University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells issued a statement supporting a 2 percent tuition hike just as a separate state memo revealed the UW System’s large surplus of tuition dollars.
A new Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows the UW System will finish its current fiscal year with nearly $650 million sitting in reserve, including $414.1 million in surplus tuition dollars, the Associated Press reported.
Republican legislative leaders immediately vowed to include a two-year freeze on tuition in the 2013-15 state budget.
Meanwhile, Wells issued his own statement Friday afternoon supporting a proposal by UW System President Kevin Reilly to “hold tuition increases” at 2 percent for the next two years. That’s down from the 5.5 percent increases seen for the past several years.
Wells wrote: “We have preserved and enhanced our strategic reinvestment funds and our rainy day reserve funds to help us get through difficult times and preserve seats in classrooms, counteract possible enrollment declines and sustain our academic mission. However, with our state economy poised for a rebound, we welcome opportunities, whenever and wherever possible, to re-channel these funds into growth initiatives focused on student success and our state economic prosperity.”
It’s not clear if Wells’ statement and Reilly’s proposal were timed to come out along-side the Fiscal Bureau report, which was also released Friday.