A new Legislative Fiscal Bureau report shows the University of Wisconsin System will finish the current fiscal year with nearly $650 million sitting in reserve, including $414.1 million in surplus tuition dollars.
The bureau released a memo Friday saying the tuition surplus was $212.8 million as of mid-2009. Base tuition across the system's four-year schools has gone up 5.5 percent annually since then.
Republican legislative leaders issued a statement blasting system administrators. They questioned how the system could justify raising tuition over the last few years in light of the surplus and vowed to include a two-year freeze on tuition in the 2013-15 state budget.
A system spokesman didn't immediately return a message.
Governor Scott Walker released a statement about the UW System surplus:
"It is very concerning to learn the UW System has been running a surplus balance of this size, especially at a time when students, families, and lawmakers have continually heard from the UW System about the need for more money to offset 'devastating cuts.' At a minimum, on behalf of students and their families, I am asking legislative leaders to freeze tuition increases for two years for the entire UW System during their deliberations on the budget.
Together with the Legislature, we will ensure a thorough review of UW System finances and increased transparency and accountability for students, their families, and taxpayers moving forward."