The Joint Finance Committee (JFC) held an executive session on Thursday, May 16, on the budget for the Wisconsin Technical College System, approving a historic $25 million increase in general aid for college operations. Prior to the vote, legislators from both parties pointed to the remarkable outcomes for graduates and employers that are produced by technical colleges across the state. Each college should be proud of their work to put student success first, the impact they have each day in their communities, and the fact that policymakers recognize the impressive return on investment state taxpayers receive from our colleges.
Joint Finance has taken votes on the following topics of interest to technical colleges:
The District Boards Association thanks both Governor Evers and the Joint Finance Committee for investing with confidence in Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
Yet to be decided is the fate of the Governor’s proposed changes to dual enrollment programs for high school students. The bill would eliminate the Start College Now program (tech colleges) and the Early College Credit program (UW and private colleges), replacing both with new “Dual Enrollment Programs.” The change would represent a step backwards, having the unintended effect of reducing opportunities available to high school students overall, and threatening the financial sustainability of dual enrollment at technical colleges specifically. The array of dual enrollment opportunities currently offered by technical colleges reach more than 48,000 students annually, providing over 190,000 college credits to high school students, with 85% of those credits offered tuition-free. The DBA has advocated that any proposed dual enrollment changes should be heard in the context of the standing committee process, where public testimony and additional background information can be carefully considered. JFC will take up this item on Thursday, May 23, when they vote on the LFB paper.
Please note that, in addition to the massive budget legislation, a number of stand-alone bills of interest to technical colleges are also being considered by the Legislature, including:
The DBA continues to work actively on behalf of improved transferability of courses and programs, with the overall goal of reducing credit loss for WTCS students who transfer into the UW System. For more information on these efforts, please contact Layla Merrifield.