MADISON — The Executive Committee of the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted Friday (March 22) to lift the suspension on undergraduate admissions.

Citing assurances of additional funding by Gov. Scott McCallum and the Senate majority, the Executive Committee authorized UW campuses to resume “their admissions processes and enroll up to, but not beyond, their instructional capacity for Fall 2002,” according to the resolution it approved.

“The suspension of any further undergraduate admissions was the right thing to do given the uncertainty of the state budget process,” said Regent President Jay L. Smith. “But with the funding assurances we have received this week, we can get back to the business of admitting and educating students and maintaining the quality of the UW System.”

UW System President Katharine Lyall told Executive Committee members that the university could enroll 5,500 more full-time students if the final budget cut is no more than the $51 million recommended by McCallum in his budget reduction package.

“I urge us to maintain our focus on serving all students we admit well and recalibrate enrollment targets for fall 2003 and beyond, once our final budget is determined,” Lyall told the Executive Committee.

In lifting the admissions freeze, the Executive Committee directed Lyall to monitor systemwide enrollments and report their status to the board. The committee said enrollment targets for Fall 2003 “will be reviewed and recalibrated as necessary based on the final UW budget cuts adopted by the Legislature and signed by the Governor,” according to the committee’s resolution.

Smith said he hoped funding beyond the governor’s proposal could be found for the UW budget so that even more students could be admitted.

“Every additional student we can enroll is a plus for the state’s economic future,” Smith said. “To really help the state out of this economic slump, we should be enrolling more, not fewer, students.”

Lyall noted in her remarks to the committee that the admissions freeze was not uniform across the UW System, because some campuses were farther along in the admissions process than others.

A hiring freeze enacted last week is still in effect, Smith said, “to make sure that we do not commit more resources for next year than we are given by the state.”

“There was a perception among some that this was a political move by the university. It was not,” Smith added. “The real cost of educating these students comes in the personnel costs – the faculty and staff that teach these courses and (other) personnel costs represent roughly 85 percent of our operating budget.”

The Board of Regents voted March 8 to suspend any further undergraduate admissions, saying it could not admit more students if it would not have the resources to educate them. The regents’ vote followed the Joint Finance Committee’s decision to reduce funding by an additional $21.8 million from the university budget. Assembly Republicans then added another $44.6 in cuts, bringing the total proposed reduction in the university budget to about $108 million.

With its vote on March 8, the Board of Regents authorized the Regents Executive Committee to make future decisions on the admissions suspension on behalf of the full board.


The UW System Board of Regents reaffirms its policy of balancing enrollments with available resources to ensure quality and timely education for the students it serves. Based on recent funding assurances by the Governor and Senate majority, and on the recommendation of the UW System President, the Board of Regents authorizes University of Wisconsin institutions to resume their admissions processes and enroll up to, but not beyond, their instructional capacity for fall 2002.

The UW System President is directed to monitor systemwide enrollments and report to the Board of Regents on their status. Enrollment targets for fall 2003 and beyond will be reviewed and recalibrated as necessary based on the final UW System funding adopted by the legislature and signed by the Governor.

Motion: Jay Smith. Second: Patrick Boyle and Guy Gottschalk.
Unanimously approved.

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Erik Christianson UW System 608-262-5061