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UW-River Falls to increase tuition next semester

February 26, 2009

Next fall, students at UW-River Falls will experience a guaranteed increase in tuition. The specific increase each student will face is still unknown and will not be released until the school year is complete.

“The Board of Regents will set and release the tuition amount in June,” Kristen Hendrickson, budget director of the vice chancellor of administration and finance, said.

According to Lisa Wheeler, interim vice chancellor for administration and finance, the reason behind the increase is necessary for the experience of students and faculty.

“We want to make sure we provide a quality education and for students to be able to afford that,” Wheeler said.

One student said she feels education is worth a few more dollars.

“It’s unfortunate, but if it’s needed to maintain our strong educational needs, then it’s necessary,” UWRF sophomore Jaclyn Rehmke said.

Before the specific amount can be decided, there are a few factors that will determine the outcome.

According to Hendrickson, there are two basic factors that mold the final tuition amount. The costs to maintain the quality of the University and the financial support UWRF will receive from the state.

The support from the state and the annual costs of the University continue to change. Therefore, the tuition needs to be altered.

“The state will not be able to support us in the future like they have in the past,” Hendrickson said. “But unfortunately, the costs [of the University] continue to go up each year as well, and we need to cover those costs.”

According to Wheeler, until the tuition increase is announced, students should trust and know the Board or Regents have their interest in mind.

“Board of Regents is concerned for the students and want to protect them,” Wheeler said. “It is a balancing act.”

The definite increase is not only affecting UWRF, but all UW schools.

According to Wheeler, the Board of Regents will set the same rate for all of the Universities. Out of the total UW System budget cuts, UWRF will only experience 2.83 percent of the total deduction.

Through this tough economic phase, UWRF students will be financially impacted by an increase of any amount.

“Students are living through the same economic times everyone else is, as well as their families. So I think it will be hard to pay, but on the other hand, with a slight higher cost, students will be getting a value with the money,” Wheeler said.

Alternative methods of payment and financial support are available for students who are worried about every additional dollar.

“The good news is that the stimulus was just passed that increased financial aid, which will help students,” Hendrickson said. “Scholarships are also available.”

New programs are also being introduced that will encourage students to continue with education, despite the increase in finances.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the $38 million increase in financial aid is currently in progress to benefit students in families who make less than $60,000 a year.

According to Wheeler, “Students being held harmless” is a beneficial program in progress that will protect students in lower-income families from the increase in tuition.

Students around campus are hearing the news and have developed an opinion towards their future with UWRF.

“Unless it was a drastic increase in price, it would not affect my decision to go here,” elementary education major Stacia Kozel said.

Feelings vary with each student, yet the decision to raise tuition does occur almost every school year.

According to Hendrickson, within the last 10 years, on average tuition has increased between 6 to 7 percent each year. Some years have seen as low as 3 percent, while other years have seen 10 percent.

This annual decision may put students in an uncomfortable financial situation, but the outcome is necessary and until June, the specific amount is still up in the air.

“I know you hear many things, but we just don’t know,” Hendrickson said. “Don’t get worried if you hear a big number—they are simply rumors.”