Willing To Pay The Slacker Tax

What? Me graduate? Perpetual UW-Whitewater student says no | Chicago Tribune

Lechner has had his story told in newspapers and network television shows, not to mention campus publications across the nation that have picked up stories from UW-Whitewater’s student newspaper, The Royal Purple.

By this spring he had completed 234 college credits, or about 100 more than needed to graduate, and was taking seven more.

That qualified him for the so-called “slacker tax,” instituted this school year by the UW Board of Regents to help cover the state subsidy for students who stay long past the usual four of five years to earn an undergraduate degree.

It calls for students who exceed 165 total credit hours or 30 more than their degree programs require — whichever is higher — to pay double tuition.

As a former 6th or 7th year senior, I have to admire Lechner’s perseverance. But I’m just a little curious about his financing, especially if he’s now paying the slacker tax.

When I was in school in Eugene all those years ago, there were a couple of perpetual students hanging around – we thought of them as pathetic losers who just wanted a cheap place to crash and do laundry. The names escape me know, but there were at least two on campus during my time in the late 70’s to mid 80’s.

One guy was a denizen of the men’s dorms on the north side of… Agate Street, I think. My friends Arne or Kevin *might* remember him, but the guy I’m thinking of hung around the dorm that faced right on Alder, and they were both “Tinglers.” This guy looked like he slept outside a lot – he was bearded, grizzled, and talked like an extra ranch hand in a B-grade horse opera. He was most famous for doing laundry (the dryers were free) by dumping other peoples’ clothes out on the floor, and for sleeping in the TV room, and for peeing in the corner of a hotel suite one weekend when a bunch of dorm people went on a ski trip. His most famous comment that weekend was “F$sk you and the horse you rode in on.” Somehow, he always obtained a valid key card and was considered a “student.”

The other guy was known to several of my friends as “the guy that hangs around the EMU (the student union).” He was understood to be a perpetual student with vague ties to the phys-ed/rec ed/Atari ed programs run out of the EMU recreational center. After hearing about him for a while, I actually took a bowling class with him, where he boasted quite openly about taking cornball classes just to keep his school funding coming in. And he really was a dab hand at Starship 1.

After some investigation, I find that even 30 years later, some things never change.

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