The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents recently approved an operating budget request for $107.5 million of state funds. The funding request must be approved by the state Legislature and governor before it can be officially instituted.
According to reporting from the Wisconsin State Journal, 75 percent of the funding would be allocated to campuses based on how adequately they perform in areas like student success and operating efficiencies, among others.
UW Chancellor Rebecca Blank believes the budget will help push the university forward in a variety of different student-centric ways.
“[Priorities are] as always, focused on student success, preparing our graduates for excellent careers and promoting innovation and outreach across the state,” Blank said.
The 2019-21 budget proposal also strives to meet the demands outlined by the largely Republican state Legislature to hold universities more accountable.
UW Regents approve budget requests for new construction projects, increased operating fundsThe University of Wisconsin Board of Regents approved two budget requests of more than $2 billion to state lawmakers, according Read…
According to UW System President Ray Cross, the proposed 2019-21 budget would also increase state funding by $82.5 million for outcomes-based funding, which focuses on the support of goals related to student success and development in preparation for entering the workforce.
There would be a focus on developing more graduates and helping them complete degrees in a more timely manner through focusing on student services and academic support systems, Cross said.
“The budget proposal will increase student access to System institutions, enhance their progress towards a degree and prepare them for the Wisconsin workforce,” Cross said.
Approximately $25 million of the newly requested funds would go towards capacity-building initiatives which would help the UW System accelerate programs that are part of high-growth fields such as nursing, computer science, engineering and technologically-heavy fields.
Educational and research work would also be prioritized, according to a UW news release.
“Capacity-building initiatives included in the budget proposal would give students access to more research opportunities and offer diversity in learning environments vital to both businesses and communities,” Cross said.
If the budget proposal is approved by the governor and state Legislature, Cross believes students would benefit from enhanced attention in the areas of student enrollment, [degree] progress and degree completion.
Blank said a continued monetary investment from the state would allow UW to retain its status as a world-class university.
“Education, health and research [programs] change lives and power Wisconsin’s economy,” Blank said.
The regents also gave their approval on a capital budget recommendation of $1.9 billion, 90 million of which would go towards the expansion of the UW School of Veterinary Medicine building, currently the only veterinary school in Wisconsin. Last year, the school served over 26,500 patients in a facility originally designed to help around 12,000 patients per year.
The UW System’s capital request focuses mainly on the renovation, repair and replacement of aging or unusable facilities. A large part of the buildings in the UW system were built between 1950 and 1979 with few changes made since their construction, according to a UW news release.
Operating and capital budget requests will be given to the governor, who will pass on a budget to the state Legislature where it will be deliberated in early 2019. If the proposal can receive approval by the Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee and both houses, it will be returned to the governor to be made into law.
According to Associated Press, the budget request also asks Gov. Scott Walker to sign off on a variety of construction projects, including a new gymnasium for UW.
Cross believes the budget proposal will aim to help a variety of people and organizations.
“The budget proposal responds to the needs of employers and communities,” Cross said.
Gov. Walker was not available for comment at this time.