Sizing up the University Budget Cuts: The 2.5% Fallacy

Sunday, March 1, 2015 at 5:42 PM by

The Governor and some proponents of the budget bill have understated the size of the proposed cuts to the University of Wisconsin System.

Resources for Corrections Would Outstrip State Support for University System, under Governor’s Proposal

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 at 3:10 PM by

Wisconsin would spend significantly more on prisons and corrections than on helping students pursue their educations at the University of Wisconsin System, if Governor Walker’s budget is passed without changes.

Governor Walker has called on lawmakers to dramatically reduce the amount of support the state provides for the University System. About 180,000 students attend the University of Wisconsin System, at 13 four-year universities and an equal number of two-year institutions. Each year, the UW system awards about 36,000 degrees. Those degrees help graduating students become part of the well-educated workforce Wisconsin needs to compete in the global economy. Read more

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To Reduce Income Inequality and Boost Economic Growth, Make sure every Student has an Opportunity to Attend College

Wednesday, August 13, 2014 at 1:15 PM by

Rising levels of income inequality are acting as a drag on the U.S. economy, but we can counter the economic harm by expanding opportunities to attend college, according to a new report from Standard & Poor’s, a financial services company.

Here’s the crux of the report, in a sentence:

Our review of the data, as well as a wealth of research on this matter, leads us to conclude that the current level of income inequality in the U.S. is dampening GDP growth, at a time when the world’s biggest economy is struggling to recover from the Great Recession and the government is in need of funds to support an aging population.

Pretty clear, right? Prominent policymakers, including President Obama, have warned time and again that high levels of income inequality are slowing economic growth. This report adds something new to the conversation in that it represents the viewpoint of a private sector company, and could be an indication that the business community is starting to view income inequality as a problem. Read more

Categories: Blog, EDUCATION, income inequality, JOBS & THE ECONOMY, UW | Comments Off

Oversize Student Loan Debt Acts as Drag on the Economy

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 at 2:55 PM by

Many college students graduating this month have heavy loads of student loan debt, a burden that may be weighing down the entire economy. Students who must commit a large part of their incomes to student loan repayments are holding off on making big purchases, reducing the overall level of economic activity.

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To Boost the Economy, Support the UW System and its Students

Thursday, May 1, 2014 at 8:00 AM by

higher ed tuition increase2Tuition at Wisconsin public colleges and universities has increased by 21% since 2008, according to a new report from a national policy organization. Rising tuition levels make it harder for students to afford to go to college and harder for Wisconsin to develop the skilled workforces we need to attract businesses and compete for the jobs of the future.

The increase in tuition means Wisconsin students at public colleges and universities paid $1,530 more for one year of tuition in 2014 than they would have in 2008, even after adjusting for the rising cost of living. If we multiply that amount by four, then we find that tuition costs for a four-year degree rose by $6,120 between 2008 and 2014.

Tuition is going up because Wisconsin has reduced its investment in higher education. Since 2008, Wisconsin has decreased support for public higher education by 22% per student – a cut that works out to $1,401 per student. Read more

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Investing in Education Pays off for States

Thursday, August 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM by

States can raise wages and build a strong foundation for economic success by making investments in education, particularly higher education, according to a new report from the Economic Policy Institute.

The report, “A Well-Educated Workforce is Key to State Prosperity,” makes the following points:

  • High-wage states have a well-educated workforce;
  • Expanding access to high-quality education strengthens economic opportunity for residents and boosts the state’s overall economy;
  • Trying to outdo other states in cutting taxes makes it harder for states to invest in education; and
  • Investing in education is good for state budgets in the long-run, since highly-paid workers contribute more in taxes.

The conclusions of this report might seem like common sense to many people in Wisconsin. After all, education has long been an engine of our state’s economic growth. We have depended on a well‑educated workforce, shaped by excellent public schools, to lay the foundation for our prosperity. Read more

Categories: Blog, EDUCATION, K-12, UW | Comments Off

Budget Bill Turns Large Surplus into a $505 Million Hole in 2015-17 Biennium

Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 7:58 PM by

The structural deficit that the state will face in the 2015-17 isn’t nearly as bad as some others created by state policymakers and/or unanticipated slowdowns in revenue. However, the combination of that budget hole and promises some lawmakers have made to keep cutting taxes could result in very austere times ahead for education and other important state investments.

Categories: 2013-15 biennial budget, Blog, income taxes, UW | Comments Off

May 23 JFC Agenda Includes Transportation Issues and UW System

Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 11:33 AM by

The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) meets again this week on Thursday, May 23, starting at 10:00 in Room 412 E.   Some of the major areas coming up on Thursday are the Department of Justice, DOT, and the UW System.  (It appears that the committee will not meet on Friday, May 24.)    

A full list of the items on the May 23 agenda can be found here, with links to each of the papers.   The outline below includes links to a few of the many Legislative Fiscal Bureau papers: 

Financial Institutions 


Transportation — Local Transportation Aid 

Transportation — State Highway Program

Higher Educational Aids Board 

University of Wisconsin System 

Jon Peacock Read more

Congratulations Graduates, and Good Luck with that Crippling Debt

Monday, May 21, 2012 at 8:17 PM by

Many students graduating from the University of Wisconsin this week leave campus with potentially crushing levels of student loans.

Nearly three-quarters of in-state students attending Wisconsin’s public universities take out loans, totaling an average of more than $27,000 of debt, according to the most recent figures. The average amount for University of Wisconsin students taking on debt has climbed 35 percent since 2002, even after being adjusted for inflation.

That increase in debt for new UW graduates is caused in part by tuition hikes and decreases in state support for the state’s university system. The state budget passed last year increases in-state tuition for undergraduates by 5.5 percent for two years in a row, and freezes financial aid.

But the tuition increases in the most recent budget are nothing new. Over the last 20 years, tuition at UW-Madison has risen at an average rate of 4.9 percent per year, not counting increases due to inflation. Read more

Categories: Blog, UW | * Comments (1)

The Fight over Continuing Student Loan Subsidies

Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 2:00 AM by

Seldom has there been stronger public support for the notion that higher education is a critically important route for achieving the American Dream.  A recent study by the Pew Center on the States reports that Americans believe access to a quality education is the most important way the government can help people get ahead.

Despite that public support, the future of federal subsidies for student loans is at risk, and the student loan interest rate could soon double to 6.8 percent – compounding the problems caused by state-level cuts in funding for higher education and student financial aid. Although both parties in Congress have said they want to maintain the lower interest rate, they remain very far apart on how to find the $6 billion annually to continue the loan subsidies.

A post today by OMB Watch examines the competing proposals for maintaining the subsidies for the Federal Guaranteed Student Loan program. Read more

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