- Associated Press - Friday, April 8, 2016

MADISON, Wis. (AP) - University of Wisconsin System leaders on Friday signed off on a plan to raise tuition again for graduate students at five campuses and out-of-state undergraduates at three schools.

UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Platteville, UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater asked the regents for permission to raise their nonresident or graduate tuition rates or both for the upcoming academic year. The Board of Regents adopted the increases on a unanimous voice vote during a meeting Friday at UW-Green Bay. There was no discussion.

Under the proposal, out-of-state undergraduate tuition will increase by 3.7 percent at La Crosse, 1 percent at Milwaukee and 3.4 percent at Whitewater. That translates to about $570 more per year at La Crosse, $185 more at Milwaukee and $500 more at Whitewater.

All five schools asked permission to raise graduate tuition. Those increases vary from program to program at each school, ranging from half-a-percent for master’s degrees in applied psychology and food services at Stout to nearly 18 percent for a master’s in computer science at Platteville. That means graduates will pay anywhere from a few dollars to $1,360 more depending on the school and program.

All told, the increases are expected to generate close to $2 million in combined new revenue across the campuses.

The schools’ plan come with the campuses grappling with a $250 million cut that Republican lawmakers imposed on them in the 2015-17 state budget. GOP legislators used the budget to extend a freeze on resident undergraduate tuition through the spring of 2017, hamstringing the system’s ability to make up for the cuts with new revenue.

The Republicans allowed the system to raise out-of-state and graduate tuition, however. In April 2015, the regents approved raising those rates at eight campuses, including La Crosse, Milwaukee, Platteville, Stout and Whitewater, by hundreds of dollars. The regents approved those increases several months before Gov. Scott Walker signed the budget into law, saying they wanted to help campuses prepare for the cuts.

As of fall of 2015, about 24,000 graduate and professional students and about 20,350 out-of-state undergraduates attended system schools.

The regents also approved UW-Madison’s new tenure policy on Friday.

Through the budget, Republican lawmakers wiped out tenure protections that had been enshrined in state law. The regents last month approved an overarching policy allowing schools to lay off tenured faculty during financial emergencies and for educational considerations. Each system school can adopt its own protocols, as long as they align with the larger system policy.

UW-Madison’s policy is the first school-specific plan to come before the regents. It ensures laid off or fired faculty get up to a year’s severance and requires the chancellor to consider other budget reduction options short of lay-offs or terminations.

The regents adopted it on a unanimous voice vote with no discussion.


Follow Todd Richmond on Twitter at https://twitter.com/trichmond1

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