Mark J. Bradley, President, University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Kevin P. Reilly, President, University of Wisconsin System
“Legislators face challenges in setting fiscal priorities for Wisconsin, but this version of the budget stands in stark contrast to what we’ve heard from hard-working families, business owners, and community leaders across the state. They love their University of Wisconsin, and they want the ability to compete with other states and other nations in a knowledge economy where talent and education will decide the winners.
“At a time when Wisconsin needs more college-educated workers and the high-end jobs the university can help create for them, this version of the budget would limit the number of seats in UW classrooms for Wisconsin residents. Equally important, it would undermine the quality of UW degree programs, limit financial aid to low-income families, and roll back vital academic services that students need to be successful and graduate on time.
“The Assembly’s version of the state budget provides some of the requested funding for new UW initiatives, but it also takes $120 million out of our current UW operations. That’s like telling a homeowner that he should build a second-story addition but he won’t have enough money to pay even his existing mortgage.
“Reneging on long-standing commitments in this way would hurt students, taxpayers, and the entire state. Students from every legislative district would have a harder time getting admitted to a UW campus. They would experience more difficulties getting the classes they need to graduate on time. They would have fewer advisors, tutors, librarians, and reduced technical support. Our campuses would be hard pressed to provide necessary health services and police protection for students. As we seek to enroll more first-generation students, veterans, and returning adults, this budget would cut the specialized services and financial aid those people need to fulfill their dreams.
“Any way you slice it, the cut would be significant. On an annual basis, the proposed base budget reductions equal salaries and benefits for as many as 1,000 academic staff and classified staff positions. And that’s on top of the 1,020 tax-supported UW positions that we have already eliminated over the past five years.
“Put another way, the annual base reduction proposed in the Assembly budget is equal to the total state funding currently provided to UW-La Crosse and UW-Whitewater combined – institutions that serve more than 20,000 students.
“No part of our university would be immune from this level of funding reduction. From our flagship UW-Madison campus to every county Extension office, every part of our teaching, research, and public service mission would be hurt. That would include the elimination of all GPR support for public television and public radio programs that reach millions of Wisconsin residents.
“By halting the construction of key academic facilities at UW-Superior, UW-Madison, and UW-Parkside, this budget would hurt current and future students. Plans at those campuses to improve student graduation rates, retain effective teachers, and better prepare UW graduates for a competitive workforce would undoubtedly be harmed.
“As the state budget-making process moves into the next phase, we hope that state leaders will find better ways to balance the state’s economic, fiscal, and educational priorities. We pledge to continue working with all legislators – from both sides of the aisle and from every corner of the state – to preserve high-quality and highly affordable college education in Wisconsin. In doing so, we can help Wisconsin residents earn their four-year degree, strengthen our state’s ability to compete in the global economy, and leave a better legacy for our children and grandchildren.”
UW-Madison: Chancellor John D. Wiley’s statement on proposed Assembly budget
UW-Green Bay: Chancellor Shepard: Assembly budget hurts UW-Green Bay, Growth Agenda
: State Budget Cuts would drastically affect access to UW-Extension and UW Colleges programs