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Welcome to the WISCAPE Blog

Thank you for visiting our blog. We aim to provide a space for WISCAPE faculty, staff, and others to share their viewpoints on key issues and trends in postsecondary education and invite discussion with the broader community. The opinions expressed in blog posts are the authors' own and do not reflect the official views of WISCAPE.
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  • Feb 26, 2015

    Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis and state agency summaries

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    Today the Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) released the Legislative Reference Bureau’s non-partisan analysis of the “2015-2017 Summary of Governor’s Budget Recommendation.” Below (in italics) is the introduction.
    Full story

  • Feb 17, 2015

    A comparison of the proposed UW System Public Authority and the Restructuring Act in Virginia

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    Since Governor Walker released his 2015-2017 biennial budget, which included a proposed $300 million cut to the UW System and conversion of the UW System to public authority, many have asked if there are lessons we can learn from other states about the likely impact of Walker’s proposal. Based on a literature review, conversations with higher education scholars and system administrators, and an informative Wisconsin State Journal article by Dan Simmons, one state sticks out above all others: Virginia.
    Full story

  • Feb 12, 2015

    Privatizing Wisconsin

    by Jacob Stampen, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Where do Gov. Walker’s public policy ideas come from? The long-standing debate over how the public-and private-sector should be involved in delivering goods and services is, once again, gaining attention in Wisconsin and across the nation. One side (followers of John Maynard Keynes) argues that government is best suited to provide services that everyone needs, such as education and health care, though the private sector can be relied on for everything else. The other side (followers of Milton Friedman) argues that the private sector can provide virtually every kind of service better than the public sector, and therefore it should be relied on to do so. If true, this would save taxpayers a great deal of money and make them less dependent on government.
    Full story

  • Feb 4, 2015

    The language of today’s higher education debate

    by Jason Lee, WISCAPE Outreach Programs Manager
    Governor Walker’s proposed budget includes severe cuts to UW System colleges and universities and restructuring into a public authority. What do these changes mean, and do we have a common understanding of the language used to justify the changes?
    Full story

  • Feb 3, 2015

    UW budget proposal breaks faith with UW Colleges and local partners

    by Jim Rosenberg, UW-Marathon County and Marathon County Board of Supervisors
    I have a different perspective on the governor’s current budget proposal as it relates to UW Colleges. Not only do I work in student affairs at UW-Marathon County, but I am also a multi-term member of the Marathon County Board of Supervisors, where I chair the Education and Economic Development Committee. This places me in the unusual position of simultaneously being a landlord and a tenant.
    Full story

  • Jan 30, 2015

    Statement on Governor Walker's Budget Proposal

    by Sara Goldrick-Rab, WISCAPE Senior Scholar
    Governor Walker’s budget proposal gives the University of Wisconsin System greater flexibility as a public authority, including allowing the Board of Regents to set tuition. In an apparent quid pro quo, he has also proposed a $300 million cut to System appropriations. I have devoted my career to finding ways to make college more affordable while ensuring that students obtain degrees of value. There are many ways to achieve these goals, and selecting among them requires careful evaluation of the likely impacts. Existing evidence makes me very concerned about the implications of the Governor’s budget proposal when it comes to educational opportunities for students and families throughout the state.
    Full story

  • Jan 29, 2015

    Would the liberal arts be stronger in a more autonomous UW?

    by Johann Neem, WISCAPE Affiliate
    The debate in higher education between autonomy, on the one hand, and public funding and oversight, on the other, is as old as the republic itself. In the famous controversy over Dartmouth College during the 1810s, Federalist trustees of the college sought to make it private in order to prevent the incoming Jeffersonian Republican majority in New Hampshire from taking control of the college. At issue was not just control but the kind of education that Dartmouth would provide. Dartmouth’s trustees and the state’s Jeffersonian leadership did not trust each other to educate the next generation.
    Full story

  • Jan 29, 2015

    Cutting public higher education has predictable outcomes

    by Nicholas Hillman, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Governor Walker’s proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System’s budget is believed to be the largest in the system’s history. This cut represents 13 percent of the state higher education budget, which would be one of the largest cuts any state has faced over the past 30 years. Only a handful have ever cut so deeply in a single biennium, even during the Great Recession.
    Full story

  • Jan 29, 2015

    What we know about the proposal to make the UW a public authority

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    The purpose of this blog entry, and subsequent entries from myself and others, is three-fold. First, to paint a picture of the emerging UW System public-private authority proposal. Second, to introduce questions and ideas based on evidence-based research and lessons learned from other higher education public-private authority efforts. And third, to provide a non-partisan, objective platform for the exchange of knowledge and information for interested parties, including decision-makers. We aim to help you better understand the complexities, questions, options, and decisions surrounding the proposal to create a UW System public authority.
    Full story

  • Jan 13, 2015

    More reflections on free community college

    by Kari Dickinson, WISCAPE Communications Manager
    We asked our affiliates to share what they thought about President Obama's plan to make community college tuition free. Robert Kelchen and Nicholas Hillman discussed the plans pros and cons in previous posts. In an email, Lauren Schudde, a postdoctoral research associate at Teachers College, Columbia University, expressed concern about the requirement that students maintain a 2.5 GPA, as her research has found that academic standards have a negative effect on student persistence:
    Full story

  • Jan 12, 2015

    America’s College Promise: prospects, concerns, and the need for more research

    by Nicholas Hillman, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Like public libraries, parks, and K-12 schools, community colleges could one day also be free. Well, “free” in the sense that students would not pay tuition to attend their local community college. This was the original vision of community colleges in the 1940s, reaffirmed in the 1970s, and it is the goal of President Obama’s America’s College Promise proposal.
    Full story

  • Jan 9, 2015

    Thoughts on President Obama’s “Free Community College” Proposal

    by Robert Kelchen, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Two weeks in advance of the State of the Union Address, President Obama unveiled a proposal for tuition-free community college that is getting a great deal of attention. The plan, which was influenced by a “Free Two-Year College Option” paper by Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall, calls for the federal government to fund three-fourths of the cost of tuition and fees while states fund the remainder. The student is then responsible for covering other costs that go along with college attendance, such as books and living expenses.
    Full story

  • Dec 19, 2014

    Disconnected Dots Part 2: Athletics and UW-Madison

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    I was wrong. The prediction I made in my December 12 blog post that UW Athletics would be given a free pass to select a new football coach without actively involving other campus leaders in their search did not come to pass. Athletic Director Barry Alvarez; Chancellor Blank, and other campus leaders; UW System leaders; the University Committee; and the Athletic Board, especially the board chair, Professor Covaleski, all followed campus and UW System search policies and procedures in the selection of the new coach. Also, when the Athletic Department decided it wanted to expedite the required posting time frame, Chancellor Blank was consulted and she granted a campus waiver.
    Full story

  • Dec 12, 2014

    Disconnected Dots Part 1: Athletics and UW-Madison

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    This past Wednesday, December 10, 2014, UW-Madison announced that the campus football coach, Gary Anderson, was leaving to take another coaching position. An announcement for his replacement was then posted on the NCAA website, but not on the UW-Madison website.
    Full story

  • Oct 28, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 3

    by Tola Ewers, Assistant Researcher and Lecturer, UW-Madison
    I recently attended “The Future of Wisconsin’s Public Regional Comprehensive Universities” forum. During the conversation, my comments regarding the affordability crisis were undoubtedly influenced by having just completed my own student journey as well as having focused my doctoral research on undergraduate student experiences.
    Full story

  • Oct 27, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 2

    by Rep. Joan Ballweg, Wisconsin State Assembly
    On Oct. 16, I attended WISCAPE’s forum on the future of Wisconsin’s four-year, comprehensive universities. Administrators, faculty, researchers, and students attended the day-long session, bringing their own unique experiences to share. As a state legislator, I appreciated being invited to the table for this conversation. Higher education has been a key policy issue for me since I came to the state legislature. It’s been a big issue at home too; my youngest graduated from UW-Madison last spring. For many years I had a close relationship with admissions, tuition, and degree completion.
    Full story

  • Oct 23, 2014

    Critical Reflections on Oct. 16 Forum on Comprehensive Universities - Part 1

    by Kevin Miller, Dual Enrollment Consultant, WI Department of Public Instruction
    The WISCAPE and UW Oshkosh forum was especially notable in that attendees were comfortable openly sharing thoughts and ideas. They were even willing to draw attention to some “sacred cows” such as athletics and facilities. Equally impressive was that no one challenged or tried to divert attention from these ideas and dialogues.
    Full story

  • Sep 18, 2014

    Federal stimulus funds under the ARRA did not protect state student financial aid, further eroding higher education affordability.

    by Jennifer Delaney, WISCAPE Affiliate
    Today greater effort is required for families to send a student to college in the U.S. than ever before. College is both more expensive and a larger burden for the average American family today than at any point in the previous four decades. In 1984, at public four-year colleges and universities, average tuition (the instructional price charged to students) was 5.5 percent of median family income and the average cost of attendance was16.4 percent of median family income. By 2011 these had increased to 15.4 percent and 33.5 percent, respectively. Between 1982-83 and 2012-13, tuition and fees at public four-year institutions increased by 357 percent. Institutions of higher education are also becoming more reliant on tuition dollars, compared to federal funding. In 1987, total educational revenues were $11,085 per full time equivalent (FTE) student, with tuition accounting for approximately 23 percent of the total. In 2012, total educational revenues were also $11,085, but tuition revenues accounted for approximately 47 percent of the total.
    Full story

  • Aug 7, 2014

    Reflections on the July 24th Special Committee on WTCS Funding and Governance meeting

    by Noel Radomski, WISCAPE Director and Associate Researcher
    It is a treat to attend a Wisconsin Legislative Council Study Committee meeting where legislators and members of the public engage in debate over key policy questions and ideas. On July 24th the first meeting of the Special Committee on the Review of Wisconsin Technical College System Funding and Governance (hereafter called the Special Committee) managed to attract a large audience that left no empty seats in the conference room… during the dog days of summer, no less. Before I highlight some of the many policy questions from this meeting, let me briefly explain the purpose of Wisconsin’s Legislative Council Special Committees.
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  • Jun 27, 2014

    Lower tuition? Why not free?

    by Maxwell Love, Vice President, United States Student Association
    Sara Goldrick-Rab and Nancy Kendall’s paper for the Lumina Ideas Summit, “Redefining College Affordability: Securing America’s Future with a Free Two-Year-College Option” (F2CO), outlines a plan that would address the root of the problem of college access and affordability in this country by making two years of college free for every student.
    Full story

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