Easy answers are hard to find for how the University of Wisconsin System can continue offering the same quality education at an affordable cost with less state support.
But a task force advising the Legislature on flexibilities that could help make campuses more efficient wrestled with several key issues during an all-day hearing Wednesday in Madison, including the role tuition should play in supporting campuses and financial aid, and how the best and brightest faculty and administrators can be attracted and retained if salaries aren't competitive.
The Special Task Force on UW Restructuring and Operational Flexibilities heard testimony from representatives of students, faculty, academic staff and classified staff -- those closest to the impact of budget cuts. The task force is expected to make its recommendations to the Legislature this summer.
"Tuition can't simply keep raising the price (of an education)," said Dylan Jambrek, vice president of the United Council of UW Students and former president of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire student government. "I would challenge the state to see whether they want to be in the education business anymore."
Jambrek suggested the Legislature set a cap on tuition at state universities, but that the UW Board of Regents continue to set tuition.