New figures released Friday confirm what all keen observers of the UW System have known all along, that even with an inefficiently run system full of diversity programs, new buildings and thousands of employees who never see a classroom, the University was unable spend the massive 5.5% tuition increase they received in each of the last two years. The combination of these two increases gives them an additional $76 million per year. The balance of unused tuition dollars has increased over $200 million over the last three years therefore it should not be difficult to lower tuition for students. 

We must undo the damage for students who overpaid as freshmen and sophomores and make it up to them in their junior and senior years by lowering tuition. You would expect, with an ever-growing number of students taking online classes and the UW offering no discount for these courses, that the System would be flush with extra cash. 

I will one more time emphasize that the 8.6 % increase in tax payer funding in the first year of the Governor’s Budget is also unnecessary and should remain at current levels. By doing this, we can put some heft into what is currently a very modest income tax cut. 

It is important to remember the unanimous vote for Rebecca Blank as UW-Madison Chancellor shows we cannot trust the Regents on business and tuition issues. Blank had previously stated that we need to raise tuition on students whose parents are members of the working class in order to redistribute wealth. She also wanted to raise tuition on business majors. Her academic writings seem to focus on raising cash welfare benefits which is a clear sign from the university that there will be no effort made to put some semblance of ideological balance in the ivory tower.

I would like to apologize to the students who have been graduating with an average student debt of over $25,000 per year in the past two years for the UW overcharging them. Hopefully these tuition cuts can be implemented for students beginning with summer school classes that start after July 1st. The huge student debt run up by naive young people is a scandal that, while discussed, has still not been talk about enough. These graduates will not be able to start a family themselves until they’re fifty. When are these graduates supposed to have children themselves – when they’re fifty? The legislature must act because the UW Regents have shown they cannot be trusted. 

Kevin Reilly’s response to raise tuition 2% per year over the next two years is further evidence of the calloused disregard the current administration has for their students’ future.