Over the past few weeks, public attention has been directed toward the presence of reserve funds held by the University of Wisconsin System. At the end of the 2011-12 fiscal year, the system’s fund balances totaled approximately $648 million, according to a report from the Legislative Fiscal Bureau. Of that amount, UW–Madison accounts for about $298 million.
These reserve funds are necessary to sustain the university in challenging times. The ongoing federal sequester could cost UW-Madison tens of millions of dollars in research funding and the level of state funding appropriated by the legislature and governor is always uncertain. The reserve funds at UW-Madison are spread across the schools and colleges, and a significant amount has already been dedicated to undergraduate student financial aid.
Unfortunately this issue has distracted the public and elected officials from the continued development of a 2013-15 budget. The debate over what the appropriate level of ongoing reserves is or should be for an institution with a $2.7 billion budget should not distract anyone from the need for state support to maintain the high quality education that UW-Madison provides.
This week Governor Walker recommended an increase of $87 million for the UW System in the 2013-2015 state budget, along with a tuition freeze for resident undergraduate students. The legislature's Joint Committee on Finance is currently reviewing that proposal.
Visit the links below to learn more about the budget reserves, and get the facts on UW-Madison's overall budget.
May 21: Statement from Interim Chancellor Ward on the Governor's budget proposal.