Bill authorizes UW System to negotiate reciprocity of tuition fees

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MADISON, Wisconsin (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 allow UW campuses to retain additional income from Minnesota tuition-paying students, income that is currently deposited in the Wisconsin state budget.

Reciprocal agreements between Wisconsin and Minnesota have been in place since the 1970s and have allowed students to attend colleges in neighboring states while paying their tuition fees. The agreements are currently being negotiated by the Wisconsin Higher Education Aid Council.

The assembly bill introduced by Republican Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, and co-sponsored by a host of fellow Republican and Democrats, would give UW system officials the power to renegotiate reciprocal agreements with Minnesota, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.


In 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 the impact that the change would have on his campus.

“UW-River Falls has enrolled nearly 46% of its students in Minnesota, which means we’ve lost over $ 3 million in earned income due to the current reciprocity mechanism,” Gallo said. “This is revenue that could have been reinvested in UW-River Falls, allowing us to offer more innovative and high-quality programming to our students, meeting their demands and meeting the needs of regional employers.”

UW System Acting Chairman Tommy Thompson is in favor of the bipartisan bill.

“This idea has been around for a long time,” Thompson said. “Finally, the legislature will, I think, adopt it. And I’m just very happy with it.


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