College News

UW-Madison to receive smaller share of funding from System budget

The Board of Regents voted on the UW System's 2017-18 budget Thursday, giving UW-Madison a smaller share than usual.

Image By: Jon Yoon

Despite a boost in state funding for the UW System in the upcoming biennium, UW-Madison will receive less than its usual share as system officials look to direct it elsewhere.

The Board of Regents typically uses a formula-based on campus enrollment to break down the dollar amount each UW System campus gets, but the body abandoned it. This was reflected in the amount that UW-Madison will receive under a vote on the system’s annual budget approved by the body Thursday.

Out of the $25 million the System expects to receive from the state’s 2017-’19 biennial budget, UW-Madison will get just $2.9 million. This is significantly less than the $9.4 million UW-Madison would have received under the usual formula, and the leftover amount will instead fund other UW System schools. System officials similarly redirected funds in the budget cycle two years ago.

Chancellor Rebecca Blank said she was appreciative of the state legislature’s decision to invest in the UW System and acknowledged that other UW campuses faced financial challenges, but expressed worries about UW-Madison’s funding, calling the decision a “one-time measure.”

“Our campus has made clear that we are willing to share some portion of our normal allocation of this $50 million in funding as a one-time measure,” Blank said in a statement. “But a redirection of this size is concerning and will make it more difficult for UW-Madison to make the kinds of investments needed to maintain its excellence.”

The regents’ vote also comes much to the dismay of Badger Advocates, a lobbying group of alumni and donors from UW-Madison that is not officially affiliated with the university, who denounced the action earlier in the week. In a release, the group’s executive director Matt Kussow called the decision bad for the state and university.

“It is a short-sighted decision that punishes success and fosters an environment which pits member campuses against each other,” Kussow said in the release. “UW-Madison alumni across the nation should be outraged at this development. I fear this is just the beginning of efforts to erode the flagship’s ability to strengthen the System and state.”

The regents also approved a freeze on resident undergraduate tuition for the fifth consecutive year, but many students will have other increasing expenses.

Four-year UW System schools will have an increase in total allocable and non-allocable segregated fees. According to the UW System website, this will average a 2.6 percent hike which will go towards projects already approved by the regents as well as projects that were supported by students, such as mental health services.

In addition, students at four-year schools will also see a rise in costs for dorms and meal plans which will go towards new residence halls, maintenance for campus facilities and increasing food prices. This increase will also average 2.6 percent, according to the UW System website.

UW-La Crosse Chancellor Gow said his university has not raised the housing rate on its campus in four years, but there will be a $145 increase this year. He said this hike in cost at La Crosse comes from inflation as well as renovations for buildings from the 1960s, which were grandfathered in and therefore are not up to code. These include a lack of elevators for accessibility and sprinklers for fire safety, Gow said.

“I can assure you that none of us want to raise these,” Gow said of the fee increases. “It goes without saying; we’re not a profit-making entity, so we only raise fees to put those funds back into the operation to make it as best as it can be for students.”

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