Differential tuition facts
Differential tuition (DT) is a student-approved fee that provides UW-Eau Claire with approximately $1,500,000 in annual funding to support enhanced student experiences at the baccalaureate level.
Initiated in 1996 by the Student Senate and approved by the Board of Regents, DT allows UW-Eau Claire students opportunities not typically available at a regional comprehensive university by providing supplemental funding for programs and activities that expand the university’s instructional mission. For 2009-10, full-time undergraduate students pay $81.50 per semester. Part-time undergraduate students pay a pro-rata share of the full-time charge, and graduate students do not pay differential tuition.
The provost works closely with members of the Student Senate Academic Affairs Commission to review actual expenditures for the current fiscal year and discuss planned funding levels by category for the next fiscal year. The provost and members of Academic Affairs make annual presentations to the commission and to the full Student Senate on how DT funding has made programs possible and to ensure continuous feedback in improving and maintaining differential tuition.
All departments/units within Academic Affairs are eligible to apply for DT funding. Student projects and programs are also eligible for funding when organized in conjunction with an Academic Affairs department or unit. DT funds are awarded annually on a competitive proposal basis. Funding in a previous fiscal year does not establish an entitlement to funding for the same or similar project in a subsequent year. DT awards not expended at the end of the fiscal year revert to the general tuition pool for reallocation in the subsequent fiscal year. Awards are not eligible for carryover.
Current categories receiving DT support, and the Student Senate approved awards for 2009-10 are as follows:
Faculty/student collaborative research: $539,003
DT funding contributes significantly to the success of UW-Eau Claire’s faculty and undergraduate student research collaboration. Grants are designed to facilitate the initiation and development of collaborative research projects between students and faculty or academic staff. Projects under this program provide students "hands-on" experience in the research process. Students and their faculty mentors present their results at the annual Student Research Day or at the annual UW System Symposium for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity. Last year, DT funded 165 projects involving 268 students.
First-Year Experience: $313,525
All new freshmen at UW Eau Claire have the opportunity to take a First-Year Experience (FYE) course, smaller sections of regular university courses that are open only to freshmen and are designed to help students in their transition to college. Goals of FYE include enhancing skills needed for academic success, strengthening students’ connection to the university, engaging students in meaningful academic and nonacademic out-of-class activities, and increasing students’ accountability for their education. DT funding makes these smaller sections possible. Approximately 85 percent of incoming freshman experience an FYE course.
Internships/practical experiences: $239,358
Funding received from DT provides quality services and programs such as employer outreach, student resume and job search assistance, resume referrals to employers, development of internships and other professional employment opportunities. Through internships, students learn about career options, explore experiential learning and network for future employment. Major-centered internships provide students direct field experiences — ranging from technical writing internships wherein English majors provide specialized technical writing skills for local businesses, to immersion clinical experiences wherein nursing students administer care to patients of diverse cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Capstone experiences: $173,484
Each student is required to complete a capstone experience, an individually designed comprehensive project that demonstrates mastery of the major discipline by drawing together theory, practice and policy, and explicitly relates to personal career or educational goals. Capstone projects may include faculty/student collaborative research, presentation of a department seminar, internship, field experiences, or other approved experiences. DT funding makes capstone courses and activities possible. The largest subcategory of capstone DT is funding for students to travel to local, regional, statewide, national or international professional conferences to present results of research or creative activity projects. Last year, DT provided funding for 174 students to travel for presentation of research results.
Service-learning promotes student learning and development through participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences. These experiences offer students opportunities to apply their education in service to the community, which enhances their appreciation, understanding and respect for others. DT funding supports the Center for Service-Learning, which assists students, faculty and staff members, and community project supervisors with designing and undertaking meaningful projects that afford both rich experiences for UW-Eau Claire students and substantial benefits for the community.
Innovative projects: $142,950
The innovative projects category provides short-term funding for new projects or programs that substantially contribute to university and student experiences. For the 2009-10 funding cycle, the projects and activities awarded funding are specifically designed to implement the goals of the university’s Centennial Plan.
The unallocated category serves as a budget mechanism to ensure adequate funding within the DT budget for fringe benefits associated with salary payments and any unexpected cost overruns.