CONGRESS RENEWS FUNDING FOR HIGHER ED COST-CUTTING PROGRAM
WASHINGTON - The Congress has approved $800,000 for a model cost-cutting program at the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU), U.S. Rep. Tom Petri reports. The funding is included in the $388 billion spending bill which the Congress completed Saturday to keep the federal government funded for the 2005 fiscal year.
Petri, Vice Chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, has worked with other members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation over the years to provide the funding.
WAICU has developed a detailed plan for consolidating the administrative functions (such as purchasing, financial-aid administration, health and information technology) of its 20 member colleges and universities to substantially cut costs that could serve as a national model. The net savings for the colleges and universities and their students in Wisconsin is expected to exceed $17 million each year.
"The high cost of education is a growing concern for all of us," said Petri. "The WAICU collaboration project provides a real opportunity to lower costs by allowing schools to operate more efficiently. Importantly, this program serves as a model for colleges and universities across the country, so its benefits are spreading nationwide."
"Higher education is not a right reserved for the few, and it should never be priced out of reach from qualified students wanting to attend," said Rep. Ron Kind, Member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. "I'm very pleased to support the WAICU Collaboration Project and its efforts to control college costs and ensure the affordability of higher education."
"Finding new ways to control rising college costs is a critical priority," Rep. Mark Green said. "These funds will put the prospect of a university education within the grasp of more folks throughout Wisconsin, and help our state remain both a leader and innovator in the field of education."
"Any program that helps make college more affordable deserves our support. This is a good investment of federal funding that I'm pleased to work with our delegation to secure," Senator Herb Kohl said.