UW-Stout wrong for changing tuition plan

Next year UW-Stout will become the first UW System school to charge its students on a per-credit basis. Stout is making the change from a plateau-based tuition method like the one used at UW-Eau Claire.

Whenever a change is made at one UW System school it often is considered whether other schools in the system should institute a similar change.

It’s hard to say how students at Stout will respond to the change, but it is in the best interests of the students here and the university itself to maintain the plateau system.

On the surface the per-credit system seems to make sense: You get what you pay for. But the plateau system has several benefits that aren’t obvious at first inspection.

With the plateau system, a student’s tuition is the same whether taking 12-to-18 credits in a given semester. Under Stout’s new plan, students will pay slightly more when taking 15 credits than they would have under the plateau system. Above 15 credits the student’s tuition increases; it decreases below 15.

When a per-credit system is used it discourages students from taking various classes outside of their major they might take if there was not an additional cost.

Also, if a student needs to take 18 credits one semester but can’t afford the extra cost under the per-credit system, he or she is left with no options.

The plateau system is the best way to charge students tuition. Not only does it allow students more freedom than the per-credit option, but it also encourages learning and trying new things – options that truly should be part of a university.

Finance Commission Director Nate Otto said last week that the Student Senate is traditionally opposed to the per-credit system. Hopefully UW-Eau Claire echoes that sentiment if the issue is ever proposed for Eau Claire.