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Media Memo: Update on Blugold Commitment proposal

TO: News/Assignment Editors and Directors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: Nov. 9, 2009

SUBJECT: Update on Blugold Commitment proposal

Earlier today UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich sent e-mails to members of the campus community, parents and other constituents updating them on the Blugold Commitment proposal.

Levin-Stankevich and student leaders will be available this afternoon to talk with the media about the Blugold Commitment proposal. You can call me at 715-836-4742 to make arrangements or you can go to the Alumni Room in Davies Center from 2-3 p.m. today.

The chancellor announced in September his intention to explore a differential tuition increase in the range of $1,000-$2,500 to enhance the quality of academic programs at UW-Eau Claire. Since then, students, faculty, staff, parents, alumni and others have offered suggestions, shared opinions and asked questions about the proposal. Elected student leaders have worked closely with Levin-Stankevich and other administrators to help ensure it would support the kinds of value-added experiences that students say they want most from their UW-Eau Claire education, as well as reforms to general education and degree requirements.

Today's e-mail messages from the chancellor included updates to the proposal that have resulted from those ongoing discussions. Details shared today include:

  • The proposal calls for an increase in differential tuition of $1,500, to be phased in over the next four years. The first increase would be $375 in the 2010-2011 academic year. Differential tuition is a separate category of tuition, above the tuition set annually by the UW System Board of Regents.
  • UW-Eau Claire would use the Blugold Commitment to hire up to 50 more faculty and staff.
  • That investment would expand the experiences that help students succeed as Blugold graduates, such as expanded global and intercultural immersion, collaborative research and internships. It also would enrich students' academic experiences through enhanced advising and more integrated graduation requirements.
  • A portion of the Blugold Commitment would be used to offset all or part of the differential tuition increases for some students. The financial assistance would help keep UW-Eau Claire affordable for low- and middle-income students.

The proposal will continue to evolve as discussions with the campus community continue in the weeks and months ahead.

The proposal will go before the Student Senate in December. If approved by students, it would then go to the UW System Board of Regents for consideration in February 2010.

Additional information is available at the Blugold Commitment Web site.

Chancellor quotes from the e-mail messages sent today

  • "We do not propose such a significant increase lightly. The experiences that students value most and that distinguish a UW-Eau Claire degree — international study, internships, capstone experiences and collaborative research with high-quality faculty — are also the experiences that will prepare them to be highly competitive graduates. In this economy we must make sure that all our students can take advantage of these high-impact experiences. Unfortunately, growing state disinvestment in higher education and continued calls to do more with less make it impossible for us to sustain or grow the experiences that make a UW-Eau Claire degree so valuable. The Blugold Commitment will enable us to invest in these practices and in the faculty and staff that will benefit students most. "
  • "I know that a tuition increase of this size may be difficult for some UW-Eau Claire families. While we will still be one of the best values in the Midwest, we will assure that low- and middle-income families have access to the high-quality Blugold degree by providing financial assistance that will cover all or part of the differential tuition increase."
  • "In the coming weeks we will continue to engage students and our campus in a discussion about this proposal. Once a final proposal is developed and approved by elected student leaders, we will take it forward to the UW System Board of Regents for consideration in February 2010. Our immediate task is to make sure that our students are fully informed and have an opportunity to help us continue to refine the proposal."

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