The UW System has already lost $250 million from the state biennial budget, and now, another $65 million is on the line, after the State Department of Administration announced it will take away $174 million from state agencies. It is all a part of Wisconsin's biennial budget plan that allows the state to withdraw a portion of taxpayer dollars already set aside to state agencies, like the UW System, in order to balance the budget, and universities say it's unfair.
UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee would lose the most under the plan to "lapse," or cut, $65 million from the UW System. UW schools would take 38 percent of the entire lapse, when they normally take about seven percent. Some students say this is a huge disadvantage for the state.
"It's probably going to be one of those situations where students take a look at their options, and may decide to go to school out-of-state, which doesn't benefit Wisconsin or anyone else living in the state," UW Student Association President Alex Kostal said.
UW-Milwaukee Vice Chancellor of University Relations Tom Luljk says the latest lapse will most likely mean fewer classes offered and maybe more students in each class. He says this is disappointing when campus services are already being squeezed, and teachers are having to do more.
"It's not like we have a lot of fat or any fat to go ahead give up, we've been cutting and cutting now for six years, this additional huge cut we think is now getting into the bone," Luljk said.
Technical colleges are not being affected by these cuts, though a spokeswoman said they've had to increase tuition and dip into reserve funds to balance the budget, and fear tuition may increase again.