- Associated Press - Monday, March 23, 2015

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - The University of Wisconsin System will no longer cover the cost of a dual-enrollment program for high school students to earn college credit.

The Wisconsin State Journal (https://bit.ly/1HtKtjj ) reports school districts were told by UW System President Ray Cross that they would have to pay for the program next year. The system is facing $300 million in budget cuts in Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget.

The program, which was approved by lawmakers two years ago, allows students to get college credit for high school courses that match classes at UW campuses. About 7,400 students take part in the program.

At first, the UW System charged parents tuition for the dual-enrollment program, but the state’s attorney general ruled in 2014 the system couldn’t do that. The system said it would provide $1 million in “stopgap” funding for the program this school year.

In the long-term, Cross said that the UW System would advocate for legislative changes that would allow for parents to pay tuition.

Cross said districts, which typically partner with one UW System campus, can negotiate lower tuition costs. The Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District negotiated a rate of about $30 for each credit with UW-Oshkosh, amounting to a cost of $70,000.

“We had already decided that if something didn’t change, we would be unable to offer this option for students next year because the cost would have been at least $350,000,” Middleton district spokesman Perry Hibner said.

Lower negotiated rates aren’t guaranteed beyond this year, Cross said in a letter to school districts.

State Sen. Paul Farrow, R-Pewaukee, said he’s considering drafting a bill that would create a pool of funds for school districts to offset costs of the dual-enrollment program. He said the program can help students transition into college.

“It gives a kid an incentive to continue (at those campuses) and keep moving forward with their degree,” Farrow said.

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Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, https://www.madison.com/wsj


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