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Budget crisis, lower tuition contributing to Wisconsin recruitment success

Wednesday, Jul 27, 2016

* This aggressive Wisconsin recruitment has been going on for several years now, but the Illinois budget crisis certainly doesn’t help matters

Three state universities in southeastern Wisconsin are aggressively turning their attention south to pull more students — and tuition revenue — from the Land of Lincoln.

Whitewater, Parkside and Milwaukee campuses in the University of Wisconsin System for years have drawn students from northern Illinois because of their close proximity to the border.

Working in their favor is the fact tuition for Illinois students to attend a UW campus is remarkably close to, or even less, than what they would pay at their own state schools. Illinois also is in the midst of a state budget crisis with lawmakers failing to approve an annual budget beyond a stopgap that only partially funds higher education.

It’s a perfect storm for recruiting Illinois students to Wisconsin, as Wisconsin campuses look to offset their own state budget cuts and enrollment stagnation. Illinois in recent years has seen a dramatic rise in students leaving the state for college elsewhere.

And check this out

Students from Illinois pay less tuition at [the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee] than they pay to attend many of their own public universities, Maldonado said. Tuition and fees last year at Illinois State University was about $14,500, and $15,630 to $20,624 at University of Illinois, depending on the campus. At UWM it was about $13,500.

That’s just crazy.

The governor and the GA need to address this situation pronto.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - skeptical - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    U. of Wisconsin-Madison website shows non-resident tuition and fees of $32,685.

  2. - Huh? - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    I know people who went to Iowa for the same reason. And this was before the budget crisis and the higher ed meltdown.

  3. - Nieva - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:45 pm:

    Southern Illinois has the same thing going on. USI at Evansville and Murray State draw a lot of students from this area. Higher rated schools and tuition is cheaper. The cost of living for off campus apartments, food, and fuel is cheaper too. Carbondale just passed a sales tax that makes it the highest in the nation.

  4. - Darren72 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:48 pm:

    These list tuitions are irrelevant for a large number of students. Most students receive some type of aid and therefore pay less than the “sticker price”. That isn’t to say that the budget mess here and its effect on MAP grants isn’t a big problem. But simply comparing tuition doesn’t tell you much.

  5. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:48 pm:

    From your lips to Gods ears. Unfortunately, Rauner doesn’t care and his money will ensure the GOP caucuses ignore the issue as well.

  6. - Norseman - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:50 pm:

    Forgot to add Vote Accordingly

  7. - Seymourkid - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    Many northern Illinois students go to Wisconsin schools because the UW schools are closer to their homes. There are not many Illinois colleges near the Wisconsin-Illinois border.

  8. - WIUOblivion - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:51 pm:

    @skeptical 12:45 — from the article linked in the post:

    “UWM five years ago joined the Midwest Student Exchange Program, which offers tuition discounts for students attending school in any of seven participating states. As part of that program, Illinois students pay 150% of what Wisconsin residents pay, rather than the usual double nonresident tuition.”

    “About two years ago, UWM also stepped up its game by creating a Milwaukee Advantage Program that gives all Illinois students $1,000 in tuition grants.”

  9. - A guy - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:52 pm:

    While we were worried about people crossing state lines for gas and smokes, look what they really took from us? On all sides with no exception: WI, IA, IN, MO, KY.

    What a shame.

  10. - mokenavince - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:54 pm:

    The cost of going to college is way out of hand. Most schools want to give as much money as they can to there football program. This is not much of a benefit to the average student. Paying coaches millions to coach is nonsense .

  11. - Deadcat Bounce - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 12:56 pm:

    @Seymourkid // Except for NIU, which is probably on par or better than Parkside and Whitewater.

  12. - AC - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    People tend to stick around too, Madison is full of “coasties” (folks from the east coast, west coast and gold coast) and other former Illinoisans. No one moves to Wisconsin for low taxes at warmer weather either. There’s a lot of missed opportunity that’s now the base of Madison’s economy, and much of that is a result of the UW.

  13. - Deadcat Bounce - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    Everything north of Rockford is closer to Madison and Milwaukee than it is to Bloomington or Champaign-Urbana. It only makes sense, especially if it’s cheaper.

  14. - Corrupt Collectivist - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    “The governor and the GA need to address this situation pronto.”
    -Ah, but that would involve not only catching up the Illinois Universities on funding but increasing their funding. There’s no hope of that until we get a tax reform (and yes, by reform I do mean increase) and a new governor.

  15. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:08 pm:

    One parent getting the final kid off to school noted that job opportunities for kids that need to work are better and safer in WI. I never thought of the “safer” part.

  16. - Cook County Commoner - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:08 pm:

    One parent getting the final kid off to school noted that job opportunities for kids that need to work are better and safer in WI. I never thought of the “safer” part.

  17. - Cassandra - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:12 pm:

    Yes, but where are they going to get the money? There are many, many demands on the state budget, and on the tax increase most believe is coming.

    I do believe that Hillary will try to implement a plan to make public colleges tuition-free for the middle class. What are the chances? Depends on Congress-that is, the make up of the Congress she has to work with. Maybe this is the best hope, not a tax increase that is supposed to meet so many demands, not the least a massive backlog of old bills.

  18. - X-prof - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    === That’s just crazy. The governor and the GA need to address this situation pronto. ===

    Sure, but that would take reliable, full-year budgets first and increased spending second. There is some administrative bloat etc. to cut, but not enough to change this picture.

    The state’s share of funding the U of I has declined steadily over the 35 years I’ve been here, and the tuition has increased accordingly. That is, before things went completely off the rails the last year or two.

    There’s a point where lower taxes become destructive, no matter what Grover Norquist says or said. BTW, is he still around? Haven’t heard from him lately.

  19. - Filmmaker Professor - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:18 pm:

    Lovie Smith. Problem solved.

  20. - Remington Rick - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:20 pm:

    people vote with their wallet -

  21. - phocion - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:28 pm:

    “The governor and the GA need to address this situation pronto.”
    -Ah, but that would involve not only catching up the Illinois Universities on funding but increasing their funding. There’s no hope of that until we get a tax reform (and yes, by reform I do mean increase) and a new governor. ===

    Exactly wrong. The more the state shovels money into the public university system, the more top heavy they become with bureaucrats and administrators. Illinois public universities need to reform themselves or the state should force them to do so.

  22. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    @ Cassandra

    Yah, Hillary’s plan is free public higher ed to households under $185,000 I believe. However, I’m guessing that plan has about the same change of passing as any attempt in Illinois to increase funding for our public universities.

  23. - LC_higher_ed - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:46 pm:

    @seymourkid, the University Center of Lake County was created to fill the need for accessible higher education in this corner of the state. 20 Illinois colleges & universities have brought the jr/sr years of bachelor’s degrees plus graduate degrees to supplement what our community college offers. Programs run evenings, weekends, or online so that students can still work or raise families. See

  24. - Susan B. Anthony - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:47 pm:

    Better still move to WI a few years before kids go to college - the resident rate for UW Milwaukee is only $9300

  25. - The Mullet Speaks - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 1:54 pm:

    === phocion @ 1:28 Exactly wrong. The more the state shovels money into the public university system, the more top heavy they become with bureaucrats and administrators. Illinois public universities need to reform themselves or the state should force them to do so.===
    The state is “reforming” universities right now. I’m a scientist very recently retired from a southern university years earlier than I had planned — and not because I had to, but because it is soul destroying to watch an institution decline and not be able to do anything about it. I’m watching colleagues from all across the university leave the state for new jobs. I’m watching graduate programs that have taken decades of work to make happen dissolving in the budget chaos. Most importantly, I’m watching students vote with their feet, either going out of state, or just not furthering their educations. Even if state funding magically returned tomorrow, the damage done could not be reversed for many years.

  26. - Illinois bob - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:11 pm:

    There’s just an incredible lack of planning and focus in Illinois University recruitment. You can get financial awards to reduce tuition for the color of your skin, family income, gender and ethnicity, but NOT for scholarship.

    My daughter got $1500 per year from ISU for being Hispanic, but not a nickel for being a good student.

    When my kids first went to Arizona State, the out of state tuition was about $22K per year, with academic scholarships of $11K. Even as out of state students it was less expensive than UIUC where they were accepted.

    In state tuition was only $11K and they got $6K in academic scholarships taken from that.

    The most out of state students at ASU come from California, but the second highest come from Illinois.

    The goal in Arizona is to bring in top out of state students who will stay and work there. In Illinois it seems the goal is to drive the best and brightest out of Illinois.

    And you wonder why Illinois has a brain drain…

  27. - JB13 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:20 pm:

    So, I guess the natural question is: Why are those Wisconsin universities able to charge so much less than those in Illinois?

  28. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    For those with college aged students, this is simply old news. Whether Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri—-take into account their “packages” for good students and you’re at the same tuition rate as University of Illinois at CU. Top it off, at least at Iowa with significantly lower room and board and the question is answered. None of my child’s friends attends an Illinois school. No one was interested either.

  29. - The Way I See It - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:25 pm:

    That despite Scott Walker’s efforts to damage the UW System

  30. - SIU-Alum - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:26 pm:

    My son looked at engineering at SIU and UW-Platteville. He is choosing to attend UW-Platteville. The cost turns out to be less and that was factoring in the Legacy discount at SIU. UW-Madison does not give any discounts to Illinois Students like some of the other UW schools. UW-Platteville has a tri-State initiative for the first 500 students from Iowa and Illinois that apply and get accepted. Don’t get me wrong I loved SIU but UW-Platteville has much nicer facilities. I have heard of many problems at SIU lately.

  31. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:29 pm:

    When we visited Missouri state in 2014, our tour group was almost all kids from Illinois, including 4 from the Chicago area which was probably a 10 hour drive. They claimed their high act scores made it so much cheaper to go out of state.

  32. - Citizen A - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:32 pm:

    Get the number of students going to Iowa schools!!!!!!!!

  33. - Mr. Smith - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:41 pm:

    There has always been a certain amount of “brain drain” from Illinois, but this year is going to look much, much worse. This is DIRECTLY a result of the higher education funding debacle, as parents AND students are not sure whether their universities are still going to be there in 4 years.

    To give you an example that I am far more familiar with: My daughter is a bright young woman who worked HARD through her undergrad, and graduated with a double major in 4 years with a 3.8 GPA at a TOUGH academic school. She wants to do two Masters programs, and applied to three schools who had both. She got two fellowship offers and will be going to IU in the fall, pretty much fully underwritten because of her grades and her future potential to pursue a PhD. The third school - the U of I - didn’t even accept her. WTH? We heard from a family friend who works there that many graduate departments were so uncertain of funding that they were making fewer offers and lower awards. Her mother and I are both UI alums, but are we supposed to tell her to turn down offers?

  34. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:47 pm:

    The atmosphere in this state is toxic. We have a governor who feels loathing for those who educate—at every level, but pretty loudly at the university level. Combine it with the incessant whining about taxation and panic over funding just about anything. Any bright kid who can read a news release, whether online or in print and is capable of hearing this on tv(functioning hearing ears) feels like this state is Loserville. Some might say kids don’t think about this stuff but with the media in all it’s forms bombarding them (and if they are intelligent) they can’t help but be aware. For business-types, as mine is, they think about what they’ll do in 4 years and where a good place to do it will be. Our surrounding states are thriving. We used to joke about having to go to Iowa to see new construction—and lots of new housing starts. For those who doubt, take a road trip. You’d be amazed at the growth elsewhere.

  35. - Scamp640 - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    @ Phocion. You are completely wrong. You have no basis for making that statement.

    Illinois regional universities are still better that the regionals in neighboring states. The University of Illinois (UIUC) is better than the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Iowa, Indiana University, Purdue University, and so forth. Only UMich and Northwestern are more highly ranked universities for academics in the Big 10.

    This will not be true going forward unless the GA and the Governor invest in Illinois public higher education. There has been bipartisan neglect of higher education in Illinois for at least a decade. That needs to change if we want Illinois young people to stay here.

  36. - Mama - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 2:58 pm:

    If Rauner keeps under- or zero funding higher education, there will be no universities in IL for young Illinoisans to attend!

  37. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:02 pm:

    @Scamp640 Plenty of rankings would disagree that UIUC is better than UW-Madison.

    For example:

  38. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 3:29 pm:

    As an alum of UIUC, I have wondered at those rankings given that my kids have gone to “lower ranked” Big Ten schools. I believe the quality of their education has been better–far more intensive and complete– than what I experienced.

  39. - GA Watcher - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:05 pm:

    Got a friend who’s in the admissions department at the University of Alabama. She readily admits that college choice decisions are very much like buying a car.

    The school that provides the best deal usually wins. She also says that it is a well known fact among admissions officers that schools in other parts of the country have no problem beating Illinois’ public colleges and universities schools on price. They offer scholarships that undercut the all-in costs of our State schools, especially when they want a particular student at their institution.

  40. - illini - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:09 pm:

    Second attempt -

    Mr Smith - Hard for me to read about your very talented and capable daughter. My youngest niece is on track to complete her MA in 4 years at ISU in a very selective program, is in the honors program and is carrying a 4.0 gpa. She is already talking about getting a second MA and possibly more. ISU does not offer more than what she is is scheduled to complete.

    We are a 5 generation family of graduated from the UofI, including her father, older brother and me. I can’t tell you how we would feel if our Alma Mater did not make her an offer to continue her professional education.

    X-Prof is right with what has been happening these past 35 years and what the GA continues to do with the funding for the UofI and other regional universities. This is reaching the point where the damage can not be undone.

    To my nieces credit she decided between the UofI and ISU and decided to stay in state. Yet probably 3 of 4 of her high school classmates ( all top 10% in most all rankings ) chose out of state colleges. How many will return to Illinois?

  41. - Trolling Troll - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:17 pm:

    I sincerely believe this is Rauners goal:

  42. - Illinois Bob - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:23 pm:


    =The University of Illinois (UIUC) is better than the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of Iowa, Indiana University, Purdue University, and so forth.=

    Not really, if you believe US News and World Reports rankings. As a former Illini, I follow these things and UIUC ranks highly in engineering (my major), some sciences, AG and Accounting. UW Madison seems to rank high in those areas as well as quite a few others.

    There’s no point splitting hairs here. An undergrad can get an equivalent education at any of the B1G land Grant schools, except for Northwestern which doesn’t engage in “culling the heard” as much as the others and takes more interest in student success.

    Another problem is that for awhile UIUC was a “status” school that was very desirable. That isn’t the case anymore.

  43. - Last Bull Moose - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 4:53 pm:

    Blanket comparisons are usually false. Many times the best school academically depends on your particular interests. Campus culture has a role too. My older daughter would not consider Western because too many of the people she knew who went there were potheads.

  44. - James Knell - Wednesday, Jul 27, 16 @ 5:23 pm:

    Nothing will happen until we lose our loser governor.

  45. - Corrupt Collectivist - Thursday, Jul 28, 16 @ 11:56 am:

    Phocion- your comment is unsubstantiated, stereotype-hugging. The University has cut plenty of ‘fat,’ and now it is cutting to the bone. There is more administration over time due to increasing regulatory complexity, a wholesale increase in the diversity of the university’s mandate, and high and increasing student expectations for their college experience. Do I think there are too many high-paid administrators? You bet. But Illinois is not out of line with other states, and if you fired each and every high-paid administrator, you still can’t come close to recovering what’s been lost in state funding.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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