Tuesday Trends sample: Tuition rising, green jobs mixed and Madison biotech project falling

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RISING

Tuition: UW System students will again pony up more to cover their tuition after regents approve a 5.5 percent hike. That’s the fifth year in a row that tuition has gone up 5.5 percent at the system’s four-year campuses and will push tuition to an average of $6,543 a year at those institutions — an increase of $381. At the system’s flagship campus, tuition will rise $659 for Madison students to $8,592 once a tuition surcharge is factored in. The 5.5 percent increase also applies to the two-year UW Colleges, which had not seen a tuition hike in the previous four years. With the system losing $125 million in state funding each of the next two years, the hike will cover about a third of that lost money.

MIXED

Green jobs: A new national report ranks Wisconsin 13th in the country in providing jobs in the clean energy sector, and its two largest metro areas rank in the top 50 nationally. But the job growth numbers aren’t so strong. The study from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program attributes nearly 77,000 Wisconsin jobs to the green economy, or about 2.7 percent of all state jobs — ranking 8th nationally. In addition, the state ranks 11th in amount of exports per green job. Between 2003 and 2010, however, the state added 3,765 jobs in the sector — ranking 37th in the country — and grew by just 0.7 percent, ranking 49th among the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The Milwaukee metro area ranks 40th on the top 100 cities recognized by Brookings, but the report notes the area actually lost green jobs between 2003 and 2010. The Madison area ranked 43rd nationally; its green sector grew by 3,122 jobs over that span.

FALLING

Madison biotech project: A proposed biological and agricultural research center in Madison is in serious jeopardy following reports that the nonprofit Madison Development Corp. is have difficulty raising money for the Midwest BioLink Commercialization and Business Center. The group must provide funding for a more than $1.5 million shortfall in construction costs or it could lose a $4.5 million federal grant. With a total price tag for the facility pegged at more than $8 million, loss of that grant would likely end the project. The president of MDC says the group may have some prospects, but that probably won’t include further investment from the city of Madison, which has already donated land and millions in additional aid. The BioLink facility was aimed at building a BioAg Gateway industrial park, also set to include a business park, the Wisconsin Ag Discovery Center and the Wisconsin Ag Showcase, and officials warn losing the project would hurt Wisconsin’s foothold in the growing ag research sector.