March 8, 2002
MADISON-The University of Wisconsin
System Board of Regents voted Friday (March 8) to suspend any further
undergraduate admissions at all 26 campuses, pending additional information on
proposed cuts to the UW budget.
The suspension on undergraduate admissions
starts Saturday, March 9, until further notice. Applicants who already have been
notified by campuses that they are admitted for Fall 2002 are not affected by
Regent President Jay L. Smith told the
board he hoped the suspension on admissions "is a temporary one and can be
lifted in the near future." The board directed UW System President
Katharine Lyall and UW chancellors to act "as soon as possible" to
determine the full impact of the budget cuts on the campuses.
"We realize the impact this has on the
lives of our applicants and their families, and we apologize for the
inconvenience," Smith said. "But we have no other choice."
The UW System is facing a $51 million cut
in Gov. Scott McCallum's budget reform bill. The Joint Finance Committee this
week added approximately $20 million more in cuts on top of the governor's
proposal, through reductions to the university's base budget and a cap on
tuition increases of 8 percent.
Smith said the additional cuts also put in
jeopardy approximately $58 million in matching money pledged by private donors
and businesses for programs that are part of the Regents' Economic Stimulus
At Thursday's Regents meeting, Smith
indicated that the board was considering a suspension on any further
undergraduate admissions because of the current budget
situation, which he said put the UW System "in a difficult and complex
"Over the past 24 hours, we have
consulted with the Regents and the Chancellors, and we feel that our budget
situation is too uncertain at this time to insure that we can accommodate all
the students who want to enroll in the UW System next fall," Smith said.
The admissions process varies by campus,
and some UW institutions are farther along in that process than others.
Nevertheless, the decision affects applicants on every campus.
At the meeting this morning, several
regents mentioned that the decision to suspend undergraduate admissions was a
regrettable but necessary one for the UW System and for students and their
"The action that we are taking today
is a sad one, but I support it," said Regent James Klauser. "This is a
serious situation, one that we cannot take lightly," added Regent Roger
Axtell. "I feel strongly that it would be irresponsible for us to continue
admitting students right now."
UW System President Katharine Lyall said
that admissions decisions in the past have been deferred to future semesters
because of budget uncertainty. "This is not totally unprecedented, but we
have never done it this way," she said.
Lyall said the decision was important so
the UW System can take the time needed to study the impact of budget cuts and
how they will affect each campus.
"We have a very important obligation
to our current and admitted students to provide the courses they need, to make
it possible for them to graduate in a timely fashion, to ensure they can access
the library services they need and participate in the laboratory experiments
they need for their degrees," she said.
Smith said the impact of the budget
situation must be more fully understood before campuses can resume sending out
"We must operate like a
business," he said. "We can't enroll students if we don't have the GPR
(state resources) to pay for them. As Regents, it is our ultimate responsibility
to maintain the integrity and quality of the UW System."
The complete text of Regent President Smith's remarks is online at www.wisconsin.edu.
Contact: Erik Christianson
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 13, 2002