MADISON – University of Wisconsin System President Kevin P. Reilly released the following statement regarding the federal economic stimulus package signed today by President Obama:

“We are pleased that our Congressional leaders recognize the vital role that higher education can play in reenergizing our economy and bolstering our resilience as we face the future.   The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is good for Wisconsin – and good for Wisconsin higher education, our families, and our students.

Allocating much-needed funding to cash-strapped states will help to support and protect core services, like transportation, health care, schools, and modernized facilities, that are necessary if we are to move forward.  Providing additional financial assistance through a $500 increase in federal Pell Grant awards and a $2,500 higher education tax credit will help students and their families all across Wisconsin keep alive their dreams of a college education at a time when financing one is harder than ever – and a college degree is more needed than ever.

At the same time, our universities appreciate the federal investment in research.  Academic research and development – an industry that totaled about $1.1 billion and was responsible for creating more than 38,000 Wisconsin jobs in 2007 – helps to drive economic development for Wisconsin.   The education of our students is improved when the skills developed through research are applied to the important issues of the day, and the challenges we face as a nation and world will be addressed through the discoveries that will be made by researchers in our colleges and universities.

We recognize the strong leadership offered by Wisconsin’s Congressman Dave Obey, chairman of the U.S. House Appropriations Committee, in seeking viable strategies to use higher education to help stabilize the economy and restore public confidence.

The UW System will work with the Governor, legislators, and other partners around the state to ensure that the University of Wisconsin can leverage all its resources to help the state navigate this crisis and position Wisconsin to be a leader in the recovery.”

Media Contact

David Giroux UW System (608) 262-4464