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February 03, 2005



As a recent UW-Madison grad and current UW-Madison graduate student I have witnessed the cost of good intentions regarding tuition subsidies.

The University never has any incentive to control costs on its own. Why should they when they can raise tuition then complain about the high cost of tuition to the legislature and congress. So far its worked. If you look behind the high nominal tuition rates you'll find that the actual amount students are actually paying has actually declined substantially in the past decade or so.

Also, the tuition subsidy here at UW-madison creates an incentive, as you point out, for lots of directionless but intelligent freshmen and sophmores to choose worthless majors in english or art history and the like rather than engineering and business or a hard science that has productive value to the state and the country.

Furthermore, the tuition subsidy for in state students tends to help those least in need. Kids from Madison's west side, Brookfield, Whitefish Bay, Bayside, Mequon, etc. whose parents attended the UW and are from middle to upper middle class backgrounds get the same break as the poor kids from Iowa County or Milwaukee. Though admittedly there are further subsidies in place for the low income kids especially minorities.

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