Photo of UW-Platteville meeting room; UW-Platteville hosted the Board of Regents April 4-5, 2024, meeting. (Photo by Andy McNeill/UW-Platteville)

UW-Platteville hosted the Board of Regents meeting April 4-5, 2024. (Photo by Andy McNeill/UW-Platteville)

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. – The Universities of Wisconsin Board of Regents voted today to approve a 3.75 percent increase in tuition for resident undergraduates during the 2024–25 academic year, a rate similar to recent inflation.

The new tuition rates increase tuition for the second straight year after 10 years of a tuition freeze.

The total proposed average cost of attendance for resident undergraduates will increase approximately 3.8 percent when room and board costs are considered.

The approved proposal also provides for increases to graduate tuition and nonresident undergraduate tuition. These rate increases vary by university, but in every instance, the dollar amount of these increases charged to nonresidents is equal to or greater than the amount assessed to Wisconsin resident students.

UWs President Jay Rothman announced last week that he has asked for an updated affordability review that will be available this fall. The 2022 review found that compared to peers, Wisconsin’s public universities were the most affordable in the Midwest.

“Our universities are facing challenging economic realities, and students and parents should know that we plan to be good financial stewards,” Rothman said. “Maintaining our affordability advantage, especially compared to our peers, is a priority because we want more students to get access to the unlimited opportunities our universities provide.”

Segregated fees will increase on average $74 per year. Seven universities are proposing an increase on top of the 3.75 percent to fund specific needs such as academic advising, financial aid, and faculty hiring in high-demand programs.

In addition to the base tuition adjustment, most of the universities propose an increase to program-specific tuition in one or more fields of study. This revenue helps to offset the expenses of certain high-cost programs, maintain their high quality, and expand their capacity to graduate more students into these high-demand fields to help meet Wisconsin’s workforce needs.

Rothman said the tuition and fees are being announced now so that students and parents have adequate time to plan. He also encouraged students to file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to see if they are eligible for financial aid.

Regent Ashok Rai, chair of the Business & Finance Committee that recommended approval of the proposed new tuition and fees rates earlier in the day, reported that the committee believes this is a reasonable and responsible proposal.

“It is important to all of us that a UW education continues to be affordable, and by no means does this proposal place the entire burden for any fiscal challenges on the backs of our students,” Rai said. “As we all know, the universities have and will continue to aggressively control the expense side of their operations as they eliminate any structural deficits and position themselves for the long-term to be as strong and resilient financially as they always have been academically.”

Rai said that the 3.8% average increase in cost of attendance for resident students is in line with recent levels of inflation, which continue to reduce purchasing power at the universities for goods and services necessary to meet the needs of students.

He further noted that in addition to those increased costs, the pay plan enacted in the state budget adds additional expenses to the universities. While these compensation adjustments are laudable and necessary to recruit and retain the high-quality faculty and staff who serve students, the state provides funding for only 70% of that cost, exerting additional financial pressure on campus budgets at a time when the institutions’ tuition balances continue to decrease, as they will even with this additional revenue.

Regent Kyle Weatherly urged the Board to also consider additional costs that students face – such as campus technology charges – that are not under the purview of the Board but are part of the cost of attendance.

Host campus presentation: “Pioneers Forward Together”

Photo of UW-Platteville Chancellor Tammy Evetovich.  (Photo by Andy McNeill/UW-Platteville)

UW-Platteville Chancellor Tammy Evetovich welcomes the Board of Regents. (Photo by Andy McNeill/UW-Platteville)

Underscoring UW-Platteville’s 150-plus year history as an educational leader in Southwest Wisconsin, Chancellor Tammy Evetovich reiterated the university’s role in enriching the region, while providing a critical access point to education for generations of families.

What it means to be a regional comprehensive university in a rural area can be hard to define, she said. “We occupy a unique space in the middle. We are a teaching-focused, broad-access institution that places value on student support, very strong career outcomes, and a solid foundation in the liberal arts. Defining our identity, as a regional comprehensive university, can sometimes be challenging because we mean different things to different people. We adapt to our students’ needs. We meet them where they are.

We pride ourselves on helping our students find their place.”

To provide insight into the diverse experiences that shape the educational journey at UW-Platteville, Chancellor Evetovich invited several students and alumni to share their individual stories – from enrollment through graduation, and beyond – all highlighting how UW-Platteville’s focus on access, support, and fostering of high-impact, meaningful opportunities for engagement, have led them to success.

Chancellor Evetovich reaffirmed the university’s commitment to being responsive to new students’ needs as they arise, adapting to the changing workforce needs, keeping costs low for students, and ensuring a high return on their investment into the future.

Regent President’s Report

In her regular report to the Board, Regent President Karen Walsh told Regents the latest Regents Business Partnership Awards had been presented last month to UW-Stout and Phillips-Medisize.

Founded 60 years ago in Phillips, Wis., Phillips-Medisize has become a global leader in the design, engineering, and manufacturing of pharmaceutical drug delivery. It has partnered with UW-Stout across many disciplines and in many ways, from collaborating with faculty on curriculum development to being a member of Stout’s Career Services Partnership Program.

Over the last decade, Phillips-Medisize has hired 66 Stout students as interns, and over the past 20 years has hired more than 120 Stout graduates as full-time employees.

Walsh then congratulated several UW athletics programs for their recent successes in national competitions. She noted that the UW-River Falls women’s hockey team claimed its first-ever Division III national championship, as it closed its 25th anniversary season undefeated. She also congratulated the UW-Madison women’s hockey team for finishing second overall, as it sought to defend its national title.

In other sports, the UW Oshkosh women’s gymnastics team won the Division III national gymnastics title for the third straight year – with UW-Whitewater and UW-La Crosse taking second and third, and UW-Stout placing fifth. Finally, turning to indoor track & field, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) completely ruled the day at the men’s Division III national championships. UW-La Crosse claimed its second straight national title, followed by UW-Eau Claire, UW Oshkosh, and UW-Whitewater for a WIAC sweep.

Walsh closed by offering early congratulations to the approximately 23,000 students who will receive diplomas from the Universities of Wisconsin in coming weeks.

“It’s a recognition of tremendous dedication and hard work, and our graduates – and their families – should be very proud,” she said. “I know we are.”

Universities of Wisconsin President’s Report

President Rothman opened his report by telling Regents that the Universities of Wisconsin have just launched a new and more student-focused website at

“This is one piece of our ongoing advocacy and awareness campaign – which you’ll be seeing and hearing about more in the coming weeks and months – to highlight the Universities of Wisconsin, each with their unique and diverse programs and opportunities, but also united by shared values of excellence and service,” he said. “We think this is brand equity we can and should be building in the state.”

Turning to student enrollment initiatives, Rothman pointed to the Dual Enrollment Taskforce report earlier in the day and the Direct Admissions program scheduled to start this summer, as well as The Wisconsin Guarantee announced last month.

“All of these initiatives are consistent with our strategic plan goals of increasing enrollment and the participation rate in Wisconsin so that we are positioned to graduate the workforce needed by our state,” Rothman said.

Under the umbrella of supporting student success, Rothman highlighted several initiatives. The Student Success Retention Plan will use data to identify the root causes of retention and graduation gaps for historically underserved students, and then use the data to work with universities to develop campus-specific action plans.

He also noted the new report on the Student Behavioral Health Initiative, which provides an overview of its first five years. “It is clear that universities need sustainable investment in the foundation campus services that students increasingly rely on,” Rothman said.

Rothman told Regents that the UWs have recently signed an MOU with Lawyers for Learners to bring free legal help and services to students at all 13 UW universities. The service is supported by Ascendium Education Group, based in Madison, and a network of Wisconsin legal aid organizations.

“Legal issues can impede students’ ability to attend or succeed at school or obtain employment,” he said. “Offering this resource to our students has the potential to positively impact student success, retention, and completion.”

In the context of serving students, Rothman said the recent decision to close the UW-Milwaukee at Waukesha branch campus “is not something we want to do, but rather it is something we must do.” He told Regents that the changes being made – including working with Waukesha County Technical College to maintain access for students – are intended to ensure future students continue to have quality higher education opportunities in Wisconsin while also ensuring long-term success for UW-Milwaukee.

Finally, noting that a priority identified in the strategic plan is to ensure the Universities of Wisconsin remain competitive with their peers, Rothman said the UWs are seeking approval of pay plan adjustments for chancellors in alignment with the adjustments received earlier by faculty and staff.

Rothman said another area where the UWs can and should take significant action is to offer paid parental leave for all UW employees. “This is a positive step to ensure the UWs remain competitive because retaining talent is critical and much preferable to entering the market to attract new talent,” he said.

Education Committee

The Education Committee voted to approved to continue the UWs’ test-optional admissions process in Regent Policy 7-3, “UW System Freshman Admissions Policy.”

Since initially implemented in 1989, the required use of test scores in admission had not been substantively modified until the COVID-19 crisis in early 2020. At that time, the Board approved suspending the ACT/SAT requirements on a temporary basis initially in response to the inability of applicants to take the ACT or SAT and submit scores during the crisis. The suspension was expanded to include UW-Madison in July of 2020, further extended to include 2022-23 applicants, and extended again through 2024-25 to allow time to research and understand the impact of the suspension for Universities of Wisconsin and within the national context.

With the benefit of this initial research, the Board now approved all UW universities, including UW-Madison, to continue to use test optional admissions through Summer 2027. Students will continue to be evaluated based on other required application materials submitted as required by Regent Policy 7-3.

In other business, the Education Committee:

  • Approved UW-Madison’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Dairy and Food Animal Management. The program will replace the existing B.S. in Dairy Science, featuring a change in name and curriculum that responds to the career intentions and outcomes of undergraduate students, many of whom go on to the management of animal agriculture-related businesses. The program will continue the university’s long-standing investment in training future leaders in the dairy industry, as well as attract students interested in other industries involving food animals, such as meat science, animal genetics and nutrition, and other animal production enterprises;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for a Master of Science in Connected Systems Engineering. The proposed interdisciplinary program is designed to attract students from two audiences: 1) current students completing a bachelor’s degree in engineering at UW-Milwaukee; and 2) engineering professionals in Wisconsin who previously earned at least a bachelor’s degree in engineering or related field and who seek to reskill or upskill to gain key knowledge necessary for current and future careers in the manufacturing and service industries. The curriculum builds upon the Manufacturing Innovation Program, and it will equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary for careers in systems engineering, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning;
  • Approved UW-Stout’s request for a Master of Professional Studies (M.P.S.) in Design, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability. This will be a fully online Customized Instruction (CI) program focusing on sustainability. Demand continues to grow for graduates equipped with the skills to innovate and lead as evidenced by “green skills” jobs growing at a rate of 8%. This degree will help employers in a variety of industries meet the burgeoning demand for leaders who can help their companies implement and improve sustainable business performance;
  • Approved UW-Stout’s request for a Bachelor of Science in Physics, a Bachelor of Science in Biology, and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. UW-Stout will establish a B.S. in Physics program as part of the elevation of the three science concentrations in the B.S. in Applied Science program into individual majors, the: Applied Physics, Biology, and Industrial Chemistry. The proposed majors are in response to recommendations from the University’s Planning and Review Committee. While there is currently high enrollment for these concentrations, the B.S. in Applied Science major is not readily recognized by employers, which may create barriers for students in their employment pursuit;
  • Approved UW-Stout’s request for a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Illustration. This is a new, distinct area of growth for the university, taking advantage of existing course offerings in the School of Art & Design, with additional coursework to add disciplinary specialization as required by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD) accreditation board. Student demand is also evident, with regional statistics on degree completions in Illustration showing a growth of 25%–137% in recent years at competitor institutions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Michigan;
  • Heard a presentation by UW-Platteville: “For All Our Students.” Led by interim Provost Wayne Webber, the presentation showed how the university creates access to high-impact practices across the curriculum and its commitment to student success. This approach serves students of all backgrounds and disciplines, so they can: 1) reap the benefits of a college education; and 2) successfully add to the state of Wisconsin’s economic engine upon their graduation;
  • Heard a five-year update on the Student Behavioral Health Initiative: Progress and Opportunity, including the status of present efforts, and what is needed for a sustainable future to support the mental health and well-being of university communities;
  • Heard an overview of the Dual Enrollment Taskforce Report: Taskforce Report and Recommendations. The task force was convened to provide recommendations as to how best to advance the dual enrollment enterprise across the UWs, with goals of: 1) expanding access to higher education; 2) increasing participation rates among Wisconsin students, especially underrepresented groups; and 3) increasing the number of students who take a UW dual enrollment course and subsequently matriculate at a UW university. The task force’s final report will be shared at a future meeting.

Business & Finance Committee

The Chief Human Resource Officers for both UW Administration and UW-Madison presented draft policies on paid parental leave for UW employees, which under Regent policy are required to be reviewed by the Board prior to implementation.

The policies would provide six weeks of paid parental leave within a 12-month period for the birth or adoption of a child, which is a benefit similar to that provided by many peer institutions with whom UW campuses compete for employees. These policies will be released to governance groups for their comments and questions, with an anticipated implementation date of July 1, 2024.

In other business, the Business & Finance Committee:

  • Approved the 2024-25 tuition and fees proposals for the Universities of Wisconsin, which was later acted on by the full Board;
  • Heard a presentation from UW-Platteville Vice Chancellor Chris Patton providing an update on steps taken to address the university’s structural deficit, as well as efforts to implement the cultural transformation and budget practices necessary to secure the institution’s long-term financial health;
  • Approved an agreement on behalf of UW-Stevens Point with Shorelight LLC, which provides services in support of the university’s efforts to increase international student enrollment. UWSP is the eighth campus in recent months to adopt this approach under a new Master Services Agreement, and is one of seven working with Shorelight;
  • Approved an agreement with Compass Group USA for all dining services operations at UW-Whitewater. Under the terms of the agreement, UW-Whitewater will receive an estimated $3 million in commission guarantees over the life of the 7-year contract. In addition, the vendor will invest over $3.8 million to support dining program improvements and facility upgrades;
  • Heard a mid-year report on gifts, grants, and contracts awarded to all universities for the first six months of this fiscal year. Total awards through last December were approximately $1.1 billion; this is a decrease of $63 million (or 5.3%) from the same period of the prior year, and is largely attributed to differences in both federal and non-federal research awards on aggregate;
  • Received the Q4 report from the UW Office of Trust Funds. As of December 31, assets in the SWIB-managed portfolios totaled $595 million. For the quarter, the Long Term Fund increased in value 7.35%, performing in line with its benchmark, while the Income Cash Fund gained 1.36% for the period. In the Intermediate Term Fund, assets totaled $681 million after gains of 5.8% for that quarter, also performing comparably to its benchmark.

Capital Planning and Budget Committee

Host campus UW-Platteville presented “Pioneer Blueprint: A Vision to Support Collaboration for the Pioneers of Today and Tomorrow.” The presentation shared how its built environment is supporting current curricular and workforce needs while leveraging collaborative partnerships with neighboring Universities of Wisconsin institutions and industry partners. The presentation also highlighted how the campus’ master plan will respond to workforce needs and support statewide centers of excellence to build a stronger Wisconsin and tri-state economy.

In other business, the Capital Planning & Budget Committee:

  • Approved UW-Stevens Point’s request for authority for the Friends of Schmeeckle Reserve to construct a storage garage on Schmeeckle Reserve and allow UW-Stevens Point to accept the gift-in-kind of the completed structure at an estimate value of $60,000. The building will be used primarily for vehicle, equipment, and tool storage;
  • Approved UW-Milwaukee’s request for authority to sell a 0.22-acre parcel of land within improvements located at 2600 East Kenwood Boulevard, Milwaukee. The parcel includes a three-story, 17-unit, apartment style, student housing building and underground parking garage. The cost to renovate the building with a limited remaining useful life is not economically feasible. In addition, UW-Milwaukee can meet housing demand with existing residential housing facilities;
  • Approved UW System’s request for authority to construct various all agency maintenance and repair projects at an estimated total cost of $14,228,800 ($1,824,400 General Fund Supported Borrowing; $4,067,400 Segregated Revenue; $6,571,800 Program Revenue Supported Borrowing; and $1,765,200 Cash):
    • At UW-Milwaukee, two projects are slated for repair and renovation. The Klotsche Center Arena Bleacher Replacement will receive new wall-attached telescopic bleachers on the West and East walls and new portable bleacher banks to the North and South ends of the fieldhouse. Second, the Concrete Box Conduit & Utility Pit Replacement will replace approximately 350 LF of steam box conduit from the utility tunnel to Merrill Hall and 200 LF of steam box conduit from the utility tunnel to Norris Hall;
    • At UW-Stevens Point, two projects were requested for approval: the Trainer Natural Resources Cooling Tower No. 4 Renovation project, which needs a budget increase to match recent bid results; and the Dreyfus University Center Laird Room Renovation. Demands to increase revenue and to serve as common gathering place for the campus community logically led to the proposal to renovate the largest ballroom in the Dreyfus University Center;
    • At UW-Stout, the Central Heating Plant Chimney Repair project will repair the central heating plant chimney and appurtenances. The project will also demolish and rebuild the top 35-vertical feet of the stack and rebuilt to a height of 200-vertical feet (VF). The new stainless-steel stack will facilitate continuous central plant operation while the repair work is completed on the main masonry stack;
    • At UW-Madison, the Lakeshore Path Limnology Bypass project will improve the Lakeshore bicycle path around the Hasler Laboratory of Limnology. The Hasler Limnology building’s location along the route creates a bottleneck that results in traffic hazards and conflicts with pedestrians and loading and service traffic that limit the efficacy and safety of the route for bicyclists. This project creates a dedicated bicycle path around the south side of the Laboratory of Limnology;
    • At UW-Whitewater, the Steam & Condensate Utility Replacement project replaces approximately 1,000 LF of steam box conduit from Pit 1A to Pit 3 with new direct buried steam and pumped condensate conduits. This project is required to assure the adequacy of the steam supply throughout the campus for area heating and production of domestic hot water;
  • Reviewed UW System’s request for an amendment to Regent Policy Document 19-5, “Delegation of Authority to Remove Unneeded Structures,” to modify policy provisions to define the UW-Managed process as the second option for removing structures. The revision is made necessary by the implementation of the capital project management authority provided to the Board under 2015 Wisconsin Act 55. This authority allowed the Board to solely manage and oversee capital projects entirely funded through gifts and grants. This item will be brought back for a vote later in the year;
  • Heard a report from Senior Associate Vice President Alex Roe.

Audit Committee

Chief Audit Executive Lori Stortz offered Regents in the Audit Committee an overview of the Institute of Internal Auditors’ (IIA) new Global Internal Audit Standards (Standards), and more specifically the enhanced role of the board in the new Standards.

Stortz said the Standards begin with the purpose of internal auditing: “Internal auditing strengthens the organization’s ability to create, protect, and sustain value by providing the board and management with independent, risk-based, and objective assurance, advice, insight, and foresight.”

The new Standards consist of five domains, and Domain III relates to governing the internal audit function. Some new essential conditions noted for the board in Domain III include: (1) “Champion the internal audit function to enable it to fulfill the Purpose of Internal Auditing and pursue its strategy and objectives;” (2) “Review the requirements necessary for the chief audit executive to manage the internal audit function; (3) “Approve the chief audit executive’s roles and responsibilities and identify the necessary qualifications, experience, and competencies to carry out these roles and responsibilities;” and (4) “Engage with senior management to appoint a chief audit executive with the qualifications and competencies necessary to manage the internal audit function effectively and ensure the quality performance of internal audit services.”

In other business, the Audit Committee:

  • Heard the Fiscal Year 2024 Audit Plan Progress Report, as well as a results summary of audits recently issued. Those reports included: Other Affiliated Organizations Executive Summary; and Purchasing Card Bi-Annual Audit Report.

The Board of Regents will resume its meeting at 8 a.m., April 5, 2024, at UW-Platteville.