More so than ever, obtaining a college degree clearly helps people get ahead by increasing their access to good paying jobs. Over the course of a lifetime, an individual with a college degree will earn $1 million more than someone with only a high school diploma.

Despite the clear positive impact of increasing access to higher education, Scott Walker and the Republicans have slashed over $500 million in funding from the UW-system. If Wisconsin Republicans are serious about improving our economy, they must start making the proper investments in our higher education system.

Read excerpts from the article below.

UW Schools Plead Case
Eau Claire Leader Telegram 
Oct. 6, 2016

Wisconsin ranks second to last nationally in funding for higher education, according to one metric published by online news provider “Inside Higher Ed.”

From fiscal years 2015 to 2016, overall state support for higher education rose 4.1 percent in the U.S. Wisconsin’s spending, however, slid 8.1 percent. Only Arizona (down 14 percent) had a greater decline.

The UW System has seen its funding cut significantly over the years, including $250 million in the current biennium budget. A resulting lack of resources has made it difficult to compete, said UW-Madison and UW-Eau Claire officials during a meeting Wednesday with Leader-Telegram editors.

The cuts have reduced the number of faculty members and advisers, increased class sizes and curbed maintenance of facilities, university officials said.

“You can’t cut to that degree without having an impact,” said UW-Madison Chancellor Rebecca Blank. “Peers have been investing over the past 10 years; we’re filling holes.”

Not only have the cuts made recruiting and retaining faculty difficult, UW-Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt said, but they also make it difficult to attract top students. The state’s population is aging as well, which results in fewer high school students from which to draw.

[...]

The UW System Board of Regents is in Eau Claire today and Friday for meetings. It’s requesting $50 million in restored money and $42.5 million in new funds from Gov. Scott Walker’s 2017-19 biennium budget. It’s also requesting greater flexibility in areas such as revenue bonding authority.

A news release from the UW System details its impact on the state, including:

  • People with bachelor’s degrees earn about $1 million more over their lifetime than those with high school diplomas.

  • Virtually all job growth in the U.S. since 2007 has required some form of higher education. The number of jobs that required a bachelor’s degree remained stable during the Great Recession — and today there are 8.1 million more jobs that require a bachelor’s degree than when the recession began.

  • More than 85 percent of students who choose the UW System over other schools stay in Wisconsin after graduation.

[...]

Few would question whether the UW System has a positive influence on the state. Walker, however, has the unenviable task of weighing its budget needs against those of other agencies. All we can ask is that he takes into account the aforementioned arguments in making his decision.

Read the full article here.