Chancellor hopes to raise tuition, shorten graduation time

David Taintor

Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich announced today that he plans to increase differential tuition “significantly” over the next four years.

In his State of the University Address at the annual Blugold Breakfast at Zorn Arena, Levin-Stankevich said the increases would be gradual, but did not provide specific dollar amounts.

Revenue from the proposal, dubbed the “Blugold Commitment,” would mostly fund hiring more faculty members to reduce the student to faculty ratio, he said. The ratio is now 21:1. Last year it was 19:1.

An increased faculty to student ratio and increased class sizes are symptoms of the recession and a continuous downward trend in state funding, Levin-Stankevich said.

Attending UW-Eau Claire is a bargain compared to other UW schools and Midwest universities, Levin-Stankevich said, adding that high-quality education is “not sustainable at its current price.”

The Chancellor said he is committed to making sure an Eau Claire education “remains affordable for all students,” which will be made possible by encouraging students to graduate within four years.

Attending Eau Claire for four years at a higher tuition rate would still be cheaper than at the current tuition rate for five or more, he said.

He pointed out that 26 percent of Eau Claire students graduate in four years, while 32 percent and 50 percent of students do at UW-La Crosse and UW-Madison, respectively.

“Is a 26 percent four-year graduation rate really acceptable,” Levin-Stankevich said. “Is that the mark of a premier learning community?”

The Board of Regents will visit Oct. 15 to 16 for its monthly meeting, where Levin-Stankevich will present the Blugold Commitment plan.

Stay tuned to spectatornews.com for more updates and pick up the semester’s first issue of The Spectator on Thursday, Sept. 3, for more comprehensive coverage.