If differential tuition goes into effect, it will not appear as a separate fee on students’ bills. Students will notice an increase in the cost of tuition, and the extra money will only be used by UWSP. Currently, all of the money collected from tuition goes into the greater UW System and is divided among the UW schools.
Other areas differential tuition would affect are academic support services like advising, tutoring and library resources.
The original proposal was known as The Pointer Compact and was denied because of a tuition cap increase for all UW schools during the previous fiscal year. The second attempt was denied because of a tuition freeze on the current budget as well as a line item that legally restricted an increase in tuition or implementation of new differential tuition.
Both times, differential tuition had already been voted on and passed by the Student Government Association. For it to pass, differential tuition must be signed off by SGA, the UW System Board of Regents, the Joint Finance Committee and the governor.
“It will be a tough road, and there is no guarantee we will get it,” said Ryan Kernosky, the director of legislative affairs for SGA.
Kernosky got involved with differential tuition as a student senator. He remains optimistic that it will become a reality. Kernosky explained how those involved with the proposal are making another effort to implement differential tuition even though it has failed twice.
“The biggest hurdle I faced so far is the mentality toward differential tuition,” Kernosky said.
Kernosky discussed plans for a huge education and survey effort in order to better understand student attitudes toward the increase in tuition. He hopes proper education and solid survey results will convince legislators and the Board of Regents that UWSP needs differential tuition.
Senior Max Irons confessed to not knowing much about differential tuition, but is generally in favor of it.
“I think it would definitely be beneficial in the long run,” Irons said. “I want to know how they will focus on divvying it up.”
Freshman Bradley Christensen noted how he has seen similar issues regarding the need to provide money now to save money later.
“Even though we would have to pay more for it, it would be worth it,” Christensen said. “In the long run, students would be more educated. It would balance out.”
According to Kernosky, differential tuition will have to wait until 2015 when the UW System’s next budget is created. It will also depend on whether Gov. Scott Walker or his successor will freeze the budget again. Walker intends to freeze the budget.
“Our first step is to get it through the Board of Regents, then to lobby the state legislature,” Kernosky said.
If the current budget limitations remain, they would attempt to lobby the governor to veto the line item.