Looking for ways to make college more affordable

File photo.

OSHKOSH - As a graduate student at UW Madison, Min Mai understands the struggles of student loans.

"it's definitely something I see, something that I experience. It's definitely something that still going on," she told FOX 11.

Mai took part in the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education, or WISCAPE, college affordability forum Thursday.

UW System President Ray Cross told us it's time the colleges stop simply looking to the legislature for more money.

"What we are saying is, 'we have some responsibilities. What are we doing about this?'" said Cross.

Leaders from across the country and the state university system, technical colleges, Department of Workforce Development and students came together to try to answer that question: how can the colleges keep costs down?

One large theme is trying to shorten the time it takes to get a degree. There are a lot of ideas.

"Some faculty teaching more courses and the right courses so students aren't on long waiting lists, offering more courses at different times of the day and they also talk about getting college courses to high school students," explained Noel Radonski, Director of WISCAPE.

Cross added schools need to think of ways to make costs of living at college less expensive, not just tuition.

"Make textbooks and access to the tools students need more inexpensive," he said.

Cross also addressed the two year UW System tuition freeze, signed by Governor Walker.

"That's a big item. We are considering that for two more years," he explained.

Mai told us high school educators need to help by preparing students to choose the right college and loans for their price range.

"Teaching them how to look for an affordable school," she explained.

Mai also said it's not just up to educators.

"It's also up to the students to really self-advocate for their rights," she told us.