University of Wisconsin's "Budget Crisis"
Publisher: Against the Current
Date Written: 01/05/2015
Year Published: 2015
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20944
Over $300 million in cuts to the University of Wisconsin system lead students and staff to speculate on the the future of the university.
Since the early eighties, lawmakers have used higher ed funding reductions as a way of concealing deficits caused by tax cuts for "top-earners" and corporate tax credits. In this sense, Walker's most recent cuts are no different. The cuts to the UW system, along with parallel moves to slash funding to public radio, K through 12, and the Department of Natural Resources, are designed to account for a $541 million deficit caused by his last term's corporate tax cuts.
This strategy has worked in most cases. However, it has had unforeseen political consequences. Tuition for a four year public education has skyrocketed in the last three decades, increasing over 1,120%.
The astronomical tuition state-run universities now charge, coupled with declining wages, means that graduating students have had fewer opportunities to pay down the massive debt incurred to cover the cost of their education. And this just accounts for those students with the financial standing and the willingness to face a life as debt-slaves. High tuition also makes college less accessible to working-class students, with disproportionate effects on people of color and undocumented immigrants.