University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
State Budget Update
News Bureau Schofield Hall 201 Eau Claire, WI 54702
phone: (715) 836-4741
fax: (715) 836-2900

Budget Message to the UW-Eau Claire Campus Community
From Chancellor Donald Mash

Feb. 19, 2003

Gov. Doyle proposes $250 million in cuts to UW System budget

Gov. Jim Doyle presented his 2003-05 budget bill to the state Legislature last night, proposing cuts to the UW System budget that are so deep they threaten the quality of and access to higher education at UW-Eau Claire and throughout the System.

The Governor has proposed to cut $250 million in state GPR funding from the UW System over the next two years, which translates into about $12.5 million for UW-Eau Claire. By way of comparison, our cuts in the current 2001-03 biennium totaled approximately $2.5 million.

To cushion some of the budget cuts, Gov. Doyle has proposed that tuition be increased up to $250 a semester to bring it more in line with the average at other Midwest public universities. To ease the burden on our neediest students, he has proposed $20 million in financial aid to help offset those increases. I applaud the initiative to make sure financial aid is available.

The Governor’s budget bill is alarming, but we must remember the numbers will likely change as the budget bill makes its way through the state legislative process. The proposal presented by the Governor is the first step in what will likely be a multi-month negotiating process before the state Legislature passes a final budget bill.

UW System President Katharine Lyall has called these proposed cuts the deepest the UW System has faced in its history. In my view, our challenge will be to manage our reductions in a way that preserves our capacity for excellence until we come out of this economic downturn.

While we hope the final cuts to the UW System budget are far less than those proposed by the Governor, we expect them to be significant given the state’s $3.2 billion budget shortfall. We will work hard for -- and hope for -- the best but plan for the worst. It will not be business as usual for UW-Eau Claire or any other campus.

UW-Eau Claire administrators will work with our campus community as we try to identify ways to absorb the cuts while continuing to provide students with the high-quality education they expect and to serve the Chippewa Valley region as we have in the past.

We will do our best to keep you informed about the state budget situation as the process moves forward. To help us share information quickly, I have asked the News Bureau to create a State Budget Update Web site where information will be posted as it becomes available. Check the site often, You also will find the Web site by going to the State Budget Update heading under Headline News on UW-Eau Claire’s homepage.

I also encourage you to participate in the university’s open forums Provost Ronald Satz is hosting, to provide information while giving you a chance to ask questions and share suggestions regarding the budget. You will find a schedule of those forums on the State Budget Update Web site.

Communication will be the key to maintaining campus morale during these difficult and challenging times. We are determined to work at developing a shared understanding of what is and isn’t true as we move forward. Clarity of information and rationale for any actions taken in response to this daunting challenge will be a priority.

UW-Eau Claire Home

Excellence. Our measure, our motto, our goal.

* Judy Berthiaume
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: March 5, 2003