This story hasn’t received all that much attention this week. I see no editorials or TV interviews with UW parents and students or hear talk show hosts yelping on the radio. And it’s a real story, albeit disappointing.
Late last week Republicans on the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee (JFC) voted to lift a tuition freeze on UW-System undergraduate students that’s been in place for the past eight years.
Republicans initiated the freeze under former Gov. Scott Walker in 2013 after they scrutinized the University of Wisconsin System over the size of its financial reserves. They continued the freeze for the remainder of Walker’s administration and for the first two years of Gov. Tony Evers’ administration.
The JFC vote of 11-4 had all 11 Republicans voting to end the tuition freeze and all four Democrats voting to keep it.
Consider the ramifications of the JFC vote, which is not final by any means. If the state budget is approved with a provision that ends the freeze, members of the UW Board of Regents who are appointed by Governor Evers will have authority to jack up tuition. By how much is anybody’s guess. In their infinite wisdom the The Republicans put no limit on how much tuition could go up.
This conservative Republican is shaking his head, wondering what were the GOP members on JFC thinking?
Here are the JFC Republicans who voted to possibly increase tuition at UW-System schools:
Representative Mark Born (Co-Chair)
Representative Tony Kurtz
I’m told GOP Senator Kathy Bernier was excused from the JFC meeting. There are 12 GOP members on JFC.
The GOP argument is the UW-System is much more transparent and accountable since the freeze was initiated.
So that makes it OK to stick it to parents and their kids?
The JFC in its final budget needs to put the freeze back in.