Tuition still below midpoint among peer institutions;
UW-Madison students who receive grants receive $300 to offset increase

MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents Monday (July 19) adopted a $2.9 billion budget for the 1999-2000 academic year and set tuition rates in the absence of an overall state budget for the 1999-2001 biennium. The state’s fiscal year began July 1 but the Legislature has not approved the two-year spending plan.

The board, previously scheduled to meet July 8-9, had delayed its tuition-setting action to the latest possible date before the start of the fall semester. Traditionally, the UW sets tuition rates in early July so that tuition bills for the fall semester can be mailed before the end of the month.

First semester tuition bills are due as early as August for some campuses, and in September for most campuses. Tuition bills need to be calculated, printed and mailed this summer for more than 150,000 students and their families.

“In the absence of a legislatively approved budget, Regents have no choice but to set tuition for the upcoming academic year based on a best guess of what actual costs will be once the state budget is finalized,” said UW System President Katharine Lyall. “Significant differences still remain in UW System funding packages being proposed by the Joint Committee on Finance, the Assembly and the Senate,” said Lyall.

“We have a stewardship responsibility to students, parents, faculty and staff to establish an annual budget and get tuition and room and board bills to students and parents as quickly as possible before the fall semester,” said Lyall.

The Board of Regents voted to increase resident undergraduate tuition by

  • $84 per semester at the 11 four-year campuses
  • $84 per semester at the UW Colleges two-year campuses
  • $104 per semester at UW-Milwaukee, and
  • $145 per semester at UW-Madison.

The proposed tuition schedule still leaves UW System institutions below the midpoint and in the same relative position for tuition costs among their respective peer institutions. For example, UW-Madison will remain well below the mid-point for resident undergraduate tuition costs in the Big 10.

If additional GPR is provided in the final budget, UW System officials say they will adjust tuition rates accordingly for the second year of the biennium.

UW-Madison’s Vilas Trust will be giving every student who is eligible for a Pell grant or Wisconsin Higher Education Grant (WHEG) a $300 grant to fully offset the $289 additional tuition for UW-Madison in 1999-2000.

Funding a competitive pay plan to recruit and retain faculty and staff at UW System institutions remains a top priority with the UW Board of Regents.

Systemwide, nearly 25 percent of the faculty will retire by 2005, echoing a national trend. “This is a huge ‘quality’ issue for every UW institution,” Lyall said. “Recruitment and retention of capable faculty will never be more challenging than during the next few years, and a competitive pay plan is essential to our success.”

The UW budget funds some major initiatives that UW officials say are key to maintaining quality as the system enters the 21st century:

  • After no new funding for 10 years, the UW System libraries will receive a much-needed infusion of funding for acquisitions, statewide delivery services, electronic data-bases and online journals.
  • Funding for additional student information technology workers and training is provided to address the number one IT need identified by UW System institutions, and at the same time provide students with more opportunities to get hands-on skills and experience in areas which are highly valued by employers
  • Key institutional initiatives are funded, including the UW-La Crosse Allied Health Consortium (building operating costs), expanded enrollment in the UW-Stout Graphic Arts Management degree program, and funding to increase student services staffing for UW-Colleges
  • The first phase of the UW-Madison Initiative is funded to enable the flagship campus to remain nationally competitive in key academic areas.
  • Board of Regent action also sets rates for university housing and meal plans.

The 1999-2000 UW System budget is part of the overall 1999-2001 UW System biennial budget which was adopted by the Board of Regents in 1998 and incorporated into the Governor’s Executive Budget, presented to the Legislature earlier this year.

Approximately one-third of the UW System budget is funded by state GPR dollars.


Sharyn Wisniewski
(608) 262-6448