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Falling Behind

A Wisconsin Policy Forum Study

Wisconsin Policy Forum Study Findings Sound Alarm On Wisconsin Higher Education

Declining State Support, Frozen Tuition, COVID-19 Losses & A Lack Of Autonomy Have Put UW-Madison In A Critical Position

The Wisconsin Policy Forum report is the first independent, comprehensive study of higher education in Wisconsin. The study covers a wide range of issues from falling state support to the decline of enrollment. Critically, it concludes that the future of higher education and our flagship university’s world-class status is in jeopardy – harming the economic impact higher education provides to our state. Significant threats include:

National Comparison Shows Wisconsin At Risk

For decades, Wisconsin has slashed investment. With the current revenue cuts from the ongoing global pandemic, UW-Madison is significantly under-supported by the State compared nationally to peers.

Frozen Tuition Restricts Necessary Revenue

The freeze on in-state undergraduate tuition has restricted a vital funding stream, depriving the University of desperately needed funding.

Lack Of Financial Flexibility

UW-Madison cannot access credit markets to secure the necessary resources to mitigate the ongoing revenue crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Limited Investment In The Future

Low faculty pay, a lack of investment in research & development spending and deferred maintenance of crumbling infrastructure raises significant concern for the financial health and performance of UW-Madison and the state’s larger economy.

To address the crisis, Badgers United has put forward a slate of data-driven solutions for the Legislature’s consideration including increasing in-state support for UW-Madison, a thaw of the in-state undergraduate tuition freeze, providing UW-Madison with the financial flexibility to access credit markets, and investing in the future of UW-Madison.

The way forward: Increase state support

The UW-System has fallen through the cracks of the state budget, and troubling signs are starting to show.

Badgers United supports increased state investment to keep UW-Madison competitive with peers across the nation.

Wisconsin has slashed investment, and now revenue cuts from the the ongoing global pandemic has amplified that UW-Madison is significantly under-supported compared to peers by a significant margin.1

*Source: Wisconsin Policy Forum Study, Page 16

For a more detailed breakdown of UW-Madison’s budget, read the 2019-20 Budget in Brief.

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Read Chancellor Rebecca Blank’s most recent State of the University to learn about the changing landscape of higher education in Wisconsin.

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By The Numbers

Less State Funding

In inflation-adjusted dollars, funding has decreased by 21% since 1974.

In State Spending

Wisconsin has seen one of the largest decreases in the country.

State Support per Student

In inflation-adjusted dollars, students receive less money from the state today than in 1974.

THE WAY FORWARD: END THE IN-STATE UNDERGRADUATE TUITION FREEZE

Combined with falling enrollments, the frozen tuition policy has restricted a key funding stream for higher education, depriving the University of desperately needed funding.

BADGERS UNITED SUPPORTS ENDING THE TUITION FREEZE TO ENSURE COMPETITIVE REVENUES FOR UW‑MADISON.

Watch the public hearing for Senate Bill 343 to learn more about proposed solutions to the tuition freeze.

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Learn more about the origins of Wisconsin’s tuition freeze and the data surrounding it.

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By The Numbers

Inflation since 2013

While tuition has remained frozen for over 6 years, costs have not.

Received Free Tuition

Bucky's Tuition Promise guarantees in-state students with Wisconsin's median household adjusted gross income of $60,000 or less receive free tuition and segregated fees.

Out-of-State Tuition Prices

Since the start of the tuition freeze, a need for new sources of revenue has increased.

The way forward: INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF UW‑MADISON

Low faculty pay, a lack of investment in research and development spending and deferred maintenance of crumbling infrastructure, raises significant concern for the financial health and performance of UW-Madison and the state’s larger economy.3

Badgers United supports addressing deferred financial obligations including new capital projects and maintenance programs, keeping faculty salaries competitive and investing in our research program.

Low faculty pay, a lack of investment in research and development spending and deferred maintenance of crumbling infrastructure, raises significant concern for the financial health and performance of UW-Madison and the state’s larger economy.3

*Source: Wisconsin Policy Forum Study, Page 32

Read the full report

Read the Wisconsin Policy Forum’s full report

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Fund the Future of UW‑Madison

The longevity of UW-Madison requires a long-term financial solution that includes bonding authority. Our organization pushes for the political support necessary to make this a reality for UW-Madison. Through a clear, unifying message, Badgers United connects influential people in academia and political circles so they can begin understanding, sharing and supporting our message and goals.
Securing the future of our beloved Flagship isn’t possible without your financial contribution.

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