March 22, 2002
MADISON-The Executive Committee of the
University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents voted Friday (March 22) to lift
the suspension on undergraduate admissions.
Citing assurances of additional funding by
Gov. Scott McCallum and the Senate majority, the Executive Committee authorized
UW campuses to resume "their admissions processes and enroll up to, but not
beyond, their instructional capacity for Fall 2002," according to the
resolution it approved.
"The suspension of any further
undergraduate admissions was the right thing to do given the uncertainty of the
state budget process," said Regent President Jay L. Smith. "But with
the funding assurances we have received this week, we can get back to the
business of admitting and educating students and maintaining the quality of the
UW System President Katharine Lyall told
Executive Committee members that the university could enroll 5,500 more
full-time students if the final budget cut is no more than the $51 million
recommended by McCallum in his budget reduction package.
"I urge us to maintain our focus on
serving all students we admit well and recalibrate enrollment targets for fall
2003 and beyond, once our final budget is determined," Lyall told the
In lifting the admissions freeze, the
Executive Committee directed Lyall to monitor systemwide enrollments and report
their status to the board. The committee said enrollment targets for Fall 2003
"will be reviewed and recalibrated as necessary based on
the final UW budget cuts adopted by the Legislature and signed by the
Governor," according to the committee's resolution.
Smith said he hoped funding beyond the
governor's proposal could be found for the UW budget so that even more students
could be admitted.
"Every additional student we can
enroll is a plus for the state's economic future," Smith said. "To
really help the state out of this economic slump, we should be enrolling more,
not fewer, students."
Lyall noted in her remarks to the committee that the admissions freeze was not
uniform across the UW System, because some campuses were farther along in the
admissions process than others.
A hiring freeze enacted last week is still
in effect, Smith said, "to make sure that we do not commit more resources
for next year than we are given by the state."
"There was a perception among some
that this was a political move by the university. It was not," Smith added.
"The real cost of educating these students comes in the personnel costs -
the faculty and staff that teach these courses and (other) personnel costs
represent roughly 85 percent of our operating budget."
The Board of Regents voted March 8 to suspend any further undergraduate
admissions, saying it could not admit more students if it would not have the
resources to educate them. The regents' vote followed the Joint Finance
Committee's decision to reduce funding by an additional $21.8 million from the
university budget. Assembly Republicans then added another $44.6 in cuts,
bringing the total proposed reduction in the university budget to about $108
With its vote on March 8, the Board of
Regents authorized the Regents Executive Committee to make future decisions on
the admissions suspension on behalf of the full board.
Contact: Erik Christianson
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Updated: March 22, 2002