MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will review the System’s Program Revenue Fund Balance Report at Thursday’s meeting in Stevens Point.

In response to concerns raised by legislators and the public, the UW System has worked with the Legislature and the Legislative Audit Bureau to create a new system to more clearly report the Program Revenue fund balances managed by each institution within the UW System.

Using definitions developed by the Legislative Audit Bureau, UW System institutions will from now on annually provide specific details on their Program Revenue fund balances by levels of commitment.

Program Revenues are funds collected at the campuses for tuition as well as for services provided, such as residence halls, food, parking, and general program operations. Fund balances fluctuate with incoming and outgoing revenues.

“This report provides a clear and detailed picture of the fund balances at each campus,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “It represents an unprecedented level of transparency for the UW System or for any state agency.

“Furthermore, we have integrated Program Revenue fund balances into our budget planning process and into our financial reporting processes. From now on, program revenue fund balances will not be a separate conversation, but considered a normal and regular part of our financial decisions,” Cross said.

Highlights from the Program Revenue fund balance report include:

  • Based on definitions created by the Legislative Audit Bureau, UW System institutions have a total of $175 million in actual reserves (in Reserved and Undocumented funds). That amount is about 3% of the total $6 billion operating budget for all UW System institutions.
  • Actual reserves have decreased by $40 million in the last year.
  • Of the $973 million in overall Program Revenue fund balances, approximately $711 million are already obligated or planned. These are funds that are expected to be spent on institution-specific initiatives within the next few years.
    • Of that $711 million, $274 million are Obligated, indicating there are firm commitments for these funds, such as contracts and encumbrances for purchases already made. The remaining $437 million are set aside to fund specific near- and long-term plans at institutions, including $42 million for the UW System’s Talent Development Initiative.
  • Program Revenue fund balances are spread out among many accounts managed independently within each individual institution in the UW System, and are not held in one central account. The balances vary widely among institutions and individual funds due to the many differences between institutional programs.
  • The aggregate year-end tuition fund balance dropped by $156.1 million from $551.5 million in fiscal year 2013 to $395.4 million in fiscal year 2014.
    • Of that amount, the Systemwide balance dropped by $74.9 million, from $151.8 million in fiscal year 2013 to $76.9 million in fiscal year 2014.

UW System Regent President Michael J. Falbo said, “Many people have devoted many hours into producing this comprehensive report. We look forward to a good discussion of its findings at our meeting on Thursday.”

For more information on UW System’s Program Revenue Fund Balance Report, see the related Board of Regents’ full October 9 meeting agenda.


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Heather LaRoi UW System 608-265-3195