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Bill allows UW System to negotiate tuition reciprocity

December 12, 2021 GMT

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A bipartisan bill introduced in the state Assembly would give the University of Wisconsin System authority over tuition reciprocity with Minnesota.

The legislation would also let UW campuses keep additional revenue from students paying Minnesota tuition rates, revenue that is currently deposited into Wisconsin’s state budget.

The reciprocity agreements between Wisconsin and Minnesota have been in place since the 1970s and have allowed students to attend colleges in their neighboring states while paying in-state tuition. The agreements are currently negotiated by Wisconsin’s Higher Educational Aids Board.

The Assembly bill introduced by Republican Rep. Shannon Zimmerman and co-sponsored by a host of Republican and Democratic colleagues, would give UW System officials authority to renegotiate reciprocity agreements with Minnesota, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

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During a recent public hearing before the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, UW-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo cited data from the 2020-2021 academic year to illustrate how big an impact the change would have on her campus.

“UW-River Falls enrolled almost 46 percent of its students from Minnesota, meaning we lost over $3 million in earned revenue because of the current reciprocity mechanism,” said Gallo. “That is revenue that could have been reinvested in UW-River Falls, allowing us to offer more innovative, high-quality programming for our students, meeting their demands and filling regional employer needs.”

UW System interim President Tommy Thompson is in favor of the bipartisan bill.

“This idea has been around for a long time,” said Thompson. “Finally, the Legislature is going to, I think, pass it. And, I’m just very pleased about it.”