MADISON, Wis. — If you only saw Governor Scott Walker’s tweets and social media posts and friendly wagers with rival state governors surrounding the success of the University of Wisconsin – Madison men’s basketball team, you’d think he was the state’s best friend to the state university system. But one look at his track record of massive cuts in state funding for the UW, including a $300 million cut in his latest proposed budget, double digit tuition increases and cuts to financial aid paints a very different picture.
“Gov. Scott Walker can bet all the cheese in Wisconsin on the outcome of tonight’s men’s basketball national championship game, but it won’t cover up the utter contempt he’s shown for the state university system and its students with his budgets,” said One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross.
He noted that as Governor, Walker proposed the largest cuts to public education in state history in his 2011 budget, including total cuts to the UW of over $300 million and hundreds of millions of dollars in higher tuition on students while cutting financial aid $38 million.
In 2013 Walker signed a budget that raided UW reserve funds, maintained his double digit tuition hikes from the previous budget and flat lined financial aid for eligible students. During the 2013 legislative session Gov. Walker also failed to support the Higher Ed, Lower Debt Act, a first of its kind state based legislation to allow student loan borrowers to refinance their loans, just like you can with a mortgage.
Now as he auditions for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination Walker unveiled a 2015 budget plan that creates a perfect storm for an explosion of student loan debt. Walker has proposed cutting another $300 million in state support for the university system, allowing unlimited tuition hikes after 2016, again refused to boost financial aid for eligible students, and failed to address Wisconsin’s student loan debt crisis.
Ross concluded, “Being a true Badger fan means supporting the university system that the extraordinary student athletes of the UW men’s basketball team have so ably represented. Maybe the Badger’s resident wordsmith Nigel Hayes could offer a word for what Gov. Walker is doing with his faux Badger boosterism for his next stenographer challenge.”