First Look: Governor Walker’s Proposed Budget Executive Summary

I’ve just obtained a copy of the Governor’s proposed Budget Executive Summary and Budget in Brief.

The section on higher education begins on page 13.  This is the exact language of that section (emphasis mine):

  • Positions UW-Madison to improve its ability to remain a world leader in research and instruction by restructuring the campus as an independent authority. Greater independence for the state’s flagship campus will enhance the Madison campus’ potential as a major research institution for job creation, recruitment of top faculty and students, research and patent production, and to better server Wisconsin’s businesses, parent and students.
  • Prioritizes funding for UW System campuses over administration by requiring larger share of financial aid reduction to be realized by UW System Administration–25 percent ompared to 11 percent for campuses.
  • Exempts student financial aid from GPR reductions while providing a modest tuition increase for UW System institutions to keep resident undergraduate tuition affordable  fir Wisconsin’s families.
  • Prevents cuts to financial aid by limiting Wisconsin Covenant program to students signing pledge before September 30, 2011.
  • Directs UW System to develop plan to transition UW Milwaukee into a private authority.

A couple of things to note here:

  1. Page 33 expands on the idea of making Milwaukee a private authority.  It is curious that they used the word private there.  On page 33, they again refer to it as a public authority,and giforces UW system to spend $250,000 on the project.
  2. Financial aid is exempted from the GPR cuts
  3. On page 34: “eliminate nonresident tuition ad fee exemptions for undocumented persons” in the UW System.
  4. Page 68 breaks down the proposal for UW Madison in depth.

So, the moment everyone has been waiting for: What’s the damage?

Well, its worse than we thought.

According to the document (page 71):

“Reduce state aid by $250 million over the biennuium to University of Wisconsin System institutions and University of Wisconsin-Madison to help address the state budget defecit.”

Okay, we knew this.

“The reduction would be split equally between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin System Campuses”

Split equally?  My reading of that, coupled with evidence from the rest of the document, indicates that UW Madison is looking at a $125 million cut to our state funding!

How will we deal with this?  What raise in tuition would this require?  What can we change as the bill makes its way through the legislature?

More to come…


13 Comments on “First Look: Governor Walker’s Proposed Budget Executive Summary”

  1. Just for clarity’s sake, did you expect $50 out of $250 million total or $50 million a year. What did people expect? Can we project that into the $125 million? We might just have to work together on this harder.

  2. Patrick says:

    Do you have another source for the $125 million from UW-Madison specifically? I don’t think that “The reduction would be split equally between the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Wisconsin System Campuses” necessarily implies that. Equal could mean equal % cuts, equal per student cuts, etc.

  3. Pablo Pincheira says:

    Assuming 50k students at the university you’re looking at 2.5k tuition increase just to cover the 125mil….ouch.

    Are they thinking that turning UWM into a fully private deal will be an investment in the long run? I guess its just unclear atm.

    • Brandon W. says:

      Unfortunately, there are only a little over 41k students at the University, so our real increase would be 3k or so. I seriously doubt this will happen. We will likely see cuts in programs instead. But yes, very much an “ouch.”

      I think they might have misprinted the information about making UWM a private authority. Later in the document, they appear to call it a public authority, which is what UW Madison would be under this proposal.

      Thanks for reading Pablo!

      • TFH says:

        Misprinting “public” as “private” is a pretty gross error. Goes to show how sloppily thrown together this budget is — typical of Walker’s entire governorship. Slash and burn, and ask questions later.

        R.I.P. UW-System.

      • Brandon W. says:


        Yeah I agree that it is a gross error. I was shocked when I read that at first. I’m praying its not a Freudian slip.

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