University of Wisconsin-River Falls Chancellor Maria Gallo testified in Madison today expressing support for a proposed change to a 30-year-old tuition reciprocity agreement with the state of Minnesota. Speaking before the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, Gallo spoke on the negative impact of the current outdated mechanism on UW-River Falls and spoke in favor of draft legislation that would allow all UW System campuses to better maximize this relationship between the two states.
“UW-River Falls and the other UW campuses that educate Minnesota students are not allowed to retain the difference in tuition that a Minnesota student pays,” Gallo said. “That revenue is deposited into the state’s General Fund with part returned to Minnesota and the rest used for purposes unrelated to higher education.”
According to 2020-21 data, UW-River Falls enrolled almost 46% of its students from Minnesota. Gallo expressed concern over the missed opportunities.
“We could have recovered over $3 million in earned revenue that could have been reinvested in high-quality programming for our students, meeting their demands and filling regional employer needs,” Gallo said.
Gallo also expressed her gratitude to Representative Shannon Zimmerman and Senator Rob Stafsholt. Zimmerman and Stafsholt are lead authors on the tuition reciprocity bills AB-714 and SB-717, demonstrating their awareness of the positive impact the change will have on education and economic development in the districts they represent.
“Employers in our region look to UWRF to help them fill their workforce and talent needs,” Gallo concluded. “We will be most effective if we are able to fully capitalize on and reinvest the revenue we raise through the Minnesota-Wisconsin tuition reciprocity arrangement.”
UW-River Falls enrolls an average of 6,000 students, attracting primarily Wisconsin and Minnesota students in a variety of fields that are valuable to the economic growth of Western Wisconsin.