One of our top goals is to make college more affordable for students and working families in Wisconsin. I am proud that, for the first time ever, we froze tuition at all University of Wisconsin campuses for four years in a row.
When I travel the state and hear from high school students, parents and grandparents, one of the most frequent concerns I hear about is the cost of higher education. With that in mind, my goal is to continue to freeze college tuition. We also want to find ways to reduce the amount of time to graduation and ways to help more students earn credits for college while still in high school. All of these reforms will help make college more affordable for students and working families.
Plus, we want our students to receive an outstanding education here in Wisconsin. As the parents of a UW student, Tonette and I fully understand how important it is to balance affordability and quality. We are proud that UW-Madison is 11th among public institutions in U.S. News & World Report’s latest college rankings, and the overall system is highly regarded around the world.
While there has been a great deal of talk about finances, it is important to note the overall UW System budget this year is the highest it has ever been, and the next state budget automatically starts with $50 million added to the base for the UW System budget.
Looking ahead, I will propose an increase in funding for the UW System, and it will be connected to performance metrics. Over the past few years, we increased funding for our technical college system, including performance funding, and it is working very well.
We believe it is important to know specific data such as how many students enroll, how many graduate, how many graduate on time, how much they take out in student loans, how much the student loans cost, how many graduates are employed and in what areas. New funding should help address the needs of students and employers in Wisconsin, and it should be based on performance.
Overall, we want higher education in the state to be more relevant for students, employers and taxpayers. Our next state budget will find ways to make college more affordable while increasing transparency and relevance. Together, we will help the UW System continue to be one of the best in the country.