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Audit results prompt GOP call for UW tuition freeze

Published On: Apr 19 2013 03:15:35 PM CDT   Updated On: Apr 19 2013 03:33:25 PM CDT

MADISON, Wis. -

A new Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows the University of Wisconsin System will finished fiscal year 2012 with nearly $650 million sitting in reserve, including $414.1 million in surplus tuition dollars, prompting calls from Republican legislative leaders for a tuition freeze.

The bureau released a memo Friday saying the tuition surplus was $212.8 million as of mid-2009. Base tuition across the system's four-year schools has gone up 5.5 percent annually since then.

A joint statement from Republican legislative leaders expressed outrage at the surplus, and described the accounting as a display of incompetence on the part of UW system administrators.

"It is not only unfair to the students and their parents who keep getting hit with tuition hikes, it’s unfair to the taxpayers of Wisconsin," the statement read.

The party leaders said that in response the next biennial budget will include a two-year tuition freeze. A statement from Gov. Scott Walker calls on lawmakers to approve the tuition freeze.

A system spokesman didn't immediately return a message.

The University of Wisconsin System's president earlier Friday said he would recommend the Board of Regents limit tuition increases to 2 percent annually.

Base tuition across the system's four-year schools has risen 5.5 percent annually since the 2007-08 academic year. Increases have been steeper at schools that place additional tuition charges on students.

Reilly also announced he'll recommend reallocating $30 million to eliminate a waiting list for financial aid and offer more work-study positions. He also wants to invest $10 million in a program awarding credit for students' work experience and other knowledge they've already acquired.

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