Wisconsin students may need to pay surcharge

by Chris Vetter

Wisconsin students will pay more to attend Minnesota public colleges beginning in the fall of 1998, under an agreement reached earlier this month by the two states.
Currently, Wisconsin and Minnesota have a reciprocity agreement that allows students to attend universities and colleges in their neighbor state, while paying the cost of tuition at comparable schools in their home state.
However, Wisconsin students pay significantly less to attend Minnesota schools, particularly the University, than Minnesota residents do.
The average tuition for Minnesota students who attend the Twin Cities campus currently is $3,929. For Wisconsin students that tuition is only $2,651, or the same rate they would pay at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The new agreement seeks to address this disparity. Under the agreement, which was approved by the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office, Wisconsin students will now pay a 25 percent surcharge on the difference of the two states’ college costs, which is estimated to be about a $330 annual increase.
About 11,700 Minnesota students attended colleges in Wisconsin, while 9,300 Wisconsin students attended schools in Minnesota in the 1995-96 school year.
Minnesota and Wisconsin have had reciprocity agreements since 1969. The current agreement was reached in 1991 and expires next year.
The agreement must be approved by the Board of Regents, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities’ System Board of Trustees and the Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board before the agreement is finalized.
“The negotiations just concluded,” said Robert Poch, director of the Higher Education Services Office. “We will be working with those boards to get it on their agenda.”
The MnSCU board controls all public colleges, universities and technical schools in the state, except for the University and its coordinated campuses.
Philip Lewenstein, Higher Education Services director of communications and legislation, said he believes the boards will approve the changes to the agreement.
“We are very confident that those bodies who have to pass it, will,” Lewenstein said.
The regents will likely discuss the issue later this summer, and pass the changes by September, Lewenstein said. The changes would go into effect in July 1998 for the 1998-99 school year. The new tuition gap charge will be reviewed in 2000, and will be subject to renegotiations at that time.