Walker calls for additional UW tuition freeze

By: AP
By: AP

UW System’s response to Gov. Walker’s statement

RIVER FALLS, Wis. – In light of the Governor’s statement, University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross concurs that keeping college affordable is a high priority of the UW System.

Gov. Scott Walker today called for an additional two-year tuition freeze for the UW System in the next budget. The 2013-2015 budget previously froze tuition for two years, the first two-year tuition freeze in UW System history.

“Holding college costs down helps Wisconsin students and families,” said Cross, who led a presentation at today’s Board of Regents meeting in River Falls highlighting the university’s financial position. “UW tuition is already lower than many peer colleges and universities.

“We intend to thoughtfully and judiciously manage and explain our resources. We will continue to work with the Governor and the Legislature to meet our shared goal of delivering value to the state of Wisconsin,” Cross said. “I intend to work vigorously to find a reasonable solution. I am confident that we can get the best budget possible for the university.”

“The Board is focused on strong fiscal management and will do everything possible to find a way to work within the proposed constrictive fiscal parameters,” said Regent President Michael Falbo. “We have been good stewards of taxpayer and student resources, ensuring access to a quality college experience.”

For fiscal year 2013, the total unrestricted program revenue (PR) balances for the System overall were $1.096 billion. Three-quarters (75%) of these PR balances are committed funds (including the obligated, planned and reserve categorizes). Of the remaining funds, only 3% -- or about $38 million – are flexible funds without specific documented plans. The other 22% (or $245 million) are categorized as designated, meaning they’re held for a purpose related to the original fund source but planned expenditure is not documented.

Including the latest March data, which concludes the third quarter of fiscal year 2014, preliminary projections for the 2014 year-end program revenue balances of all funds, restricted and unrestricted, are $1.256 billion – down from $1.273 billion in fiscal year 2013. The projected unrestricted balance for FY 2014 is $1.05 billion.

The projected tuition balance for FY 2014 is $485 million, down from $551 million in FY 2013.

MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker is calling for an additional two-year tuition freeze at the University of Wisconsin System.

Walker, who is running for re-election this year, called for the freeze on Friday. He says it's in reaction to the latest projections showing UW has a surplus of more than $1 billion.

The budget Walker signed into law last year had a two-year tuition freeze, which was also motivated by reports of a large surplus.

Walker says in a statement that after years of tuition increases, it is important to give students and their families a break.

Republican legislative leaders did not immediately respond to emails seeking reaction. The UW Board of Regents was meeting Friday and a university spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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