Thursday, May 23, 2024
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Milwaukee Press Club 'Excellence in Wisconsin Journalism' 2020, 2021, 2022 & 2023 Triple GOLD Award Recipients

HomeBreaking NewsUW President Defends Tuition Hike, Budget Increase During Enrollment Dip

UW President Defends Tuition Hike, Budget Increase During Enrollment Dip

-

Wisconsin’s Assembly Speaker, Robin Vos, this month hinted at withholding some state money from the UW System to push Rothman to rein in DEI efforts on campuses.

University of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman said the “war for talent” is driving his vision for the school, which he says is necessitating both a tuition increase and a request for $200 million more in the next state budget.

Rothman told WisPolitics’ Newsmakers program that Wisconsin must do both in order to compete in that war.

“We’re not graduating enough people in the state right now to fill the jobs that are there,” Rothman said. “That war for talent is in this state. If we are not successful in graduating the number of people that this state needs, the state’s long term economy is going to suffer. Those jobs will leave the state.”

Rothman uses the “war for talent” to justify not only the recently approved tuition increase for students, but his request for an 8% budget increase over the next two years.

“We need more nurses, and engineers, and educators, and data scientists,” Rothman added. “So our budget request, which is 4% on the operating side in each year of the biennium, is really to address those needs. To build the capacity we need to educate students in those high-demand areas, as well as to attract them, get them enrolled, and get them graduated.”

Enrollment is an issue for Rothman and the University of Wisconsin. A Legislative Fiscal Bureau reported that enrollment declined nearly 10% between 2012 and 2021. The same report said four-year campus enrollment is down 5.7%, the lowest since 2000.

Rothman said enrollment is starting to bounce back after COVID, noting that last fall’s freshman class was the largest since 2018, and the new class for the fall of 2023 is even larger.

But Rothman also came back to his “war for talent” stock answer.

“All of the states around us are having more people go on to some form of higher education. That ought to be very concerning to the state of Wisconsin,” Rothman explained. “If we don’t [reverse that trend] Wisconsin is going to fall behind in the Midwest. But we’re not just competing in the Midwest. We are competing nationally, and we are competing globally.”

Rothman’s focus on the “war for talent” is so encompassing, that it’s his answer to questions about diversity, equity, and including concerns on UW campuses.

“I keep going back. We are in a war for talent,” Rothman again said. “We need to be as inclusive as we possibly can to get our students and prospective students interested in coming on to our campuses, and feeling they are included.”

Wisconsin’s Assembly Speaker, Robin Vos, this month hinted at withholding some state money from the UW System to push Rothman to rein in DEI efforts on campuses.

Vos said he’d rather see the university spend its $13 million DEI budget on in-demand degree programs.

Rothman last week told lawmakers the UW System will no longer require DEI statements as part of the hiring process, which was welcome news to the Republican-controlled legislature.

It remains to be seen, however, just how much of a budget increase (if any) lawmakers will provide to the university system in the new budget.

Ben Yount - The Center Square
The Center Square contributor
spot_img

Latest Articles