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Growth Agenda for Wisconsin approved

September 28, 2006

The UW System’s Growth Agenda for Wisconsin was approved by the Board of Regents Aug. 17, allowing the UW System to expand in many different areas. Despite the benefits of the plan, students at UW schools may not be impressed with the accompanying raise in college tuition.

The Growth Agenda for Wisconsin plans to meet state needs by educating more teachers, nurses, engineers and health care professionals; expanding student enrollment; recruiting faculty and staff to work with a larger number of students; improving academic performance; and building the UW’s research capacity.

The agenda is still in the process of being finalized. Although it has been approved, System staff are still working on the details of what is expected to be accomplished with the agenda. 

This semester, UW-River Falls is launching an extensive strategic planning process. Until that process is completed, no changes can begin.

At the Aug. 17 agenda meeting, the Board of Regents also requested funding to help increase aspirations and access in two student populations. These include the Wisconsin Covenant and the Adult Student. 

The Wisconsin Covenant focuses on students who take rigorous high school coursework in order to prepare themselves for college. The Covenant provides financial aid to help cover college tuition.

The Adult Student centers on just that, the adult student. This initiative attempts to better serve adult, nontraditional students in the state of Wisconsin who want a college degree.

UW System President Kevin P. Reilly had only positive things to say about these two support initiatives.

“The Wisconsin Covenant and the Adult Student Initiative are the twin pillars of this budget request,” Reilly said. “The state needs to use its public university to help build its 21st century knowledge economy.”

A Strategic Planning and Growth Agenda meeting, hosted by UW-RF Chancellor Don Betz. was held Sept. 21 to address what the agenda will cover.

So what does this mean for UW tuition costs? 
Some students are already concerned about the raise in price. Although the agenda now states that the “average tuition increase would be less than 2.5 percent over the biennium,” the cost rises significantly in the next two school years. 

In the 2007-2008 school year, tuition would rise 3 percent, and in 2008-2009, tuition would rise 1.96 percent.