||Schofield Hall 218|
||Eau Claire, WI 54702-4004|
UW-Eau Claire Offers
Quality Plus Affordability
MAILED: Nov. 17, 1999|
Wisconsin families who worry they won't be able to afford to send their children to college should pay close attention to the College Board's latest report on college costs.
According to the annual report, released earlier this fall, the majority of all students at four-year colleges and universities paid less than $4,000 this year for tuition and fees. In addition, financial aid was available to students at a record level more than $64 billion in total aid from federal, state and institutional sources.
The message is clear, according to several UW-Eau Claire officials. College is still affordable for most Americans, despite the attention given to "sticker prices" at expensive, private institutions whenever the topic of college costs is in the news.
In dollars and cents, tuition at UW System schools like UW-Eau Claire remains a bargain. At UW-Eau Claire and the other 4-year UW System comprehensive universities, tuition ranks 30th among 35 peer institutions.
"The recently passed state budget freezes undergraduate resident tuition for the 2000-01 academic year," says Andrew Soll, vice chancellor for business and student services. "In addition, about two-thirds of our undergraduates received some form of financial aid through grants, loans and/or work study.
"UW-Eau Claire is a tremendous higher education bargain because it offers so much value for the money," Soll says.
Current costs for fees plus room and board at UW-Eau Claire represent a smaller percentage of Per Capita Disposable Income than they did in 1972, according to Soll. The total cost of fees, room and board in 1972 was $1,443, which was 37 percent of $3,880, the Per Capita Disposable Income at the time. The total cost of fees, room and board in 1998 was $6,142, just 29 percent of $20,988, the Per Capita Disposable Income for 1998.
Last year more than $33 million in grant, loan or student employment was awarded to UW-Eau Claire students. This compares to over $28 million awarded to students in 1995-96, an 18 percent increase in available resources in a three-year period.
Investing in higher education makes good economic sense, both for individuals and for state and national governments, says financial aid director Kathy Sahlhoff. In 1997, college grads earned an average of $40,478 per year compared to an average of $22,895 for people with a high school diploma. This represents over $700,000 in increased earnings over a 40-year career.
"The investment extends to society," Sahlhoff says. A citizen with a college degree will pay significantly more in taxes during a lifetime than a person without a college degree. More important than financial gain, a more educated populace makes a stronger contribution to the cultural and democratic process and provides the supply of expertise and skills necessary for innovation and expansion of the economy.
The university's textbook rental system, its focus on student work opportunities and the service-learning degree requirement add to the value of a UW-Eau Claire education. "Employers are looking for students with work experience, not just high grade-point averages," Sahlhoff adds. "We believe our unique service-learning requirement is another aspect of UW-Eau Claire which contributes to our reputation for excellence."
Janice B. Wisner
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: Nov. 17, 1999