Boosting U of Wisconsin Nonresident Enrollment Sparks Debate

Ann McClure's picture

A proposal to raise the percentage of nonresident students allowed to enroll at University of Wisconsin System campuses has ignited a debate over whether it would reduce access for state residents to UW-Madison.

One thing's for sure: Raising the percentage of students from other states at the flagship from 25% to a rolling three-year average of 30% would raise a lot of money for the university, which is dealing with big cuts in state funding.

Each percentage point increase in nonresident enrollment would raise roughly $4.5 million, since nonresident tuition is double what Wisconsin residents pay. That's another $22.5 million if 30% of UW-Madison students were paying nonresident tuition.

Minnesota students don't count as nonresidents because they are enrolled under the decades-old Minnesota-Wisconsin reciprocity agreement. Minnesota residents get a significant tuition discount over students coming here from other states, as do Wisconsin residents attending Minnesota schools.

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