Republicans vote to end freeze on in-state UW tuition

UW-Madison campus

MADISON, Wis. — Republicans on the state’s budget-writing committee are voting to drop an in-state tuition freeze at UW System schools that has been in place for nearly a decade.

The tuition freeze for Wisconsin residents began eight years ago under Republican Gov. Scott Walker. Current Gov. Tony Evers continued the freeze in his first state budget, and had sought to extend it another two years in his current budget proposal.

Members of the Joint Finance Committee issued a warning to the UW System, however, indicating they would not hesitate to reinstate the freeze if UW increased tuition too much.

“Listen carefully, UW. You’re looking at the guardrails,” State Sen. Dale Kooyenga said. “If the UW decides to jack up tuition in a tone deaf manner, this body will take action.”

UW System interim president Tommy Thompson and Board of Regents president Andrew Petersen both praised the proposal.

“By not extending the $45 million annual budget reduction and by not further mandating a tuition freeze, the budget committee offers the UW System flexibility to develop talent, generate life-changing research and deliver the education students expect and families deserve,” Thompson said in a statement. “Besides its people, the University of Wisconsin is the state’s greatest asset and we will never relent on our efforts to improve the lives of every citizen in Wisconsin by making the UW System the best it can be.”

“This budget provides the ability for UW System to better manage its responsibility of providing a world-class education. Ending a budget lapse saves the UW over $90 million in the two-year budget and enabling the Board of Regents to be accountable for tuition is a positive development in the relationship between the UW System and the legislature,” Petersen said.

The Joint Finance Committee voted 11-4 to approve a motion eliminating the tuition freeze as part of the state budget.