Nerissa Nelson, librarian and professor at UW-Stevens Point, said it would usher in more future educators in the state. Past budget cuts, she said, have resulted in a staff shortage and reduced the number of services available to students.
“In 2017 and 2018, the financial situation at UW-Stevens Point was so bad that our campus almost eliminated 13 critical academic majors,” she recalled. “Fortunately, the elimination of these majors was reversed, but the cost was a reduction in our faculty and staff, and we are still feeling the effects of those cuts today.”
Referring to the fact that the average student debt in Wisconsin is $ 30,000, Shankland added that many students have been forced to postpone their study opportunities in order to save money. However, for every dollar spent on the UW system, the state receives a return on investment of $ 23 – a number it hopes to continue to grow with the new bill package.
Shelton spoke of the potential effect, sharing his experiences teaching throughout the system’s financial woes.
“As an educator, I can tell you that our working conditions are the learning conditions of our students,” he said. “I want my students to be able to leave college with less debt.”
Shelton added that the next challenge will gain broad support as the bill goes to committee for further consideration. If the legislature votes in favor, the governor will then decide whether to sign or veto the bills.