MADISON, Wis. (AP) — The Legislature’s Republican-led budget committee voted Thursday to end a University of Wisconsin tuition freeze that has been in place for eight years and has long been a GOP priority that had bipartisan support.
Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed, and the university supported, extending the tuition freeze for another two years, along with spending $192 million more on the UW System.
But the budget-writing Joint Finance Committee went in a different direction Thursday, voting to end the tuition freeze and adding just $8.25 million in state funding for UW, $9.5 million for technical colleges and $5 million for a nurse education program for students at both private and public colleges and universities in the state.
All 11 Republicans voted to end the freeze, while all four Democrats voted to keep it.
I’m dubious, but I see what they are doing. The legislature is increasing taxpayer funding to UW, but slowly enough that it is continuing the trend of reducing the percentage of taxpayer support in the UW budget. At the same time, they are lifting the tuition freeze to allow them to get more funding that way. The market will regulate increases, in theory, but the higher education market is warped by easy borrowed money from the government.
Still, if I am to choose between the taxpayers or the tuition payers supporting UW spending, I’d rather it be the tuition payers.