As I See It
UW funding formula doesn’t add up
It is time to invest in education. That is the message UW System President Ray Cross is sending to lawmakers in Madison. But that message is not likely to be well received. Governor Scott Walker has already declared that the state budget he will unveil next year will again call for a tuition freeze throughout the UW System. That will be welcome news for students, as tuition costs have risen rapidly for years until the freeze was put in place. It is good to see tuition costs finally being capped. But the legislature didn’t just freeze tuition. They also trimmed $250 million in state funding for the UW System in the current budget. I wasn’t a math major, but it seems to me if you freeze tuition, and cut state funding, the UW System doesn’t have as much money. And that is leading to a declining quality of education among UW schools. That means class sizes are growing, classes are being cut, and it is taking longer for students to graduate. Leaders in the UW System are preparing to ask for more than $40 million in additional state funding to deal with the costs of another tuition freeze. That would help get students out of school and into the workforce faster, and isn’t that the goal? But you can expect a chilly reception in Madison, where some lawmakers seem intent on punishing the UW System. That doesn’t help improve the quality of education today’s students receive, and it doesn’t help Scott Walker meet his job goals. But I guess most of our lawmakers weren’t math majors either.