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Governor Walker's Budget Proposal Includes Historic 5% Tuition Reduction, Increases Overall State Commitment to UW System Budget by More Than $100 Million Over Biennium

Demonstrates strong commitment to higher education

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 - Press Release

Madison – Governor Scott Walker today announced his investment in the UW System will increase the state’s commitment to the UW System budget by more than $100 million.

“The UW System plays a key role in developing our future workforce,” Governor Walker said. “Our investment today ensures student success by making college even more affordable, providing greater opportunities for students to earn their degree, and helping to bridge the gap between higher education and our workforce. We want our students to fuel the growth of our economy.”

Governor Walker’s budget proposal makes a strong commitment to higher education and focuses on college affordability, faculty accountability, performance funding, and workforce development. The proposal also rewards UW System institutions based on the number of students who graduate, how long it takes those students to graduate, how many students are employed, and how many are working in high-demand fields throughout the state.

 

ENSURING COLLEGE IS AFFORDABLE

  • Cut tuition for resident undergraduate students by 5 percent. Building upon Governor Walker’s historic UW tuition freeze, Governor Walker’s budget proposal puts money directly into the pockets of Wisconsin’s hardworking students and families by cutting resident undergraduate tuition by 5 percent, saving students an average of $360 per year. The state budget will include a General Purpose Revenue (GPR) increase of $35 million in the UW System’s block grant to pay for this tuition cut, which will be allocated among UW System institutions in proportion to the estimated reduction in revenues as a result of the tuition decrease. The $35 million to pay for the tuition cut is in addition to the $100 million increase.
  • Allow UW students to opt-out of allocable segregated fees. Allocable fees do not go towards long-term commitments or ongoing operational costs of university owned and controlled buildings. They provide support for campus student activities and services that are allocated by campus student government and university chancellors. Allowing an opt-out helps students make the decisions on what they do and do not want to fund.
  • Require UW-System institutions provide cost-saving three-year degree options. Governor Walker’s budget proposal requires each UW System institution to outline plans that would allow students to complete their bachelor’s degrees in three years. A Legislative Fiscal Bureau (LFB) memo estimates completing a degree in three years could reduce the net cost of a degree by $18,000 - $25,000 by reducing tuition costs and increasing earnings.

 

ENHANCING LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES FOR NON-TRADITIONAL STUDENTS

  • $700,000 in financial aid for students taking Flex Option courses. This funding will help Flex Option students, who are typically ineligible for Wisconsin Grants and federal student loans because their course load categorizes them as less than half time.
  • Add five new Flex Option programs in high-demand fields. Governor Walker’s budget proposal requires the UW System to increase the number of Flex Option programs offered from 10 to 15 by January 2020. This includes one program to train K-12 school workers, such as teacher’s aides, to become teachers, and one program to train certified nursing assistants to become registered nurses.
  • Double the number of core credits that transfer between Wisconsin Technical College System and UW System institutions. The budget proposal instructs the Board of Regents and Technical College System Board to enter into an agreement that, beginning in the 2018-2019 academic year, no fewer than 60 core general education course credits are able to transfer between each UW institution and technical college.

 

REWARDING UW SYSTEM INSTITUTIONS BASED ON PERFORMANCE

  • $42.5 million for performance funding. The Board of Regents must distribute these funds among UW System institutions based on their performance on rankings related to improving affordability and attainability, enhancing work readiness, ensuring student success in the workforce, administrative efficiency, service, and two additional criteria to be specified by the Board of Regents. To ensure transparency in the allocation of performance funding, each institution will publish a “Performance Funding Report Card.”

 

INVESTING IN UW SYSTEM ALZHEIMER’S RESEARCH

  • $100,000 to support Alzheimer’s research at the UW-Madison Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center. $50,000 will be allocated for each year of the biennium. This follows the the Speaker’s Task Force on Alzheimer’s and Dementia and is consistent with 2015 Assembly Bill 784.

 

SUPPORTING WISCONSIN’S RURAL HOSPITALS AND TRAINING PROGRAMS

  • $200,000 to expand the Wisconsin Rural Physician Residency Assistance program. This program, administered by UW-Madison’s Department of Family Medicine, provides financial support to rural hospitals, residency programs, and health systems to advance the development of rural rotations and rural training tracks throughout the state.

 

HOLDING UW SYSTEM FACULTY ACCOUNTABLE

  • Require the UW Board of Regents to establish a faculty workload policy. Their plan must include policies for monitoring faculty and instructional academic staff teaching workloads, including requirements for individual faculty and instructional academic staff members to report the number of hours spent teaching to UW System administration. The plan must also develop policies for rewarding faculty and instructional academic staff who go above and beyond by teaching more than the standard academic load. This information would be made public and included in annual accountability reports.

 

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN HIGHER EDUCATION AND WISCONSIN’S WORKFORCE

  • Require students pursuing a degree from a UW System institution to have internship or work experience before graduation. This requirement helps to bridge the gap between higher education and the workforce by providing students with hands-on experience in fields they want to pursue for their future careers. The Board of Regents would develop policies for determining whether a student has satisfied the internship or work requirement.

Governor Walker’s full 2017 – 2019 Executive Budget will be formally presented to the Legislature tomorrow, Wednesday, February 8, at 4:00 p.m.

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