Tying Tuition to Inflation


Walker’s budget calls for cutting $300 million from the system and extending a freeze on resident undergraduate tuition to July 1, 2017. In exchange the system would be free of state oversight starting in July 2016.

The plan has left students and legislators worried that the Board of Regents could dramatically increase tuition when the freeze ends.

Walker’s administration sent a letter to the leaders of the Legislature’sfinance committee on Monday saying the governor was modifying his proposal to limit post-freeze tuition increases to the rate of inflation. Walker has hinted since February he may impose tuition caps.

What I don’t like about this proposal is that it assumes that the current tuition is appropriate compared to the average Wisconsinite’s other relative costs. Is it? Could it cost less and still provide the same or better education? Just because a family’s other expenses increase, does that automatically mean that tuition should go up by the same amount? Why? Why shouldn’t the legislature’s efforts go into driving down the price of tuition relative to a family’s overall expenditures as a tuition freeze does over time? Wouldn’t that be preferable to locking in automatic tuition increases every year? And yes… I assume that if this is in place that UW would jack up tuition by the rate of inflation every year if they were able to.