MADISON – Tuition increases proposed by Gov. Jim Doyle will still result in a $100 million reduction for the University of Wisconsin System—a reduction that will dramatically affect teaching and learning, the Board of Regents was told Friday.

UW System President Katharine C. Lyall said stressed the importance of maintaining the governor’s proposed tuition increase in the 2003-05 state budget, which would offset his recommended $250 million budget cut by $150 million.

“Let me be clear—if the governor’s budget is approved, we will still have to take a $100 million cut, and we would like to manage this reduction without reducing capacity. To do so, we will need the tuition offset revenues,” Lyall said.

Lyall emphasized that a $100 million cut to the UW would be twice as much as the budget reduction for this current biennium, and it would bring the total amount of budget cuts to the university over the past decade to $200 million. The state’s current annual appropriation to the UW System is a little more than $1 billion.

Several regents and chancellors echoed Lyall’s comments, saying that the tuition increases are necessary to help maintain core instruction and research. They emphasized that the UW System and its campuses have the lowest administrative costs in the nation within public higher education, and there is little to no room left for cuts that won’t affect teaching and student services and, possibly, future enrollment levels.

“I have people in my region ask me, ‘Can’t you do something (with the cuts) so as not to affect access and programs?’ UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald J. Mash told the regents. “I have told them, ‘No—there will be real pain.'”

“To think that we can persist with cuts in the future and not affect instruction is just pure fantasy,” added UW-Green Bay Chancellor W. Bruce Shepard.

Several regents stressed that it was important for the board to provide necessary budget oversight but not dictate how chancellors implement final budget reductions at their institutions.

“I hope we refrain from trying to identify specific items (chancellors) feel need to be reduced or eliminated,” said Regent Patrick G. Boyle of Madison. “That is not our responsibility.”

Stabilizing financial aid in the future is another budget priority, Lyall told the regents. The governor proposed $23 million in financial aid to offset tuition, but the increased funding would come from student fee revenue designated for important maintenance and construction projects such as residence halls and student unions.

Lyall and others said they hoped that state lawmakers would designate a permanent funding source for the financial aid increases in the future.

Overall, the regents reiterated the need to work with state lawmakers on the budget.

“We need to work to make sure the budget doesn’t get any worse,” concluded Regent Jose A. Olivieri of Milwaukee.

Website highlights economic impact study

The UW System’s economic impact study is available online and in particular outlines the university’s economic impact within each state senate district, UW System President Katharine C. Lyall told the Board of Regents on Friday.

“It is interesting to note how widespread the economic impacts are—even in senate districts without a UW campus there are significant numbers of jobs and incomes dependent upon university activities,” Lyall said.

President Lyall’s full report to the board

Technology theme continues at regents meeting

Teaching and learning through technology continued to be a main theme of the March Board of Regents meeting on Friday, as UW-Extension’s Byron Knight updated the board on advances made in digital television.

The Federal Communications Commission has mandated that the conversion to digital television for non-commercial stations be completed by June, and Wisconsin Public Television will meet that goal at all of its stations, Knight explained. Wisconsin Public Television is part of UW-Extension.

“Digital television, because of its advanced technology and versatility, will allow the university and public broadcasting to provide new services,” Knight said.

Knight used the term “convergence” to explain how digital television and computers can be used together, because they use the same binary numbering language to communicate to one another. This is much different than how current analog television systems send programs as waveforms known as amplitude and frequency modulation.

Knight demonstrated how, through digital television, students can download course sections made available on the Internet by their professors. He said digital television’s ability to distribute not just programs but also data will vastly improve online education.

“Digital television is more than just television,” Knight said.

PowerPoint presentation pdf


In other action Friday, the regents:

  • Approved a resolution of appreciation for American Family Mutual Insurance Company. The company this week pledged $10 million to construct a new children’s hospital at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics. Read the Resolution pdf
  • Authorized UW-Madison to recruit a new women’s basketball coach.
  • Accepted the gift of a facility on the UW-Parkside campus from K. R. Imaging, Inc., for use as the UW-Parkside Student Health and Counseling Center.
  • Granted authority for officers of the Board of Regents to provide easements on UW-Madison’s West Madison Agricultural Research Station land to the city of Madison to facilitate reconstruction of Old Sauk Road.

April Meeting

The Board of Regents will hold its next meeting April 10-11 on the UW-Madison campus.