Universities AND Colleges
For most of the past 100 years Wisconsin spent more money on its universities than on prisons. Now, under Scott Walker, the Department of Corrections has the biggest budget of any agency.
There are two reasons for this. First, we are not spending enough on education. As a result, students are saddled with too much debt, schools cannot offer enough courses to meet the demand during the freshman year, and quality faculty leave the state. Second, at an enormous cost, we are imprisoning individuals who could have been safely released long ago, and we are incarcerating nonviolent people who need more help and less punishment. Wisconsin should be known for its quality higher education not -- as is the case now -- for a criminal justice and corrections system with some of the worst racial disparities in the nation.
The funds for improving higher education will principally come from reductions in the Corrections budget – cuts which will eventually total over $100 million. Shifting investment to higher education will mean:
- Lower tuition
- Loan repayment support for students who remain in Wisconsin
- Restoration of tenure
- Improved faculty and staff pay scale competitive with other Midwestern schools
- More freshman classes so students do not have to enroll beyond eight semesters for a bachelor’s degree