Legislators statewide erupted with fury after the University of Wisconsin System president requested a tuition increase despite a nonpartisan state agency’s April revelation that it was sitting on more than a billion dollars in reserves.

The Legislative Fiscal Bureau’s report indicated the system had $648 million in unrestricted assets and increased these funds by more than $200 million since 2011. UW estimates say the system’s balances could inflate another $150 million by the end of June.

UW Board of Regents President Brent Smith attributed the unprecedented increase in cash on hand to both increasing enrollment to UW schools the past five years and repeated tuition hikes of 5.5 percent during that time period.

The LFB’s findings will almost certainly detriment the amount of funding the Legislature will allocate to the UW System. Gov. Scott Walker called on the Joint Finance Committee to freeze student tuition to all UW schools. Walker said Friday an undetermined sum of the $181 million originally intended for the system will now support K-12 public schools and an expanded tax cut.

UW System President Kevin Reilly said lawmakers have overreacted to these reserve balances, as the system holds only a quarter of the funding it spends – a figure smaller than the majority of other systems and universities.

However, Reilly said he is working with Smith to create a new policy for its reserves that increases transparency and sets a minimum amount of assets the system should hold in reserves at all times.

Reilly added the notion the UW System is sitting on a pot of a billion dollars is misleading. Approximately $400 million comes from federal aid, grants, contracts, gifts and other sources and is inaccessible. Additionally, Reilly said about $441 million of that sum is already committed to education operations at the system’s 26 campuses.