Mid-State students and leaders express concern about cuts - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Mid-State students and leaders express concern about education cuts

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Technical colleges stand to take a hit if Governor Walker's budget proposal goes through as it's written. Students at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids said they're concerned about how Wisconsin's funding changes will affect their education.

Students at Mid-State hit the books, preparing to enter Wisconsin's workforce. Some wonder why, when programs are in high demand, the state cuts back on funding.

"It's like sitting around waiting now another two weeks to see what bomb is going to drop," said Mid-State student Lisa Pionek. "Are we going to have classes next fall? Are we not? Are we going to have to look for a job and now try to pay through a loan and I don't even have a finished degree?"

Dan Clancy, the president of the Wisconsin Technical College system said, "the Governor's biennial budget proposal would put state funding for technical education at a dollar level not seen since the late 1980's, despite WTCS enrollments growth of 40% in the past decade."

"For Mid-State, that's going to reduce our state aid from fiscal year to fiscal year $1.3 million," said Mid-State Vice President of Finance Nelson Dahl.

Dahl said the school wants to keep all their current programs and services in place. 

"It is a real challenge for us to continue to provide those programs that we feel are absolutely essential for economic recovery," said Dahl.

Students said they remember President Obama encouraging students in the green energy program, one of the newer specialties at Mid-State.

"He was talking about the renewable energy programs and how much it was a positive and we need to keep following through with this," said Pionek. "And what now is our governor doing in cutting back?"

Mid-State leaders said after preliminary financial forecasting, tuition would probably increase about 4% or 5% next year, after increasing by about the same amount last year. But students said they're willing to pay the price for a chance to start a new life without tests and homework.

"It's scary," said Pionek. "It's exciting and I want to be a part out there to say, hey. I can do something out here."

School leaders said the governor's plan does keep a few things for students. Dahl said the state will maintain aid levels for higher education grants and GI bill benefits.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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