UWM’s Budget in Brief

Updated March 7, 2017
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From the Chancellor

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides a world class education. Together with our students, faculty and partners, we create powerful learning experiences that transform lives and communities and boost the Wisconsin economy.

Public university budgets are multifaceted and complex. It is absolutely critical that we share how we use the investments we receive from students, the state and its taxpayers, and all who support UWM. With this UW-Milwaukee Budget in Brief our goal is to make clear how we manage the valuable resources we have.

UWM is an administratively lean and fiscally responsible public university, even in the face of challenging national trends and budget cuts. We have a responsibility like no other in Wisconsin that goes beyond being good stewards.

We are Wisconsin’s only public urban research university and are distinguished
by our access mission, serving the largest urban population in the state. We provide higher educational opportunities in an economical fashion that stresses affordability. Indeed, our dual mission is one of Wisconsin’s greatest assets that just keeps on giving: we have produced 178,000 alumni of whom 76% remain in Wisconsin to live and work, providing our state with highly-skilled, innovative, and critically thinking employees. However, the reality is that our dual mission costs more to educate and graduate students.

After reviewing our Budget in Brief, I hope that you see how fiscally responsible we are and that UWM is one of the best values for the state of Wisconsin
in terms of ROI for taxpayers. Now is the me to re-invest in UWM. We will continue to maximize that support by creating talented employees, research and entrepreneurial partnerships that matter, and engagements with community business, education, healthcare, non-profits, arts, and other sectors.

Mark Mone UW-Milwaukee Chancellor

Revenue Sources

UW–Milwaukee gets revenue from multiple sources for its $667 million “redbook” budget. The
university’s mission is supported by state and federal government investments, tuition, research grants, and contributions from friends of the university.b-i-b_v2-1

  • The largest portion of the university’s published budget, more than $228 million, or 34 percent, is from the federal government. Most of this is student financial aid and supports tuition and fees for student.
  • The second‐largest amount ($187 million, or 28 percent) comes from student tuition and fees.
  • Revenues from state government totaled $118 million, or 18 percent of the overall budget. State revenue includes general purpose revenue ($75 million), over which the university has some discretion, and specific‐ purpose revenue ($43 million), which goes to predetermined programs.
  • Revenues from auxiliary enterprises, such as University Housing and the Student Union, account for $97 million, or 15 percent, of the overall budget. This money is collected and spent entirely within these units and typically cannot be used for other university purposes.
  • Revenue from gifts from donors and private grants are 2% ($15 million) of the budget

It is important to note that UWM’s actual operating budget is different than its published budget. $186 million in federal financial aid is included in UWM’s published budget but is passed through to students and eventually a portion is received by UWM in the form of tuition revenues or other receipts. Also, UWM has access to another revenue source ‐ credit online or outreach fees ‐ that is not included in the published budget. With the subtraction of financial aid pass‐through funds, and the addition of credit outreach fees, UWM’s budgeted revenues for operating purposes are $523 million.


Changing Budget Landscape

UWM’s funding sources have shifted over the decades. As the chart below indicates, the amount of support we receive in state funds relative to our overall budget has declined, and the university has become increasingly reliant on private donations, federal dollars, and tuition payments.

The federal funding shown in the chart includes federal financial aid that is passed through to students.

Tuition and Fees

b-i-b_v2-3Tuition and fees are part of the overall cost of attending UW–Milwaukee. Tuition currently is frozen for in-state undergraduates enrolled at UW System campuses. UW–Milwaukee is consistently ranked one of the nation’s best values among public colleges and universities.

UW–Milwaukee ranked twelfth among peer institutions in 2014-’15 for both in-state resident undergraduate tuition and fees and for non-resident undergraduate students.

2016-17 Academic Year Tuition & Required Fees at UW-Milwaukee and Peers


Resident Non-Resident
University  Amount Rank Amount Rank
Temple  $15,384 1 $26,376 6
U. of Illinois-Chicago  $14,816 2 $27,672 4
Rutgers-Newark  $13,829 3 $29,480 2
Wayne State $12,269 4 $26,219 8
U. of Texas-Dallas  $12,162 5 $33,654 1
U. of Louisville $11,068 6 $26,090 9
U. of Cincinnati  $11,000 7 $26,334 7
Georgia State  $10,686 8 $28,896 3
U. of Akron  $9,920 9 $18,451 14
Cleveland State  $9,636 10 $13,687 15
SUNY-Buffalo $9,574 11 $26,812 5
U. of Missouri-Kansas City  $9,563 11 $23,363 10
UW-Milwaukee  $9,493 13 $19,850 12
U. of Toledo  $9,242 14 $18,580 13
U. of New Orleans  $7,150 15 $20,967 11
Average excluding UW-Milwaukee  $11,164 $24,746
UW-Milwaukee distance from average -$1,671 -$4,905

Research Funding

UW‐Milwaukee’s research enterprise is the largest among southeastern Wisconsin universities. The research is wide‐ranging and includes fundamental research, business collaboration, and community engagement. The research and resulting skilled workforce stimulate the economy and support entrepreneurship across the state.

    • Over the last four years, UWM has spent an average of almost $30 million per year from federal and non‐federal sources for research. Federal research programs are the major sources.
    • The largest source of external funding is the National Science Foundation, followed by Health and Human Services.


Distribution of Research Funds

This chart shows how research funding is distributed across the UW–Milwaukee campus.

Faculty and staff across the university—in science, engineering, business, education, social sciences, arts and humanities—compete for research dollars and help grow UWM’s research profile.

This research fuels economic growth and development through the money spent here in the state of Wisconsin to support this research infrastructure.

The research reputation of UW–Milwaukee attracts businesses and generates new start‐up companies.


Gifts and Grants

UW–Milwaukee also receives a significant amount of funding, $25 million in 2015–16, from private gifts, non‐federal grants, private contracts, and licensing fees. These funds are typically earmarked for very specific purposes.

The funds received must be spent on pre-approved projects. They are not allocated for discretionary use.

Both private and public universities across the country increasingly depend upon support from their alumni and friends to help them invest in special programs.

The majority of gift funds at UW–Milwaukee are spent to provide need‐based financial aid to students, to improve facilities, to spur innovation, and to enrich the academic experience.


Auxiliary Funds and Other Revenue

Auxiliary funds are user fees paid for services the university provides to the campus community and general public, such as our residence halls or parking services. UW–Milwaukee budgeted $97 million in auxiliary revenues in 2016–17. These funds typically must be used to support the units where they are collected and cannot be used for other university purposes.

The university budgeted $18 million in revenue in 2014-’15 from other sources, including certifications provided to the public by the School of Letters and Science and the Business School.

Fiscal 2014-15 Expenditures by Unit

Expenditures at UW-Milwaukee reflect our core missions of education, research, and outreach.

  • In the 2013-’14 academic year, nearly $344 million, about 46 percent of our total expenditures, was allocated to our academic units.
  • In addition, 26 percent was spent on support units necessary to the academic and research mission of the university, including auxiliary units, information technology, facilities planning and management, the police department, etc.
UW-Milwaukee Expenditures by Unit 2014-15
(In Millions)
All Revenue Sources
Academic Units All Funds % of
Academic Affairs $21.9 2.9%
Health Sciences $18.8 2.5%
Architecture & Urban Planning $6.3 0.8%
Business Administration $21.7 2.9%
Education $18.8 2.5%
Engineering & Applied Science $24.8 3.3%
Arts $17.9 2.4%
Freshwater Sciences $12.4 1.7%
Office of Research $3.9 0.5%
Graduate School $2.7 0.4%
Information Technology Services $15.9 2.1%
Letters & Science $117.2 15.6%
Library $10.3 1.4%
Information Studies $7.6 1.0%
Nursing $14.5 1.9%
Public Health $9.9 1.3%
Social Welfare $11.3 1.5%
Continuing Education $9.3 1.2%
Academic Support $3.8 0.5%
Subtotal $349.2 46.4%
Support Units All Funds % of
General Educational Administration $14.7 2.0%
Finance & Administrative Affairs $60.6 8.1%
Student Affairs $87.6 11.6%
Unit Wide $35.2 4.7%
Subtotal $198.0 26.3%
Student Financial Aid (Loans) $205.0 27.2%
TOTAL $752.2 100.0%

Faculty and Staff


At UW–Milwaukee, people are our greatest asset. Accordingly, a large portion of our budget—roughly 50 percent—goes toward compensating the faculty, academic staff, and classified staff who support our education and research missions. In addition to the more than 4,800 members of the faculty and staff, the university also employs over 2,800 undergraduate students.

Financial Aid


Though UW–Milwaukee strives to keep higher education affordable, for many students and families, additional help is needed. In 2014‐15, 3 in 4 of UW–Milwaukee undergraduates received some form of financial aid, including student loans.

      •  Through a combination of federal, state, and gift funding, many students received some financial aid. Although we have less aid available than some peer institutions, we work to be good stewards of limited resources by targeting available funds to students with the greatest need.
      • The bottom pie chart shows annual grants, scholarships, loans and other aid for UW-Milwaukee students. Loans include subsidized, unsubsidized, private, state and institutional.
      • Private aid is provided by sources other than the federal/state government and UW-Milwaukee funds, including private donors, nonprofits, and service organizations.

Year-End Fund Balances


In response to directives from the State Legislature and UW System Board of Regents, UW–Milwaukee is working hard to manage fund balances with greater transparency. The university’s tuition balance, as calculated by Legislative Audit Bureau methodology, declined from 15 percent in 2014 to 11 percent in 2016.

      • All of the tuition fund balance is already fully committed to various university programs. Most of the dollars are designated for commitments that have been made but are not yet paid for, such as start-up costs for new schools of Public Health and Freshwater Sciences and faculty and staff hiring.
      • UWM has a very small amount of reserves. Reserves comprise less than 1 percent of annual expenditures and are held as a safeguard against revenue fluctuations caused by enrollment shifts.


Administrative Overhead

UW–Milwaukee’s central administration costs are low compared to its peers.

According to 2015 data, the amount spent on day‐to‐day administrative support as a percentage of total operating expenses at UW–Milwaukee is 15% less than our peer average. These support services include general administrative services, legal and fiscal operations, purchasing and printing, employee personnel and records, and information technology.