"It's very anxious on campus:" UW System schools seek ways to buffer proposed budget cuts

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- The University of Wisconsin System campuses are searching for ways to plug the $300 million budget cut Governor Scott Walker has proposed. It could mean certain students will soon be paying more to go to college.

"It's very anxious on campus because we still want to know what the final amount of the cut is going to be. And not knowing that really makes it difficult to prepare for this," said Ryan Sorenson, UW-Milwaukee Student Body President.

Gov. Walker has proposed a $300 million cut over two years to the UW System. Walker proposes that tuition remains frozen for resident undergraduate students. But nine of the UW schools are looking to raise tuition on other students.

At the flagship campus in Madison, officials are proposing to raise non-resident undergraduate tuition nearly 40 percent by the 2018-19 school year. UW-Milwaukee is also looking to increase tuition -- but at a considerably lower amount. Resident students would not be impacted.

"For the non-resident students again, we decided to treat the undergraduates and graduates equally and we proposed a modest increase of two-and-a-half percent," said Marija Gajdardziska-Josifovska, Dean of the Graduate School.

For a non-resident undergrad, here's what that could look like. Right now, tuition is $17,820. With the increase, it could go up to $18,266 for this coming fall.

"We know that this will get us nowhere close to what we need for the proposed budget cuts. But we felt that we cannot do that on the back of the students," said Gajdardziska-Josifovska.

But some students feat that raising tuition on non-residents will encourage them to consider other schools instead.

"I know a lot of out-of-state students, you know, from Illinois or from Minnesota and Nebraska also. And they're concerned, you know, they're wondering whether or not they should transfer back to their home state because college is becoming less affordable," said Sorenson.

FOX6 News is told UW-Milwaukee is expecting about a $40 million cut. Raising non-resident tuition two-and-a-half percent will raise close to $2 million. So if this plan is approved, it's expected to be just one piece of the solution.