.

Wisconsin Technology Council Report: The Value of Higher Education to Wisconsin’s Economy

The Wisconsin Technology Council, an independent, non-profit board of leaders in business, technology, education and investments, released a report (below) examining the role of public support in higher education in the state. Their conclusion?

“Further cuts in public support for higher education in Wisconsin will harm the state’s economy, which relies on colleges and universities for talent, technology transfer and business development in the communities those institutions serve.”

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Joint Finance to Discuss UW System Friday, May 29

Joint Finance Committee Hearing RoomThe Joint Finance Committee is scheduled to meet at 10 am tomorrow, Friday, May 29 in Room 412 East in the State Capitol.

Livestream coverage is available on WisconsinEye. Links to Legislative Fiscal Bureau budget papers are here.

First on the agenda is the University of Wisconsin System. The committee must decide if they will adopt Governor Scott Walker’s proposal to slash UW System funding by $300 million over the biennium. Legislative leaders have already said they oppose transforming UW System into a public authority.

Other UW System items on the agenda:

The committee will also discuss the Departments of Natural Resources, Transportation and Revenue and consider changes to sales and income taxes. Funding for the Milwaukee Bucks arena in Milwaukee rounds out the agenda.

PROFS is carefully monitoring the UW System budget discussion and continues to lobby members of the Joint Finance Committee for the best possible budget for the university and its faculty.

Follow PROFS on Twitter and Facebook for the latest information.


Center for American Progress: Wisconsin Lags Neighbors in Higher Education Funding

The Center for American Progress released a report (below) Monday calling for a renewed social compact between states and their institutions of higher education. The report illustrates how the Great Recession resulted in a disinvestment in public higher education, directly resulting in large tuition increases.

Comparing its recommendations to those of the Truman Commission on Higher Education in 1947, the center argues the federal government should offer incentives to states that enroll students receiving Pell Grants or benefits from the G.I. Bill. In particular, states should reach out to low- and middle-income students to ensure access to higher education, while addressing the burden of student debt.

How Wisconsin Fared
The report
found from 2008 to 2012 public higher education funding per student in the state fell 18 percent, while overall higher education spending dropped 8 percent. In 2012, state funding per student in Wisconsin was $4,439, the lowest of all Midwestern states with the exception of Michigan.


A Great Recession, a Great Retreat: A Call for a Public College Quality Compact by Center for American Progress

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Maintaining Quality Education Requires Money

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is offering its opinion on key issues in the gubernatorial race, and K-12 and higher education is the focus of today’s editorial.

The editorial board writes that a tuition freeze is politically popular, but ultimately can harm the university:

. . . the fact is that such a continued freeze could hurt the system’s ability to attract and retain faculty. UW schools are a bargain, with average costs, and quality doesn’t come cheap.

The Journal Sentinel maintains the state should eliminate the tuition freeze while improving funding for UW System.

When Does the University of Wisconsin Cease to be a Public University?

Mike Brost, a University of Wisconsin-Madison senior from Shorewood, asks in Friday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel at what point does a state university cease to be a university?

Brost writes that state spending on higher education has fallen 28 percent since 2008, and UW-Madison receives just 15 percent of its budget from the state. Nationally, as state funding drops, tuition increases — 231 percent over the past 30 years.

At the same time, Brost observes investment in public higher education is a good for the state’s economy:

With $1.2 billion in state funding, the UW System contributes more than $15 billion to Wisconsin’s economy.

Brost argues that if current trends continue, Wisconsin’s funding of higher education will end in 2040.

The full article is here.


University Boards and the New Normal

wiscapeJane Wellman, the executive director of the National Commission on College and University Board Governance, will visit UW-Madison tomorrow and participate in a discussion on changes to college and university boards.

University Boards and the New Normal, a conversation with Jane Wellman will be held at 4 pm on Wednesday, June 11 in Room 159 Education, 1000 Bascom Mall. It is free and open to the public.

The talk is sponsored by WISCAPE, the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education.

The continued defunding of public higher education has put enormous pressure on governance boards, and in some cases, resulted in changes to shared governance. Wellman will discuss these challenges and explore ways in which to improve the functionality of public-sector governing boards.

States Still Funding Higher Education at Pre-Recession Levels

cbpp logoThe Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently released a report on public higher education funding, finding that Wisconsin is one of just eight states that continued to cut higher education spending in 2013-14.

All but two states are spending less per student than before the recession, but funding is beginning to improve after several years of cuts:

higher education funding 2013-14

The recession has resulted in steep tuition increases (28 percent since 2007-08 on average) and cuts in staff and programs. Tuition in Wisconsin rose more than 21 percent over the past six years.

Like Demos reported earlier, states have shifted the cost of higher education to students and their families through increased tuition and funding cuts. The CBPP found that tuition revenue is greater than state tax funding in 23 states.

Sifting and Winnowing: Reframing the Conversation About Tuition

Sifting and Winnowing, an independent blog for the University of Wisconsin-Madison, offers a new view on tuition today. The  anonymous writer of the blog post argues that resident tuition could be viewed as nothing more than state-subsidized non-resident tuition. When viewed this way, changes in state support will directly and more transparently affect the cost of tuition:

1. Let the overall budgetary needs of the University, constrained by market considerations (e.g., comparisons to peer universities) and/or a voluntary growth cap, objectively determine out-of-state tuition.

2. Let the state subsidy to the University, divided among the number of in-state students, objectively determine the reduction in in-state tuition relative to the out-of-state cost.

With tuition decisions framed in this way, reductions in state GPR will no longer destabilize overall university finances as they have for the past decade, but they will be much more visibly linked to reductions in affordability and/or access for in-state students.

The Great Cost Shift Continues

Demos, a non-partisan research and policy organization, has updated its 2012 report, The Great Cost Shift. The initial report found that disinvestment in public higher education undermined the stability of the middle class by shifting costs to students and their families.

In its new report, The Great Cost Shift Continues, Demos has found that the trend of disinvestment continues unabated:

“In less than a generation, our nation’s higher education system has become a debt-for-diploma system — more than seven out of ten college seniors now borrow to pay for college and graduate with an average debt of $29,400.”

The report found all but one state, North Dakota, is spending less per student than they did before the recession, and more than half the states cut higher education funding by more than 25 percent.

Most universities responded to funding cuts with tuition increases. The average tuition at a four-year institution costs more than 15 percent of the median household income in 26 states, including Wisconsin.

Wisconsin ranks in the bottom half of states in several measures:

  • 39th, state funding for higher education per FTE State funding dropped 20.2% from 2007-08 to 2011-12 ($6,432 vs. $5,295).
  • 30th, average 4-year state tuition costs Tuition rose more than 17% from 2007-08 to 2011-12 ($6,677 vs. $7,851). Only 20 states have higher average 4-year tuition rates.
  • 29th, state higher education affordability Tuition at a 4-year state institution now takes 15.7% of the state’s median family income, compared to 12.3% five years ago.

Demos was founded in 2000 and focuses its work on three areas — achieving democracy through a guaranteed right to vote and reducing the amount of money in elections, the creation of a strong, diverse middle class through a sustainable economy, and the transformation of the public narrative to elevate the values of community and racial equity.