The University of Wisconsin System will request more than $83 million in funding from the Legislature for the next two years with a large percentage of the money going to increase enrollment across the state and to create more jobs.
The Board of Regents released their 2011-13 biennial budget Monday. The budget request will spend $22.6 million to increase undergraduate enrollment at state universities by 5,900 students, according to a report issued by the Regents.
Board of Regents President Chuck Pruitt said a variety of strategies would be used at different campuses across the state to increase enrollment and help keep students from dropping out. He added more information on the programs would be released in their meetings later this week.
The budget also requests more than $20 million to restore a 2 percent pay increase for non-unionized workers, which was cut in June 2009. Pruitt said the pay increase was cut due to the budget issues last year and they are hoping that it will be passed this year.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison would also receive more than $5 million dollars to hire additional graduate students to help work on research projects at the school, according to the report.
Pruitt said these additional graduate students would help UW professors improve their work on research and other projects. He added this research would then bring increased funding to the university from national grants and other sources.
The report also states the budget includes $10.5 million in financial aid to help students whose families make less than $60,000 a year offset the cost of increasing tuition.
For a fifth consecutive year, earlier this summer the regents approved a 5.5 percent tuition increase for all four-year universities in the state.
The Regents will vote to approve the budget at their August 19 meeting this week, according to Giroux. He added the budget request would then go to the new governor at the beginning of next year where it will be included in the governor’s state budget.
Giroux said many of the new initiatives have been put into the second year of the budget to allow the state’s economy more time to regain momentum and recover.
The money to fund the budget request will come mostly from state revenue generated by tax dollars, around $66 million, and the rest of the money, around $17 million, will come from student tuition, according to the report.
According to Giroux $83 million represents a modest budget request considering the challenges the university is facing and is only a small portion of all the budget requests the Regents were considering.
“The $83 million is only about a third of where we started when planning the budget,” Giroux said. “We had a laundry list of ideas that totaled $240 million, all worthwhile ideas, which all couldn’t be included.”