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April 23, 2024 3:30 pm

Local News

Evers signs legislation approving funding for UW-Madison engineering building and other projects

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by Baylor Spears, Wisconsin Examiner
March 6, 2024

Gov. Tony Evers signed legislation Wednesday that approves funding for infrastructure projects at UW-Madison, including a high-priority engineering building project, as well as projects on  other UW campuses. He also signed two bills that make changes to Minnesota-Wisconsin tuition reciprocity. 

The legislation was passed by the Legislature in February as a part of an agreement reached between UW System leaders and Republican lawmakers. Under the deal, the UW System agreed to concessions on diversity, equity and inclusion, while lawmakers agreed to fund certain priorities.

“I’m glad to see this first step move forward today despite unnecessary delays largely driven by partisan politics, but much work remains,” Evers said in a statement. “I will continue to fight to make the substantial investments in higher education that we need across our state, and I remain hopeful members of the Legislature will decide to join me in this important work.”

2023 Wisconsin Act 102 transfers $423 million to the state’s capital improvement fund for several UW capital projects including $197 million for a new engineering building at the UW-Madison, $75 million to renovate two academic buildings at UW-Whitewater and $45 million for the demolition of unused facilities. 

UW-Madison Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin said in a statement reacting to the signing of the legislation that investment in infrastructure is “vitally important” for the institution. 

“The approval of a new building for UW—Madison’s College of Engineering is a tremendous step forward for our campus, allowing us to educate about 1,000 additional undergraduates in engineering at a time when Wisconsin employers urgently need more engineers, and expanding our engineering faculty’s ability to do innovative, life-changing research,” Mnookin said. 

Evers also signed two pieces of legislation, which are now 2023 Wisconsin Acts 103 and 104, that make changes to Wisconsin-Minnesota tuition reciprocity agreement, which allows Wisconsin residents to attend Minnesota public universities without paying out-of-state tuition rates, and vice versa. 

Wisconsin Act 104 will allow UW institutions to keep the revenue that is paid by Minnesota students in excess of the Wisconsin resident tuition rate. 

Under tuition reciprocity, students pay the higher of the tuition rates charged by the Wisconsin college attended or the tuition charged at a similar Minnesota school.  Previously, funds paid by Minnesota students in excess of the Wisconsin resident tuition rate were deposited in the state’s general fund. Under the new law, those funds will go to the UW institutions. 

Mnookin said the changes “will provide millions in needed tuition dollars to Universities of Wisconsin institutions, including ours, that had previously been deposited in the state’s general fund.” 

“This will have a significant impact for campuses, including UW-Madison and allow for more investment in educating the students we serve from both states,” Mnookin added. 

Wisconsin Act 103 allows the UW System, instead of the Higher Educational Aids Board, to enter and administer tuition reciprocity agreements with Minnesota.

This story is republished from the Wisconsin Examiner under a Creative Commons license. Read the original story.