MADISON ― By a vote of 10-6, the University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents has approved an operating budget that will guide spending levels and tuition rates within the UW System for fiscal year 2005-06. The action came Thursday (July 7) during the Board’s regularly scheduled July meeting.
The university budget is based upon the 2005-07 biennial budget approved by both houses of the state Legislature, and now awaiting action by Gov. Jim Doyle. The Legislature’s budget would further reduce state support provided to the UW System, which would now comprise 24 percent of the UW’s budget, down from 25.5 percent of the budget in 2004-05.
“While approving this budget will provide helpful direction for students, their families, and our campuses, we all recognize that it does not provide the kind of academic quality and service that our students deserve,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly. “We must continue to impress upon legislators and the Governor that the state must provide enough funding to support our students’ success.”
The 2005-06 operating budget funds $4.1 billion in teaching, research, and public service activities throughout the UW System, including 13 four-year universities, 13 freshman-sophomore campuses, and the statewide UW-Extension. It provides funding for academic and student services, financial aid, an effort to retain high-quality faculty, Alzheimer’s research at UW-Madison, and a joint engineering program between UW-Rock County and UW-Platteville.
The budget approved Thursday reflects cuts and reallocations required by the state, as well as increased costs for fringe benefits, debt service and utilities. It also includes a 2 percent pay plan recommendation, proposed by the Office of State Employment Relations in May. During their deliberations, the Board heard from students, chancellors, and UW System staff about the challenges presented by the 2005-07 budget approved by the Legislature.
“We understand that these are difficult budget times and difficult decisions must be made,” said Board of Regents President David G. Walsh. “Unfortunately, the message the Legislature is sending is different than our understanding that the citizens of Wisconsin wanted us to increase access to the UW System and to give them a quality education.”
The UW System budget calls for a tuition increase of 6.9 percent for resident undergraduate students, equal to increases of $364 at UW-Madison and $356 at UW-Milwaukee for the 2005-06 academic year. Tuition will increase $277 per year for resident undergraduates at UW comprehensive universities and UW Colleges campuses. Nonresident tuition will increase by the same dollar amounts to keep nonresident tuition nationally competitive.
The budget also includes room-and-board rate increases averaging 5 percent, and segregated-fee rate increases averaging 8.8 percent at the 13 four-year campuses and 6.8 percent at the 13 freshman-sophomore UW Colleges.
Total tuition and segregated fees for resident undergraduates at the UW System’s comprehensive campuses will now range from $4,928 at UW-Stevens Point to $5,425 at UW-Green Bay. Tuition and segregated fees for resident undergraduates at UW Colleges will range from $4,177 at UW-Marinette to $4,292 at UW-Baraboo-Sauk County. UW-Milwaukee’s resident undergraduate students will pay $6,220 in tuition and segregated fees per academic year, while those at UW-Madison will pay $6,280.
“Support from the state this year represents the lowest percentage ever contributed to the UW System,” Reilly said. “Unless we use the university to produce more successful graduates in Wisconsin, to attract more graduates from out of state, and to create the economic opportunities that will hold that critical mass of talent, we will not be a competitive state in the knowledge economy.”