Wisconsin and Minnesota Tuition Reciprocity Agreement Will Continue

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Wisconsin and Minnesota students crossing the border for college next fall won't need to worry about reciprocity while they're in school. The states' higher education boards have agreed students entering in the fall of 2007 will be covered under the current terms for at least the next four years.

That reciprocity agreement has made a big mark on UW-Eau Claire. More than 2,000 students, about 25 percent of the student body, comes from Minnesota.

Admissions director Kris Anderson says for many of those, the reciprocity agreement was a deciding factor.

"It makes college more affordable for students who might be looking at a different state so instead of being treated like a non-resident they are actually treated to some degree like a resident of their own state and pay the equivalent rates at their own state," Anderson said.

The deal dates back to 1968 and according to Anderson, it worked fine for decades until six years of steep tuition hikes at the University of Minnesota left Wisconsin students paying about $1,200 less than Minnesotans, opening the door to questions about the agreement's fairness.

The University of Minnesota threatened to end the pact unless Wisconsin students agreed to pay the in-state Minnesota price, leaving many worried the days of reciprocity were numbered.

Now, current students and those entering this fall can rest a little easier about the cost of college as reciprocity will remain until, at least, 2011.

"The two states are giving themselves some breathing room to then come back to the table and make any changes that they might need," Anderson said.

She says the new agreement is a sign university leaders are taking serious steps to find a solution that is both, fair and long-term.

Last year about 12,000 Wisconsin students attended public universities in Minnesota and 14,000 Minnesotans studied in the Badger State.