The Fox Journal

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Board of Regents approves UW tuition hike

By Kaitlyn Murray

The University of Wisconsin System saw a 5.5% tuition cost increase for the 2012-2013 school year due to state budget cuts.

Each student at UW-Fox will be paying an extra $247 this year, which puts some students in a difficult position.

"Every tuition increase puts an added burden on a student to attend a UW System campus such as UW-Fox, whether that's a $247 increase in annual tuition here at UW-Fox or the $680 range at UW-Madison, it affects students and their families, and their ability to pay for that education," Martin Rudd, campus executive officer (CEO) and dean, said.

The Board of Regents approved the tuition increase in June 2012. The vote was 17-1 in favor.

State funding for higher education has been declining rapidly throughout the years, down 20.9% in Wisconsin

Losing $66 million in taxpayer support is another result of the budget cut.

The 5.5% increase in tuition will provide revenue to campuses to make up for the cuts in the state budget, resulting in $110 million for the UW campuses.

Some UW-Fox students agree with the decision to increase tuition.

"I can see why they would raise tuition. It benefits the school to have more money, and inflation makes it harder for institutions like UW-Fox stay afloat without getting it from us," freshman Emory Lee said.

"If I have to pay more, and the money is going back into the school, I consider that worth it," sophomore Kevin Gallagher said.

Some students fear the burden of student loan debt after graduation.

"It's insane of higher ups to think we can afford this. All this is going to do is make my student loans be higher once I graduate. It's like they'd rather I just drop out and find a job," sophomore Bryan Dalminio said.

UW president Kevin Reilly and the Board of Regents do not want students dropping out, but want them to be aware of their career goals to better prepare for their wanted majors.

"There's also an increased responsibility on the students as well, to plan out a degree that they want to do, so that they can complete a degree in a timely fashion," Rudd said.

"We don't want students to be in college five or six years trying to complete a degree, we want to find pathways where students can complete that degree in four years."

Completing degrees at four-year universities will help students control costs.

"Kevin Reilly has asked the four-year campuses to specifically develop four-year degree plans so that students can complete on time," Rudd said.

Attending a two-year freshman/sophomore university is another way to keep student loans down.

"Attending a UW System campus, such as UW-Fox, for the first two years to complete that associate degree before transferring, can save students and their families anywhere between $4500 and close to $10,000 alone for those two years. I think that represents the value the students can see," Rudd said.

The four-year UW campuses are facing large raises in their tuition. UW-Madison saw a raise of $681, making it the most expensive in the UW System.

UW-Madison, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Eau Claire and Stout are leading in highest tuition costs at $6500 to $9275.

Tuition increases are not expected for the 2013-2014 academic year.

"The Governor announced that UW System would be exempt from an additional $66 million funding lapse planned for 2013-15," David Giroux, media liaison for the UW System, said.

The enrollment rates are not affected by the tuition raise, but by outside sources.

"After several years of record-setting enrollment gains, we're seeing a drop in the number of Wisconsin high school graduates, the result of a long-term population change," Giroux said.

Faculty and staff of the UW System are also facing a hard time due to budget cuts.

"Faculty and staff have gone several years without a pay increase. When you factor in unpaid furlough days and increased costs for health insurance and retirement, their take-home pay has dropped," Giroux said.

Students have other ways available to help with tuition costs, like applying for scholarships and financial aid.

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