Wisconsin colleges may get more expensive if you don't live there

The Wisconsin University System is looking at a major tuition increase
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The Wisconsin University System is looking at a major tuition increase – specifically for students coming from out-of-state.

The people who supervise the universities in Wisconsin, the Board of Regents, is voting Thursday to determine if six four-year colleges will get a non-resident tuition increase.

The biggest hike would happen at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, according to FOX 21, which has proposed a $2,000 increase for out-of-state students and a $5,000 increase for some graduate programs, according to a post on the university system's website.

The other schools that could see tuition go up for out-of-state and graduate students are: UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Stout, the Pioneer Press says. (You can see a breakdown of proposed tuition increases here.)

But, why?

The board wants to charge more in tuition because they have been struggling with a tuition freeze for about four years. This freeze, put on by Republicans, has kept resident undergrad tuition at $10,488 since the 2013-2015 budget, the seventh lowest tuition of the Big Ten Universities, according to a post on the university systems website.

The GOP made the freeze because they say the schools were sitting on a bunch of money and were continuing to raise tuition each year anyway, the paper said. Under Gov. Scott Walker, lawmakers cut $250 million in funding, causing lay-offs and less courses to be offered, among other things.

So, in order to offset the lack of funds, the system is looking at ways to increase tuition for non-residents as well as graduate students. University officials estimate that the proposal they'll be voting on on Thursday would provide $9.6 million in additional funding each year, the schools' website says.

This isn't the first time university officials have gone this route. Last year, the regents approved the same type of increases at eight four-year campuses. And this past spring they did so at five schools, FOX 21 says.

What this means for Minnesota students

Minnesota students looking to go to the UW schools won't be affected, a UW-Madison spokesperson told GoMN.

That's because the states have an agreement, called reciprocity, that gives lower tuition to Minnesotans who want to go to school in Wisconsin. Reciprocity covers pretty much every type of student including: full-time, part-time, undergraduate, graduate and most professional programs, according to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Minnesota has agreements like this with Wisconsin, South Dakota, North Dakota, the Canadian province of Manitoba and a limited agreement with Iowa Lakes Community College.

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