Tri-State Initiative

Morgan Budde, [email protected]

Tri-State Initiative students will be seeing a rise in their tuition prices as a result of budget cuts.

The Tri-State Initiative charges $9,628 in tuition per year, not including scholarships or grants that may impact the fee.

“In the 2015-16 school year it is estimated that the university will gain $15 million in revenue from the Tri-State Initiative. 180 positions at the university have been funded through the initiative, both academic and functional support,” said Controller Cathy Riedl-Farrey.

When the Tri-State Initiative was created, charges were supposed to rise every time tuition did, but Kathryn Curry, associate budget planner, said, “this has not been occurring as originally planned”.

With the intended budget cut, two pieces involving the Tri-state Initiative proposal will be sent to the Board of Regents.

“It is not final but the incentive grant and the Tri-State Initiative have both been proposed to have changes made to them,” said Angela Udelhofen, the assistant chancellor of admissions.

“The current proposal raises the price of the Tri-State Initiative $600 a year for students at UW-Platteville,” said Curry.

The initiative was first created to bring in extra revenue for the university and it continues to do so.

“This initiative has made college a lot more affordable for many students from Iowa and Illinois, in some cases even more affordable versus the student going to college in their own home state,” Curry said.

Every area on campus is being assessed by the senior team to see where the best places to make changes and cuts are.

“We have a good mix of people on the senior team from all areas of campus. This allows us to find the best places to make cuts and still continue to offer the best services,” Udelhofen said.

The senior team has to keep in mind all areas of campus and look to see what cuts can be made.

“Increasing the tuition of the Tri-state initiative is just one piece of the bigger picture, one piece of the new budget. Just raising the Tri-State Initiative won’t fix the problem, it has to be a combination of changes,” Udelhofen said.

It is possible UW-Platteville may see a drop in enrollment rates for students on the Tri-State Initiative with these proposed raises in tuition, but nothing is concrete.

“There is a possibility that enrollment rates could go down due to the raise in tuition, but we have done studies on how many students the university could lose before we start losing revenue,” said Curry.

“ We hope to continue to see enrollment growth even with the budgets. I think UW-Platteville has developed a unique mechanism to weather the cuts better than other UW System schools,” said Riedl-Farrey.

“We are in the process of hiring a financial consultant for the university to address issues such as possible reduction of enrollment,” Udelhofen said.

Even if the Tri-State Initiative tuition prices do rise, UW-Platteville will still be a competitive university with surrounding in and out of state universities.

“We have performed market analyses comparing to other universities’ tuition and UW-Platteville will still be a competitive university with having equal or less tuition prices than universities in Iowa and students having to pay less in tuition than most Illinois Universities, we will still be marketable,” Curry said.

“We have looked at the price points of other universities in Iowa and Illinois to gauge tuition. There is a little room to increase tuition and still be a competitive university,” said Riedl-Farrey.

When it comes to students, the university has kept them in mind with every decision they make.

“We have done multi-year budget planning and also with the increasing enrollment we have been able to lower the segregated fees and reallocate those to different areas, such as the Williams Fieldhouse expansion,” said Riedl-Farrey.

If the Board of Regents approves the budget cut proposal on campus it will then go on to the legislature for the final decision.

“We are optimistic that students on the Tri-State Initiative will continue to come to UW-Platteville because it is a great institution and still more affordable or equal to many other universities,” Curry said.

The UW-Platteville incentive grant, which supplies $1,000 to TSI freshmen and $500 to continuing TSI students per year, is an area being evaluated.

“We are not sure what will happen to the incentive grant, but the proposal is to eliminate it to save the university money,” Curry said.

Gov. Scott Walker has suggested more cuts may come to the UW System.

“We have created budget models for what could happen in the future and we were the first UW campus to sit down and make a plan for the next five years,” Udelhofen said. “We have been very proactive in budget planning, making plans for the future and what could possibly happen.”

The University intends to raise the Tri-State Initiative so other areas aren’t cut so severely. This will be one way the university will counteract the loss from the intended budget cuts.

“As an institution that receives only 16 percent of its revenue from the state in 2014-15, UW-Platteville’s ability to respond faster to students and employers will be valuable,” said UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields.

“Academics are at the core of everything we do. We want to continue to give the best opportunities and academic experience to students here at the university. Every meeting we have and every decision we make always goes back to this. We always consider how it will impact the academic experience students are getting here at UW-Platteville,” said Angela Udelhofen.

Throughout the years the growth at the university has allowed extra revenue to be generated from the Tri-State Initiative.

“The Tri-State Initiative began in 2005 and has seen the growth of 1500 students at this university. It has been another revenue stream for UW-Platteville and really diversifies campus,” said Riedl-Farrey.

“I was here when the TSI was born and I have happily watched it grow. The TSI has added diversity to UW-Platteville’s campus. It has helped the campus evolve into one of the fastest growing campuses in the state. Not only has it brought in students from the Tri-state area but with it the university has also sustained Wisconsin student enrollment. The TSI has been a win-win,” Udelhofen said.