Four-year degree from UWMadison to cost $100,000

CAPITOL NEWSLETTER
Matt Pommer  Wisconsin Newspaper Association

The all-costs price tag for obtaining an undergraduate degree from University of Wisconsin- Madison can be expected to top $100,000 for a student entering the freshman class this fall.

That estimate assumes the student will graduate in four years, lives away from home, and is a Wisconsin resident. The six-figure number also assumes tuition and fees will increase in the next three years by the maximum amounts set by the Legislature. That isn’t an unreasonable expectation since the maximum boost has occurred for each of the last six years.

Maximum annual tuition increases now are 5.5 percent while fees may increase by 3.3 percent.

The estimates arrive at least $12,000 more for Minnesota residents attending UW-Madison and $70,000 more for other out-ofstate residents over the four-year period.

For this fall’s entering students, here is how financial-aid officers arrived at an annual estimate of $23,820: Resident student tuition is $10,830; books and supplies are put at $1,190; room and board in a dormitory is $8,080; travel costs are $830, and miscellaneous expenses are put at $3,340.

Room and board estimates for apartment living are higher but miscellaneous expenses are less. The same estimate is reached by financial-aid officials for all categories of students.

By the time a students becomes a junior, she or he may have been admitted to the Madison campus business or engineering schools. Tuition for engineering students is an extra $1,400 higher per year while the business school add-on is $1,000 per year.

Tuition and fees are lower at other University of Wisconsin System campuses; the biggest savings for the college-bound is to live at home. It also helps if the young person arrives at college with credits achieved through advanced placement courses from high school.

The UW System Colleges, two-year campuses scattered across the state, also are helping. They are moving to help high school teachers provide college level instruction – and the credits, if successful – for college-bound young people.

All the estimates come before any financial aid packages are prepared for young people and their families. Items which might appear in the aid packages include a part-time campus job, scholarship money, and student loans.

Taxpayer support for the university has dropped repeatedly for more than two decades. The price tags for a Madison campus education – the university’s estimates for 2012-2013 and our assumptions of continued increases – will be a sticker shock for families – especially their grandparents who went to college in the 1950s and 1960s.

In 1960, the moderate budget estimate for a Madison campus year was $1,430. That means a young person of that era could earn much, if not all, of his education cost with jobs – part-time during school, fulltime in the summer and vacations. Tuition was $100 per semester.

The Madison campus Committee of Undergraduate Retention, Admissions and Financial Aid, had a warning about the future in its April report to the faculty. It said:

“Dramatic cuts to Madison’s budget by the State Legislature threaten to put education at the state’s flagship campus out of the reach for many families.”


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