Tuition change faces hurdles

Jessica Burke

The Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee voted Thursday to change the tuition reciprocity agreement for Wisconsin students who wish to attend the University’s Law School or College of Pharmacy.
The full board will vote on the proposal today, but even if it is approved, the agreement must pass the Wisconsin Legislature before it goes into effect.
Under the proposal, Wisconsin students entering the pharmacy program this fall will pay the same rates Minnesota students pay. Students entering the Law School would begin paying Minnesota rates in the 1997-98 school year.
Currently, Wisconsin students in the two schools pay the tuition they would pay in their home state, which is 20 percent to 25 percent less than what Minnesota residents pay.
Wisconsin students who are currently enrolled in either program would continue to pay their home state’s tuition.
Regent Wendell R. Anderson told a committee that reciprocity is a give-and-take agreement, not only between Minnesota and Wisconsin’s higher education institutions, but also between their tax codes.
Anderson told the committee that, when discussing the tuition reciprocity agreement, it is important to understand the history behind it.
Anderson, who was Minnesota’s governor from 1970-76, said reciprocity in higher education came about because of tax reciprocity.
About 25 years ago, Minnesota repealed tax reciprocity for Wisconsin residents who worked here when the Wisconsin government refused reciprocity in higher education, Anderson said.
After this happened, Minnesota and Wisconsin started a new reciprocity program that was supposed to benefit both the state governments and the students.
“The idea was to give students the benefit of the marketplace,” Anderson said. More than 250,000 people have taken advantage of the reciprocity agreement, he added.
States are supposed to reimburse higher education institutions for all losses incurred as a result of reciprocity each year, Anderson said.
However, the University only gets about 50 percent of its losses reimbursed, said Jim Infante, senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
Infante said Minnesota students are getting short-changed under the current agreement, especially in the professional studies programs, because Wisconsin students pay less for the same education.
The law and pharmacy programs lose around $300,000 per year with the current reciprocity agreement, said Gene Allen, provost for Professional Studies. The Law School is under Allen’s provostal unit.