Budget Blog: Struggling to Find Consensus on Tuition Cut, JFC Puts Off UW System Vote

May 23, 2017

The Senate and Assembly haven’t yet come to a consensus on whether or not to lower the UW System’s tuition by 5 percent in 2018, according to Joint Committee on Finance (JFC) co-chairs Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette).

JFC was meant to take up provisions of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2017-19 budget relating to the University of Wisconsin System today, but put off that vote entirely. Nygren said that the Assembly is not in favor of Walker’s proposal to cut tuition, while the Senate has not yet come to a position.

Nygren said that the Assembly would prefer to continue the tuition freeze and use the $35 million allocated for a tuition cut on other initiatives. Nygren and others in the Assembly who disagree with the cut have said they would prefer not to spend taxpayer dollars for an across-the-board cut that would also help students who can already afford tuition, instead preferring to grow need-based financial aid programs.

In April, Nygren went so far as to compare the provision to Bernie Sanders-esque “redistribution” policies.


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Darling said that the tuition cut made up the entirety of the disagreement and that legislators are mostly in agreement with the rest of the Governor’s UW budget proposal, such as a provision to tie UW System funding with performance on state priorities. That model, Darling said, has done well in the tech college system.

It is unclear when, exactly, the committee will vote on the UW.