As the UW System Raises Tuition for the First Time in a Decade–Some Students Worry They Won’t Be Able to Afford It

Photo courtesy UW-Milwaukee

By Cherita Booker

April 6, 2023

For the first time since 2012, the price of in-state tuition at all UW system schools is going up. 

The UW System Board of Regents voted last week to raise tuition prices by an average of 4.9% (or $404) across all 13 universities and 26 campuses in Wisconsin. Room and board rates will increase too, by an average of 3.5%, resulting in an overall 4.2% (or $706) increase for all in-state students. 

Tuition rates for graduate and out-of-state undergrads will also go up. 

MORE: Answers to All Your UW Tuition Hike Questions

“It’s important that a UW education continues to be affordable, but as resident tuition rates have held for flat for the past 10 years, inflation has increased a cumulative 26%, and it’s time to use this operation lever,” said Scott Beightol, the chair of the UW Business and Finance Committee. 

The  Board of Regents argued that raising tuition and fees will benefit students, staff, and programs in the long run–but many current students disagree. 

“I depend on FAFSA to pay my tuition, and I already get the maximum amount,” explained Jaqueline Ruiz, a UW-Milwaukee junior.  “Between loans and grants, I still have to pay for my books out-of-pocket, and costs up to $400. I’m a full-time student and a single mom. This is going to be hard to afford.” 

A report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center found that fewer younger adults are enrolling in college today than they were just four years ago, and six in 10 Americans say that the financial burden of earning a degree has made college inaccessible. 

“I’m a first-generation college student, and I don’t receive any financial support from my friends or family,” said Dereck Gomez, a freshman at UW- Milwaukee. “I chose to go into my first semester unemployed, so that I could focus on my education, but that will probably change moving forward because of the tuition increase. I hope it doesn’t become a barrier for me.”

Students in UW’s commitment programs, like Bucky’s Tuition Promise, which provides free tuition for all Wisconsin residents whose household is at or below the state median ($65,000), will have their financial aid offers adjusted to accommodate these tuition hikes.  

The University of Wisconsin’s current (2022-23) tuition rates places the school 10th in the Big Ten for in-state costs and fourth for out-of-state costs.  


  • Cherita Booker

    Milwaukee native Cherita Booker attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and has worked in various roles as a multimedia journalist since 2017. She enjoys photography, dancing, and spending time with friends and family.

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