Chancellor’s Update: 2017-19 Biennial Budget

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As we start to enact the 2017-19 biennial budget, I am sharing a summary of what this budget means for UWM. There are several components that will help advance UWM’s Strategic Opportunities to provide an outstanding learning environment, be an exceptional research university, and serve as a community engagement leader.

Here are some operating budget details:

  • The $50M lapse ($25M base) from the 2015-17 budget is restored to UW System (UWS). UWM is receiving $5.1M of these funds, which is 20% of the total. We are grateful to receive a larger distribution than our usual share of 13.6%.
  •  There is $36M in new funding for UWS, including $28.8M in ongoing base funds of which $26.25M is tied to performance metrics. These include retention and graduation rates, number of STEM and health field graduates, research expenditures, strategic plan initiatives, quality of students’ educational experience, and student preparation for life after graduation.
  •  This performance funding includes $5M in one-time funds to increase high-demand degree programs in engineering, information technology, and nursing; the funds will be distributed to institutions through a competitive process overseen by the Department of Workforce Development.
  •  A $6M increase in financial aid for UWS students.
    • Continuation of the tuition freeze for in-state undergraduate students for a fifth and sixth year through the 2017-19 biennium.
  •  An unfunded expansion of the veteran’s tuition remissions program.
  •  A requirement for the UWS Board of Regents (BOR) to ensure that student segregated fees are classified consistently among UW institutions.
  •  A prohibition of BOR policy requiring candidates for the positions of President, Chancellor or Vice Chancellor to have faculty status.

The capital budget includes $33.5M for updates to the Sandburg residence halls and $52.2M to address infrastructure and limited renovations in the Northwest Quad (NWQ). For efficiency, in NWQ we will simultaneously build out the Norris Health Center, utilizing $11M previously enumerated in the 2013-15 budget. We are thankful for receiving more capital budget funding than most UW institutions; however, we have current additional needs including $23.5M for renovations and repairs in the Chemistry and Engineering, Math and Science buildings, as well as updates to the fiber optic cabling for our main campus. We will continue to advocate for funding support for those critical needs.

Subject to approval from the Joint Committee on Employment Relations (JCOER), the budget includes a pay plan of 4.04% to be distributed in two separate wage adjustments in July of 2018 and January of 2019. The 4.04% is an aggregate total for UWM; actual salary increases for individual employees will vary. The pay plan requires the increases to be based on merit, and thus we need to assess faculty and staff performance. UWM must proceed with executing the pay plan process to be prepared should it be approved by JCOER. UWM will need to fund 30% of the pay plan, while the state compensation fund provides the remainder. Overall, this is the best pay plan for UWM faculty and staff in over a decade.

We are in a new era in which some of our funding is based on outcomes such as retention and graduation rates, number of STEM and health field graduates, research expenditures, strategic plan initiatives, quality of students’ educational experience, and student preparation for life after graduation. We will hear more from UWS about how we will be assessed, but in the meantime, I am pleased to report that UWM is seeing success in these areas. As of fall 2017, UWM reached a historic high retention rate of 73.9% and experienced a significant increase in first to second year retention of African American students from 61.2% in 2016-2017 to 66.8% in 2017-2018. These remarkable accomplishments are owed to the dedication and commitment of our faculty and staff. We all make daily contributions to UWM – whether it is teaching a class, advising a student, cleaning a classroom, or making a research discovery. I thank each of you for your efforts.

I will continue to provide budget updates as they become available and wish you well as we enter a busy time of the semester.

Best regards,

Mark A. Mone
Chancellor
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

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