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Capitol Update: UW-Platteville a good investment
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Growing up on my family's farm in Spring Green, we learned the value of hard work and the importance of an education. Higher and vocational education is a critical component to the success of Wisconsin's economy and our communities in southwest Wisconsin. Unfortunately for many potential students and families, the costs of an education beyond high school are rising quickly and the job market for recent graduates can be inconsistent.

Recently we have seen some good statistics about the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, in my senate district. A recent survey of the average starting salaries of graduates from institutions in Wisconsin showed UW-Platteville ranked second highest in our state behind only the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE), where tuition is nearly five times the amount of UW-Platteville.

The average starting salary for a UW-Platteville graduate is $48,800. Among public institutions, UW-Madison follows at $46,400 with UW-Eau Claire starting at $44,700. UW-Platteville graduates still fare better than those from other private universities in Wisconsin; Viterbo ($47,400), Marquette ($46,300) and Marian ($45,800). This is pretty good news considering that those private schools cost at least two-times as much as UW-Platteville.

High starting salaries are an indicator that a university is focused on training students for high pay and in-demand job fields. UW-Platteville graduates are not only earning high salaries after graduating, but are also paying less in tuition, reducing the pressure on student and family budgets.

The combination at UW-Platteville of keeping student cost low while maximizing a student's earning potential is important because it results in graduates having a lower investment relative to earning potential, or a high return on investment (ROI). Another annual survey of colleges across the country ranked UW-Platteville first for ROI in Wisconsin. In this case, ROI takes into account a graduate's earnings potential and the low cost of earning a degree.

The ROI at UW-Platteville is nearly 1 percent more than the next institution, UW-La Crosse (9.3%). When compared to MSOE (7.2% ROI), UW-Platteville is four points higher in ROI than the only other private institution to make the list. The other UW schools hover around 7-8 percent ROI, which demonstrates UW-Platteville's affordability and effectiveness among its peers.

For more information and to connect with me, visit my website and do not hesitate to call 800-978-8008 if you have input, ideas or need assistance with any state-related matters.

2015-16 Blue Books

The 2015-16 Blue Books have arrived at the Capitol! If you would like one, please let me know, I would be happy to make sure you receive a blue book.

- Sen. Howard Marklein represents Wisconsin's 17th Senate District. His column is published Mondays in the Times.