“A decade-long tuition freeze is not sustainable”: UW System proposes to raise in-state tuition


Photo retrieved from uwlax.edu.

Andrew Bates, Managing Editor

Chancellor Joe Gow met with the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Student Association (SA) on Feb. 16 to discuss the possibility of raising tuition. At the meeting, Gow told SA he would be in a position to cut faculty and staff members if UWL can’t maintain competitive wages with nearby universities and other UW System schools.

Since 2015, 50 positions have been eliminated, and Vice Chancellor Bob Hetzel said 338 course sections have been eliminated as a result. Hetzel continued, “If we do not increase our tuition rates, we will be reducing faculty and staff once again.”

Chancellor Gow said raising tuition could sustain the course sections that are currently available. “I want to make sure that you get the courses you need to graduate on time,” said Gow.

On March 2, UW System President Jay Rothman proposed to increase in-state tuition by 5% for the 2023-2024 academic year. According to Rothman, the increase would generate around $38 million annually and the majority of the funds would go toward a system pay increase of 4% over the next two years. If approved, it would end a freeze in tuition that lasted more than a decade.

The tuition freeze was lifted in 2021, but the UW System Board of Regents is yet to approve a raise. Governor Tony Evers’ proposed 2023-2025 budget would leave the UW System $130 million short of what the regents say they need to run their campuses.

In a Twitter thread from March 1, Rothman said, “A stable funding source can ensure we deliver the education students need to succeed. Maintaining the viability of our funding sources, including tuition, will help us make these key investments at our universities.”

“As we are increasingly tuition-dependent, a decade-long tuition freeze is not sustainable to make the investments students deserve and parents expect,” said Rothman in another thread on March 2.

UWL’s current tuition and fees are $9,355 for Wisconsin residents and $10,456 for Minnesota residents with reciprocity. The estimated 2023-2024 costs are listed at $9,773 and $10,875 respectively.

On March 30 and March 31 at UW-Stout, the Board of Regents will meet to review Rothman’s proposal and make a decision.