Blugold Commitment

Background on the Blugold Commitment

Q: What is the Blugold Commitment?
A: The Blugold Commitment is a partnership of students, faculty and staff, and alumni and friends to preserve and enhance the distinctive UW-Eau Claire experience. It asks students to lead the way by investing in more of the high-impact educational experiences that prepare them to succeed when they graduate. It asks faculty and staff to commit to providing an integrated curriculum and more experiential learning. And it asks alumni and friends to commit to raising more scholarship funds to keep the UW-Eau Claire degree accessible and affordable for qualified students.

Q: Why is the Blugold Commitment necessary?
A: UW-Eau Claire can choose to continue to “do more with less” while slowly eroding the quality and availability of the unique educational experiences that have made a Blugold degree what it is today. The reality is that such experiences are time and resource intensive. The Blugold Commitment asks students to make a different choice. The choice to seize this opportunity to invest in the educational experiences they value most: collaborative research, global learning, domestic intercultural immersion, senior capstones and more. The choice to improve the student-to-faculty ratio to enable better advising, closer mentoring and a more personal educational experience. And the choice to invest in changes that will simplify and integrate general education and degree requirements so students can more efficiently progress to their degree.

Q: How much will the Blugold Commitment cost?
A: With the Blugold Commitment, differential tuition — a separate tuition over and above the tuition set annually by the UW System Board of Regents — would increase to $1,200, phased in over four years. For the 2010-11 academic year, the additional tuition would be $300 ($150 per semester); for 2011-12, $600 ($300 per semester); for 2012-13, $900 ($450 per semester); and for 2013-14, $1,200 ($600 per semester).

Q: What will students receive for their investment?
A: The Blugold Commitment will provide more of what students have said they want — more meaningful advising, more integrated and simplified general education and graduation requirements, more global and domestic intercultural immersion experiences, more opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty and staff through undergraduate research and capstone projects — in short, more of what prepares them best for their future, whether in graduate school, the workplace or as citizens of the global community.

Q: Will students have a say in how the money is used?
A: Absolutely. Students have already helped to make the Blugold Commitment stronger. Student leaders have worked with administration to develop the financial assistance component, create a completely revised differential tuition process and define what initiatives need investment. Students will continue to be involved in all aspects of the Blugold Commitment and have a voice in decisions on prioritization, evaluation and funding of the experiences students value most.

Q: Don’t students already pay differential tuition?
A: Yes. UW-Eau Claire students currently pay around $163 per year in differential tuition. That funding supports many of the types of high-impact experiences already mentioned but only for a limited number of students. The current funding is simply insufficient for sustaining a curriculum with integrated high-impact experiences for all UW-Eau Claire students. The Blugold Commitment infuses an additional $1,200 a year in differential tuition (at the end of the four-year phase-in) to take high-impact education to the next level.

Q: Why should today’s students pay for educational improvements of tomorrow?
A: The impact of the Blugold Commitment will be felt immediately. New global and domestic immersion experiences will be offered starting in the fall of 2010. More broadly, the value of a college degree is not stagnant; it changes over time. As each new class of graduates emerges from UW-Eau Claire, past degree holders inherit the prestige of the latest degree.

Q: What happens if students can’t afford the new tuition?

A: Even with the Blugold Commitment, UW-Eau Claire still will be one of the most affordable, high-quality public institutions of higher education in the Midwest. Nevertheless, to assure that UW-Eau Claire continues to maintain access for low- and middle-income families, up to 40 percent of the tuition increase will be used to provide grants for students with need.