UW-Milwaukee students are worried about the costs of college. Very worried.
A team of student journalists from a university reporting class was assigned to randomly ask UWM students what they think about Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cut for the UW System.
Many students told the student journalists they are already struggling to afford college, and several said they would transfer to other schools if the plan goes through. Only two students out of all of those approached randomly said they supported Walker’s proposal; one liked the two-year tuition freeze, and another said he likes the autonomy that the Walker proposed Public Authority could bring the System. A third student liked the two-year tuition freeze but not the proposed cuts.
But the rest of the students were opposed, sometimes vehemently so – and worried. Student after student, said he or she was already attending UWM because of cost concerns and that any increase in tuition down the road could force them to leave. One student doesn’t live on campus because she can’t afford it. Another transferred from Minnesota because Wisconsin schools were cheaper. One chose UWM over Marquette because of costs. Another is worried he’ll lose his TA-ship. And yet another student said his parents already mortgaged their house to send him to UWM.
Some students are worried that Walker’s proposal for a Public Authority could result in big tuition hikes in two years because it transfers authority for setting tuition from the elected Legislature to UW (tuition is frozen the next two years).
Others are concerned that the budget cuts, if approved by the Legislature (UWM’s portion might be $20 million the first year alone) would impact the quality of education they are paying for. One says he already can’t get in classes he needs because of past budget cuts and another said she’s already noticed declining supplies in art class.
Student journalists also interviewed a professor, former dean, Spanish writing center director, and Rec center employee. Those interviews are at the end. But sometimes student voices get left out of the debate. Here are their opinions:
Can’t Afford to Live on Campus
By Sarah DeGeorge
Samantha Collura, a senior pursuing a degree in education at UWM, said that students already pay a high enough price for school and did not want to see more of a burden shift to students from the state.
“The funding for higher education definitely needs to be there,” she said. Collura is also worried about how the news will affect future students. “I push my younger cousins to get ready to go to a university,” she said. “But now I’m not sure; maybe they would be better off going to just a two-year college.”
A Brown Deer native, Collura said she chose UWM because of its proximity and the cost compared to private schools in the area. But even the price of tuition now is a struggle. “I can’t even live on campus because the price is so high,” Collura said. “I feel bad for students that are coming from a faraway town who are forced to live here.”
For Collura, the UW cuts are not the only issue she has with Gov. Walker. “He’s not doing great things for teachers either,” she said.
Collura pointed out that another part of Walker’s budget proposal includes an alternate path for obtaining a teaching certification to those with real life experience. She felt the plan was unfair to people like her who put in the time to pursue education and will hurt the quality of education.
Despite her issues with the state of education in Wisconsin, Collura expects to be part of the 80 percent of UWM graduates who remain in the state to work. “I love Milwaukee,” she said. “I think it’s a great place.”
Parents Mortgaged House
By Jonathan Powell
Even as only a second semester freshman majoring in Accounting and Finance at UW-Milwaukee, George Bosovich has already seen his fair share of balancing finances. Between three jobs, a full schedule of classes, and applying to be a Resident Assistant, he supplements his income with help from his parents to stay enrolled in school. With Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed budget cut to the UW system looming, that may all change.
After remortgaging their house, Bosovich’s parents were able to secure a loan large enough to help put him through his first year, but with an estimated $20 million cut to impact UW-Milwaukee alone, there are no guarantees of continued programs, proper staffing, or necessary financial aid to support students without other financial means.
Bosovich has stayed active in keeping up with developments through various forms of news coverage, including attaining educational background on Walker himself.
Classes Have Fewer Supplies
By Hunter Hanthorn
After she noticed her classes starting to have fewer and fewer supplies in them, Molly Murphy, a student at UWM majoring in Art Education, is not in support of Gov. Scott Walker’s new budget proposal. She did not vote for Walker in his most recent election.
Murphy’s classes and programs are the reason she chose to attend college at UWM, and she doesn’t want to see them go.
Higher tuition, a possible huge effect that could happen in two years as a result of Walker’s proposed budget, is one thing Murphy can’t afford. “I’m going to be in debt for many years after I graduate,” said Murphy. “I can only hope that once I’m a working teacher, Scott Walker’s barrage of pay cuts and reduced benefits towards educators has come to an end.”
Might “Transfer Out”
By Emily Halas
Anthony Tieso, a Geography major at UW-Milwaukee, has already experienced part of Walker’s plans.
Tieso believes that the budget cuts hurt the students, but he thinks the university should change what it funds. He believes, for example, that the budget could be moved away from extracurricular activities and towards the different schools within UW-Milwaukee.
A way to keep funding within extracurricular activities would be by making fundraisers and saving the budget for professors and department-made programs.
As a geography student, Tieso has already experienced problems with low funding. He says that the department can’t hire new professors and is already short staffed. This caused a problem with his stay at UWM because it became harder for him to get the classes he needs to graduate.
“If I can’t get the classes I need next semester, I will most likely transfer out,” Tieso said.
Worried About Tuition Hikes
By Shannon Kirsch
After transferring to UW-Milwaukee after attending the University of Minnesota briefly, Sophomore Theater major Colleen Jaskulski isn’t very happy about Scott Walker’s budget proposal for the UW System and immediately calls it awful.
Jaskulski transferred from The University of Minnesota because UWM is cheaper. However, since Walker is proposing cutting $300 million from UWM’s budget, she believes UWM will have to make up the money by increasing tuition fees in 2017, which will be her senior year.
She says, “Jacking up costs, you’re going to destroy a really good school with a really good system.”
She’s also frustrated because she had a budget planned out for college, but Walker’s plan will change that entirely. Also, her brother is starting at UWM next year, and she fears it will put her family too far into debt.
Jaskulski also says that one of her peers has started a Facebook event page for a demonstration that’s going to take place Feb. 4 to protest the budget cut proposal and encourages others who feel the same way to join.
Marquette was Too Expensive
By Zach Mathe
As a freshman with the unique major of Nutritional Sciences, Jennifer Schmidt already knows she wants to work in a hospital as a dietitian. She also knows that her dream job will come at a cost if tuition prices increase because of Gov. Walker’s budget cuts on the UW System.
When she was choosing which college to go to, it was between UW-Milwaukee and Marquette University. Both schools offered her major, but UWM’s tuition was just more affordable.
Her parents helped her pay for high school when she was living in Racine, but now her undergraduate, graduate, and further education was up to her to pay for. “Getting student loans was hard enough. If it were any harder… I can’t imagine,” said Schmidt.
Although she likes the school, the teachers, and living in the dorms, the possibility of tuition increasing is upsetting to her.
Without the option to go to another school or move, Schmidt said she would just have to ride it out if it happened.
Digging into Savings Already
By Amanda Porter
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee freshmen, Rachel Yurchak, says, “That’s a lot of money, I’m surprised” of Gov. Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cut for the UW System. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee makes up 13 percent of the funding to the UW System, so UWM could be facing a loss of $20 million in revenue yearly if the Legislature passes Walker’s plan.
Yurchak learned of the pending budget cuts and thought of her family. “I have a brother and sister that go here… My family would be affected.”
Although Yurchak did not participate in the recent gubernatorial election, she feels the state’s education budget should not be cut.
Yurchak’s parents help her afford a higher education from savings, but if tuition continues to rise, “I may not be able to attend UWM in two years.”
With a current freeze on tuition, Yurchak and the rest of the UW System students are safe from tuition increases at least for the next two years.
Has Questions for Walker
By Shana Wilson
Walking across that stage, shaking with one hand and receiving a degree in the other, is a vision printed in our minds by countless television shows and movies. For UW-Milwaukee student Montraye Bullock, that vision will become reality during December of this year.
He has spent his years at UWM studying hard within his major of Psychology and minor in Information Science and Technology. With the goal of becoming a clinical psychologist one day, resources through the university have made his journey possible.
“I feel like Scott Walker doesn’t care about our education here in the city,” Bullock said. If given the chance to speak face-to-face with Walker, Bullock wants answers.
“Do you feel like when you cut financial aid for college students, is it worth other projects? Do you feel like all of this is just to benefit yourself?”
Would Transfer To Another State
By Gabrielle Barriere
Sophomore Pre-Med student Sarah Farkas chose to study at UWM for their research programs and hands-on field experience but would transfer schools if Scott Walker’s proposed budget is put forth.
After attending the Chancellor’s Plenary this afternoon, Farkas’ feelings towards Walker have not changed, only deepened. “I did not vote for Walker,” Farkas said. “And I wouldn’t in a million years, especially after this.”
Farkas works part time at Coldstone, but her 15 hours a week would not be enough to support her lifestyle. With the help of her family, she is able to live in an off-campus apartment and pay for school.
“I am blessed with a supportive family,” Farkas said. “but if tuition increases, money’s tight, and I want the best education possible.” She is hoping to study dermatology but would leave Wisconsin to ensure proper field training. Walker will be proposing his budget on Feb. 3.
Worried College Will Be For Rich Only
By Amber Bak
Currently a student at MATC, Evan Sears attended the plenary address speech last week held by UW-Milwaukee Chancellor Mark Mone. Sears is a former UWM student and still holds ties to the University because of funds he owes to the school, and he has friends who attend the University.
Sears has had a strong opinion on Gov. Scott Walker since the recall election. He is a supporter of Mary Burke. The budget cut might not directly affect Sears since he is at a new school, but it still worries him. “I still owe UWM money. Affording their tuition is already hard enough. It seems as if Scott Walker is making it nearly impossible for anyone in Wisconsin to go to school unless you have rich parents,” Sears said.
Supports Walker’s Proposal
By Kenan Goyette
Justin Putterman, a UWM senior kinesiology major, has heard a lot about Gov. Scott Walker’s budget cut proposal that will significantly affect the UW System and has researched the topic.
Compared to his other fellow students, Putterman feels as if he is more knowledgeable of the topic and can see the deeper effects that it will have on UWM and the UW System as a whole, saying that many people he has talked to see it only for its negatives.
Putterman cites the autonomy that individual universities will gain as a major benefit as well as the freeze in tuition fees. While he understands layoffs and cutting programs will hurt people, he believes the greater outcome will be beneficial.
“In times like this, changes have to be made and things have to be done,” said Putterman. “And in the end, the outcome should help move Wisconsin forward.”
Might Transfer to Tech School
By Mary Jo Contino
First-year nursing student Garrett Weiland-Hamilton has been growing up around teachers his whole life. His grandparents, aunts and uncles have all been part of the education system at some point in their lives. He believes his political views stemmed from them.
Weiland-Hamilton did not vote for Gov. Scott Walker in the last election. As a first year college student, he felt he couldn’t vote for someone who has affected his family’s careers in the past. He first found out about Walker’s proposed budget cuts over social media.
When he realized that this might mean a spike in tuition, Weiland-Hamilton was infuriated.
“The buzz over it was insane,” Weiland-Hamilton said. “When I think about how much I’m already spending to go to school, I can’t imagine having to spend any more.”
Weiland-Hamilton decided to go to UWM because of its nursing program and the vivacious city life. He has made a lot of friends here.
“I will have to figure something else out,” Weiland-Hamilton said about the unprecedented budget cuts. “I know it’s not finalized by any means, but if tuition goes up at all, I will either have to take out even more loans or transfer to a tech school.”
Already Works 30 Hours
By Molly Bryant
Kelsey Aliota is one of the many students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who is concerned about how Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cuts to the UW System will impact her.
Aliota is a fourth year student of the Environmental Sciences Program at UWM and finds the quality of her education very important. “I already have a few complaints about the quality of the education I am receiving, so I fear that these budget cuts are just going to make it worse,” Aliota said.
Another great concern for Aliota is the cost of tuition. She works 30 hours a week on top of school and an unpaid internship in order to make ends meet.
“I am in school right now with the full understanding that I am going to be in debt for quite some time once I graduate so right now I’m just trying to get by and not think about it,” Aliota said.
Campus Tour Guide
By Bo Bayerl
As a student and an employee of UW-Milwaukee, junior Breana Farrell is one of the many people who could potentially be affected by Scott Walker’s new budget proposal. She did not vote for Walker in the 2014 election. With this in mind, the potential budget cuts enhance her dislike for him.
While Farrell does not agree with the proposed $300 million being cut from the UW System over the next two years, she does think there should be cuts elsewhere outside education. As an Education major, the idea of taking large amounts of money from educational institutions is insane to her.
Farrell works at the Office of Undergraduate Admissions on campus as a tour guide. There, she fears that the budget cuts will decrease resources available for prospective students.
“I originally chose to attend UWM, because of the amount of diversity and opportunities offered here. With the budget cuts, prospective students will not be able to see these things like I did,” Farrell said.
Family Legacy at UWM
By Margaret Wuesthoff
Last December, David Salmon became the third generation from his family to earn a degree from UW-Milwaukee. With such a strong familial connection to his alma mater, it is no surprise that Salmon is frustrated with Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal to cut $300 million from the UW System’s budget.
Salmon studied conservation and environmental science, and philosophy at UWM, and will attend graduate school at UW-Madison for geography. He doesn’t believe that Walker’s plan to cut funds for higher education will serve the people of Wisconsin.
“It would be one thing if the schools were receiving huge sums of money and failing to graduate high-quality students, but UWM is graduating high-quality students, they have exceptional research programs, and is continuing to grow as a world-class university,” Salmon said.
The First-Year Student
By Mike Holloway
Eric Regal is a first- year student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Although he is new to this campus, Regal has already obtained an Associate’s Degree in Music Performance at the Milwaukee Area Technical College.
“I decided to continue my education at UWM because I want to become a music teacher, and you need a Bachelor’s degree to do so,” Regal says.
Regal’s desire to become a teacher has produced some negative opinions about Scott Walker’s proposed budget cuts for UW System. “Now that I’m spending all of this money to become a teacher, this happens,” Regal says.
Regal didn’t vote in the 2014 election but has regrets now that he has seen how Walker’s decision will affect him and many others. “I’m new to this campus and came from a technical college, so I don’t really have an idea of how things were being run before, but I have friends who have been going to UWM for a while and they’re not happy,” Regal says.
Regal is staying optimistic, as this year marks the first year he can get financial aid by using his own earnings instead of his parents, making it easier for him to afford attending UWM.
“It’s nice, but it’s still a lot of money I’ll have to pay back in the future. Hopefully, I can get some grants next semester,” Regal says.
Likes Tuition Freeze
By Justin Skubal
One part of the proposed plan included a freeze on tuition rates for the next two years, which was great news to Emmanuel Villagomez, a psychology major.
“An increase in tuition would require me to work more during school,” Villagomez said. “I don’t wanna graduate and owe a house in student loans.”
First to Attend College
By Jamaal Perry
While some students were in attendance at Chancellor Mark Mone’s plenary address, others watched online while the event was live streamed. UWM junior and political science Major Jose Rea watched online while having lunch in the union.
Rea was surprised by Gov. Walker’s budget cut proposal. Rea added that because the system has already faced major cuts in the past, this new cut would be a major problem for the UW schools.
Rea brought up the different perspectives and opinions about the budget cut, but ultimately feels it has no benefit for him. “I see this as an attack on education. Definitely this limits our ability as a higher institution to attract the top (notch) jobs of the future, and I believe this could shift the (way) Wisconsin goes economically and intellectually,” Rea said.
Rea is the first child from his family to attend a four-year college and making tuition affordable is important to him and his family. So Walker’s tuition freeze was one policy Rea was in support of from the governor.
“This is great for students and a great thing for parents as well who are trying to push their kids to college; tuition stays the same; they don’t have to worry about it fluctuating,” Rea said. But the budget cut along with the tuition freeze will be detrimental, according to Rea. Even though he mentioned scholarships and other ways he and other first time college students are paying for college, the reality of loans appears when they graduate.
The UW System’s budget shouldn’t be cut because it would harm job creation and the economy, Rea said.
By Dylan Deprey
Gabriel Andrews is working on his second year as a Masters student in the music program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
He is unsure what Governor Walker’s budget cuts will actually do for the university and better yet his future.
“The arts usually get the first cuts,” said Andrews. “They’re expensive to run.”
Andrews received most of the information on the $300 million budget cut from an email sent to all UWM students from Chancellor Mark A. Mone.
“I really only know what they sent in the email, that’s it,” said Andrews.
After coming to UWM on a first-year scholarship, he works as a teaching assistant for the Music Department to pay for his college education.
With the phrase “job cuts” floating around campus, Andrews wants to get more involved and research Gov. Walker’s proposed budget cuts. He’s concerned about his job as a teaching assistant and even how this could affect the rest of his college education.
Cuts to Women’s Resource Center?
By Rachel Maidl
The Women’s Resource Center may be facing severe cuts if Scott Walker’s proposed $300 million budget cut is passed. Briana Newkirk, an assistant at the Women’s Resource Center and student since 2011, is concerned for the future of the UW system and the problems the Women’s Resource Center may face.
According to Newkirk, the Women’s Resource Center may face cuts in their budget and staff if the proposal is approved. Newkirk said, “Scott Walker never went to college. Still we brought him back knowing education was not a priority.”
Newkirk is not worried about her job security at the Women’s Resource Center because she is moving to Washington before the UW System feels the effects of the budget cut, if it’s approved by the Legislature. She says that the cuts would make a difference in whether or not the Women’s Resource Center can hire new staff. When Newkirk considered graduate school, the potential budget cut played a factor in her decision to continue school outside of the UW System.
Passion for Education
By Krista Flentje
As a student teacher in her final semester at UWM, Rachel Ford attributes her left-winged political stance to her passion for education. She was appalled by Walker’s budget proposal for the UW System.
After growing up in a Republican family, Ford surprised herself when she came to college and started to feel a pull towards the Democratic Party.
After spending so much time in the classroom, she knows how important budgets are to a smooth running education system.
“This is exactly why I didn’t vote for Walker in the first place,” said Ford.
She fears for her future as a teacher in Milwaukee Public Schools but is thankful she will no longer be apart of the UW System if and when the cuts are implemented.
Ford’s biggest fear is that faculty will lose their jobs, and future college students won’t be allowed the same quality education she once was.
“We elected him into office; now we are suffering the consequences,” said Ford.
The Former Dean
By Nicole Beilke
Carol Colbeck has been a part of UWM since 2011. She is a former dean of UWM’s School of Education and is now a professor of higher education. She was surprised to see two juxtaposed headlines in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about Gov. Walker’s proposal to invest millions into the new Bucks arena next to his proposal to cut millions from the UW System’s budget.
“This is a major disinvestment in public higher education at the expense of future and current students and in favor of basketball,” Colbeck said.
She sees this disinvestment as a larger two-to-three decade trend and shift in the perception of higher education as a public good. She predicts there will be “national reverberation” if the proposed budget cuts are made.
By Tyler Nelson
“This is going to hurt everyone in Wisconsin,” said Michael Z. Newman, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies for UWM’s Department of Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies. “There will be less research done by UWM, and we won’t be able to offer what we have in the past.”
Although there is a promised tuition freeze until 2017, Newman is convinced that accessibility will go down and debt of current and future students will steadily rise.
The Rec Center Worker
By Daniel Zielinski
Dustin Maciejewski, an employee at UWM University Recreation, feels that the budget doesn’t need to be cut and is extremely displeased with the lack of support Walker has given education.
“We need to impeach the (expletive),” Maciejewski said. “He hasn’t done anything good for education and the young people of the state.”
As a part-time employee, he also fears that it will make it even harder for him to get a full-time job at UWM, and that he also won’t receive the proper training due to the Recreation’s budget possibly decreasing. In fact, he knows that if Walker’s budget goes through, it could possibly create layoffs, something he is extremely worried about and knows he could face.
Walker’s formal budget won’t be rolled out until Feb. 3, but people already fear that significant funds will be cut out from the universities. While, Walker supporters feel it will help the UW System be more effective and efficient.
By Ellie Malone
Connie Crotty is a middle-class college mom. She’s very involved in her daughter’s education, and not just financially. As a concerned mother, Crotty was less than thrilled about the $300 million budget cuts being imposed on her daughter’s school, The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
When Crotty went to school, she worked one part-time job and that was enough to pay off her loans. Students now are working part-time, getting help from parents and financial aid, and still racking up thousands of dollars in loan debt, a debt only projected to grow with the budget cuts.
Crotty did not vote in last year’s election for governor, but after the UW-System budget cut announcement, her choice would have been a little clearer.
“Walker has no pulse with the people,” said Crotty.
Spanish Writing Center Director
By Amanda Melkonian
Stellia Jordán has worked at UW-Milwaukee for over 20 years. She began as a full-time teacher but is now an undergraduate adviser and the director of the Spanish writing center while teaching part-time.
After hearing the budget proposal, Jordán immediately thought of her students and their struggles with tuition, saying, “I know there are a lot of students that already can’t afford it; what would this mean for them?”