With the latest special session of the state legislature adjourned and no further scheduled sessions for the rest of the year, any hope supporters had of implementing The Pointer Compact in time for the 2012-2013 academic year seems dead.
The bill that would have allowed UW System schools to implement new different tuition plans never got out of committee in either the assembly or the senate after Assemblyman Steve Nass, who chairs the Committee on Colleges and Universities, issued a statement calling for the bill to be delayed until 2013.
The state budget that passed last year included a moratorium on new differential tuition plans for UW System schools.
“Steve Nass made it very clear it is not going to go for a vote,” said Seth Hoffmeister, SGA President-Elect.
Hoffmeister said that he plans on focusing on pressuring state representatives to increase the funding the UW System receives from the state. Currently UWSP receives around 17 percent of its operating funds from the state.
“Our biggest priority in the fall is going to be voting,” Hoffmeister said. “It’s going to be important in the spring to pressure officials as they formulate the next budget so the UW System receives more funds.”
On whether or not UWSP should continue on its path towards implementing a differential tuition program once the moratorium ends in 2013, Hoffmeister said it might be a necessary evil.
“It’s going to be a discussion new student leaders are going to have to weigh in on.”
The Pointer Compact would have sought to raise $5.5 million by asking students to pay an extra $324 each semester. Part of these extra funds would have been used to increase the amount of classes available to students, especially in bottleneck areas that would have decreased the time to degree for students, potentially saving them money in the long run.
At the State of Academic Affairs address last month, Vice Chancellor Greg Summers said, “If we get our students out of this university in four years, instead of five, and we save them $15,000 to $17,000 that they would have to spend otherwise. If we get them out into the working world and they an earn a salary a year ahead of time, that only helps us as an institution.”
Just because the moratorium for new differential tuition programs ends in 2013, the state legislature could pass a further moratorium in the next session.
Logan T. Carlson