February 26, 2004
UW-Green Bay communications student Megan Habermann of Oregon City, Oregon, spoke for out-of-state students across the UW System when she testified at a recent meeting of the Board of Regents. She spoke directly and effectively as to the loss incurred by students, our campus and Wisconsin when non-resident tuition is raised beyond what the market will bear. Ms. Habermann represented UW-Green Bay well. We share the text of her remarks as follows:
Remarks to the Board of Regents
by Megan Habermann
UW-Green Bay communications student
February 6, 2004
The value of education should not be measured in dollar amounts, but by experience.
Good morning, I'm Megan Habermann, a senior at UW-Green Bay. As an out of state student, coming all the way from Portland, Oregon to go to school at UW-Green Bay, I have had so many great experiences as a student that I feel they would measure the length of the Great Wall of China. I took great care and time selecting my university, and I knew I wanted to go to an exceptional school out of my home state. When UWGB matched my criteria, I researched it and found that it would fit me best. I knew from all the literature and great conversations I'd had with UWGB's out-of-state recruiter that I would have the time of my life. I was so sure of this that I didn't even step foot in Wisconsin until freshmen orientation. Unfortunately, students like myself are becoming an endangered species on my campus, as well as other UW campuses.
The dramatic increase in out of state tuition over the past several years has made it less and less possible for out of state students to afford to go to school here, especially at UW comprehensives like Green Bay that don't have as much national name recognition as Madison. Since my freshmen year, my tuition has increased from $12,000 to $19,000-a difference so great that it would equal about an entire extra year of in-state tuition and housing. This would have enabled me to add a minor, take more courses, study abroad, or add another internship.
I am fortunate that I am still able to participate in campus organizations because of my family's financial situation, but even I have had to work more and play less. Other examples from my campus include Tom from Washington, who had to drop out of school to work and gain Wisconsin residency so that he could afford to finish his degree. Laura from California is only able to participate in one organization because she works nearly full-time to pay her tuition. Out of state students are valuable members of the campus community, and should not be penalized through unpredictable and disproportionate tuition and fee increases. Out of state students are much more likely to utilize campus health services, housing and other services whose reserves are being raided to cover the costs of financial aid increases.
UWGB's students are not the only ones affected by this: our non-resident recruiter was eliminated due to the budget cuts. Out of state students are a commodity; we contribute to our campuses in many ways, including helping to diversify the student body. We stay at school every weekend; we know our campuses inside and out. By continuing to increase non-resident tuition at such an incredible rate, the state will not only lose money for each campus, but it will deny all students a unique and valuable UW experience. Thank you.
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