Chancellor Rebecca Blank announced she plans to ask the Board of Regents in the upcoming months for another round of tuition increases for out-of-state students and students in University of Wisconsin’s trade schools during her State of the University speech, Monday.
UW’s budget has been cut in five of the last six legislative sessions under both political parties, Blank said. This has left UW with an $86 million deficit which forced UW to cut $50 million in spending
In spring of 2015, Blank asked the Regents for four years of tuition increases for out-of-state and trade school students. The Regents approved two years and told Blank to ask again later, Blank said.
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To maintain UW’s status as a leading school in research and one of the world’s top universities, Blank said she is focused on building a more stable financial base.
This base is focused on a financial strategy that allows for greater independence from “uncertain state dollars,” Blank said.
Project 72 highlights a few of UW’s top alumni and research and outreach programs. The new project is focused on building a strong, investment following.
“We’ve had excellent response to Project 72 so far, and we hope that it sparks conversations around the state about the importance of reinvesting in this great university,” Blank said.
Another project is the “Reinvestment in UW” campaign, which is privately funded and will be aired on cable TV, Wisconsin Public Radio and online with digital ads, Blank said. The campaign began this month and will run through next May.
“We expect to achieve 46 million impressions — in other words, views — over the 9-month campaign,” Blank said.
Reaching out to the public and policymakers is another major focus. This effort is based on a faculty idea: the Faculty Hometown Engagement Project.
This project asks Wisconsin-native and research or outreach faculty working in Wisconsin to talk to policymakers themselves.
Another central argument of Bank’s speech is that UW needs to research more financial resources.
“State dollars provide only 15 percent of our budget and regardless of state politics will probably never return to anything like their previous levels in the foreseeable future,” Blank said. “We have to be entrepreneurial in developing alternative revenue streams.”
Research funding makes up about a third of UW’s budget, but UW is working hard to expand industrial partnerships, Blank said. These partnerships will support research and technical implementations.
The Regents have requested an upcoming budget with $92.5 million more in state funding that what was received in the last budget. This includes $50 million that will be restored to the UW System and $42.5 million in new funds, Blank said.
“This past year has brought substantial challenges, but don’t let the challenges allow you to lose sight of all the good things that happen here every day,” Blank said. “Work that we do across the state to bring the knowledge and resources of this university out into the community.”