SSA unanimously supports 2 percent increase
The Stout Student Association voted unanimously 25-0-0 on Tuesday to show support for a 2 percent tuition cap — and no tuition freeze for the upcoming biennium.
Tuition discussions began after state audit reports were released April 19, that revealed UW System budget reserves of $650 million, including $414.1 million from tuition dollars.
Before the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance prepares to begin voting on the 2013-15 state budget later this week, students at UW-Stout prepared and approved an official statement regarding a possible tuition cap or freeze.
SSA President-elect Juliana Lucchesi and Vice President-elect Brandon Wayerski held discussions with the Student Senate to inform them of the implications of a tuition freeze.
“The main reason a freeze would be bad for UW-Stout is that instructors who have not received a raise for quite some time will not get one for another two years,” Wayerksi said.
An open forum was held to inform the senate of both a tuition freeze and a tuition cap and the implications to UW-Stout if either one was instated.
According to a UW System release, the $414.1 million is spread throughout the system and is not disproportionally large for each campus. Currently, UW-Stout only has an 8.5 percent reserve — lower than what is recommended for public universities. And UW-Stout tuition is already significantly lower than that of the states of Minnesota, Michigan and Illinois.
Lucchesi addressed the freeze in relation to student savings and instructor pay: “A tuition freeze is not a good option for students in the long run and has not shown to save students money over a period of four years. Tuition freezes can also result in loss of faculty and academic staff who are already paid 18 to 20 percent lower than the national average.”
The Student Senate is exploring other means of funding. Differential tuition is an option that has been barred by the Board of Regents for some time that may be available in the future.
Another option discussed during the open forum of the Tuesday meeting was to lobby for charter status. Achieving charter status for UW-Stout would ensure a board would be centralized at the university to dictate future endeavors while keeping public university status.
The Stout Student Association is the student government organization charged with representing students on university issues.