Information on the Closures of the Waukesha and Washington County Campuses

Following a directive from the Universities of Wisconsin, UWM will close UWM at Waukesha after the Spring 2025 semester.

As part of this transition, UWM will develop a UWM University Center at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC). The University Center model will allow UWM to continue offering affordable higher education in Waukesha County through bachelor’s degree completion and graduate-level offerings. 

UWM will work with current UWM at Waukesha students to help them complete their degree or transfer to the school of their choice. UWM will continue to accept new students to its Waukesha campus for the Fall 2024 semester. Students are also encouraged to apply to UWM’s main campus or to UWM’s top-ranked online programs.

Updates

Frequently Asked Questions

For the Campus Community

When the announcement was made last fall that UWM at Washington County was going to close, you said UWM at Waukesha would remain open and wouldn’t be affected. Why the change in direction?

After announcing the closure of the Washington County campus last October, Chancellor Mark Mone charged a group called the College of General Studies Transformation Team with evaluating several key questions. We hoped to create a clear path to integrate the operations of CGS into the rest of UWM. We also wanted to identify pathways for growth on the Waukesha campus.

This work was in response to a charge by UWs President Rothman to the UWM administration to answer the question: What should the future of the Waukesha campus be in the face of ongoing enrollment declines?

The data discovered during the process were not promising. Enrollment declines have remained consistent at the Waukesha campus, even with additional investments to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing, business, and psychology. Moreover, with WCTC offering associate degrees since January 2023, there simply are not enough students to sustain a separate two-year campus in Waukesha. Although we had truly hoped and believed that we would be able to continue long-term operations at the Waukesha campus, the data and financial realities do not allow for this.

What is going to happen to the UWM at Waukesha facility?

The Universities of Wisconsin administration leases the UWM at Waukesha facilities from Waukesha County. UWM will work closely with the county, the Universities of Wisconsin and local officials as the county evaluates the best future use of the facility. The Waukesha campus remains open through the 2024-2025 academic year but will close after the Spring 2025 semester concludes. UWM advisors will work with UWM at Waukesha students to create a path to degree completion or to help them transfer to the school of their choice.

How does this announcement affect UWM’s main campus?

UWM intends to continue the First Year Bridge program at the main campus. UWM also will continue to invest in local partnerships in Waukesha and Washington counties to create bachelor’s and graduate degree opportunities for students in those counties.

What brought upon this announcement to close UWM at Waukesha?

Enrollment declines have remained consistent at the Waukesha campus for a decade, even with additional investments to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing, business and psychology. While we’ve established additional programs in Waukesha, and have explored more offerings, the declining numbers of students pursuing associate degrees make maintaining a separate campus unsustainable, for UWM or for Waukesha County. The Waukesha campus has experienced more than a 65% enrollment decline since 2014. It has seen a new-student decline of 13% in Fall 2023 and a 10% lag in applications for Fall 2024.

Another key financial indicator: While tuition rates are much lower at UWM at Waukesha, it costs UWM about the same to educate associate degree students at Waukesha as it does to educate bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral-degree-seeking students combined on the Milwaukee campus. As enrollment continues to shrink, operating the Waukesha campus is not financially responsible.

That’s why UW President Rothman issued a directive to UWM to close the Waukesha campus at the end of the Spring 2025 semester.

Will UWM still offer an associate degree?

UWM will not accept applications to a traditional associate degree program after Spring 2025. For existing students and Fall 2024 incoming students, UWM will work with those students to complete their degree or transfer to the school of their choice, including the option to transition to UWM’s main campus. UWM’s Flex AAS program is anticipated to continue.

Will the First Year Bridge Program continue?

Yes, the First Year Bridge Program will continue only at UWM’s main campus in Milwaukee.

What will happen to equipment and assets on the Waukesha campus?

UWM will follow state guidelines on the use of campus assets, including technology, lab materials, athletic equipment and musical instruments. We are committed to providing full services to students and employees through the Spring 2025 semester. More information will be provided as it becomes available.

For Students

General Information

When will the UWM at Waukesha campus be closed?

The campus remains open through the 2024-2025 academic year. Plans call for the Waukesha campus to close after the Spring 2025 semester concludes. UWM will work with all existing and incoming students at UWM at Waukesha to degree completion or transfer to the school of their choice.

Where will classes be held?

No changes are planned for the 2023-2024 or the 2024-2025 academic years. Classes will be held as scheduled at the Waukesha campus. The campus will close after the Spring 2025 semester concludes.

In place of a standalone campus, UWM is developing the UWM University Center at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC). This partnership will allow UWM to provide bachelor’s degree completion options and graduate-level programs on WCTC’s campus.

How will the closure of UWM at Waukesha affect current students?

Over the next 16 months, we will work with current UWM at Waukesha students to help them transition to WCTC, transfer to UWM’s main campus or transfer to the school of their choice. UWM will also work closely with current students to help them access counseling and student support.

Some students may have questions about the TRIO program or their scholarships from the UWM at Waukesha Foundation. Students with questions can contact the Student Affairs Office on the Waukesha campus. UWM will work with each student to address concerns and help create pathways to degree completion.

What should I do if I am a current Waukesha student?

The Waukesha campus remains open through the 2024-2025 academic year, and courses are continuing as scheduled. Talk with your advisor about what degree completion or transfer options, including WCTC, are available to you after the Spring 2025 semester.

I’m a bachelor’s degree-seeking student in nursing, business or psychology at the Waukesha campus. What should I do?

(Updated March 27, 2024)

Please see the nursing, business and psychology program FAQs below.

I am a current student at UWM’s main campus. How does this news affect me?

There is no direct impact to students at UWM’s main campus.

I’m a current student at UWM at Washington County. How does this news affect me?

If you are a student at UWM at Washington County and were planning to transition to UWM at Waukesha, classes will continue through the 2024-2025 academic year. Talk with your advisor about what degree completion or transfer options are available to you after the Spring 2025 semester.

I was planning to transition to UWM at Waukesha (from the Washington County campus or elsewhere). How does this affect me?

If you are planning to transition to UWM at Waukesha for the 2024-2025 academic year, classes will continue. Talk with your advisor about what degree completion or transfer options are available to you after the Spring 2025 semester.

Where will students who live in Waukesha County and the surrounding area take classes in the future?

UWM will continue to offer in-person classes at Milwaukee’s main campus and in UWM’s top-ranked online programs. UWM is developing a four-year degree completion program at the UWM University Center at WCTC.

I had been considering applying to the Associate of Arts and Sciences degree program at UWM at Waukesha. What should I do?

UWM at Waukesha will continue taking student applications until Aug. 14, 2024, for the Fall 2024 semester. Students interested in future terms are encouraged to explore an associate degree at WCTC, or a bachelor’s degree at UWM’s main campus or through our top-ranked online educational offerings.

I applied to or was already admitted to UWM at Waukesha for a future semester. What should I do?

UWM at Waukesha will remain through the 2024-2025 academic year and will close after the Spring 2025 semester, by June 30, 2025. Talk with an academic advisor about what degree completion or transfer options are available to you after the Spring 2025 semester.

If you would like to transition your application to UWM’s main campus, log into your admissions portal and select the Campus Change Request form. The form will prompt you to select a campus and specify an entry term. Typically, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will process the Campus Change Request form within 1-3 business days. (https://admissions.uwm.edu/manage/login)

If I need help with transcripts, credits or have other questions about courses, status or records, who should I contact?

For questions about courses and credits, you should contact your academic advisor. On the Waukesha campus, students can work with an advisor in the Student Affairs office. For questions about transcripts, status and records, contact the Registrar’s Office.

What tuition rate will Waukesha students be charged when they transition to UWM’s main campus or online offerings?

(Updated March 27, 2024) 

Students who transition into one of the available bachelor’s degree programs on the main campus will be charged the listed program rates. Main campus segregated fees will apply.  

Students who choose to finish their UWM associate degree in-person at the main campus will be charged the associate degree program rate through the duration of the teach-out plan, which is anticipated to be available through Spring of 2027 for any AAS students enrolled during Fall 2024 or Spring 2025. Main campus segregated fees will apply. 

Students who choose to finish their UWM associate degree online will be charged the online associate degree program rate through the duration of the teach-out plan, which is anticipated to be available through Spring of 2027 for any AAS students enrolled during Fall 2024 or Spring 2025. 

Students who choose to transition to the online Flex AAS will be charged the listed program rate.  

How will our scholarships be handled going forward? Some of our scholarships are for two years.

UWM is working with the UWM at Waukesha Foundation to address this question.

Do I still have to transfer even if I’m taking online classes?

Over the next 16 months, we will work with current UWM at Waukesha students to complete their coursework via the online degree offerings. As more information becomes available, UWM will work with students individually.

Business Program

These FAQs are for Waukesha business students. The questions and answers below do not pertain to the broader group of College of General Studies (CGS) students.

Will UWM allow students to declare a General Business major at Waukesha for Fall 2024? What about Spring 2025?

The Lubar College of Business plans to continue admitting pre-business and business students at the Waukesha campus for the academic year 2024-2025. Upon the closure of Waukesha campus after the Spring 2025 semester, we will provide pathways for the affected pre-business and business students at the Waukesha campus to earn a BBA degree from the Sheldon B. Lubar College of Business.

Is there space at UWM’s main campus for all General Business at Waukesha students to change locations? And are there any constraints on when they may do so?

There are no issues with capacity, should any Waukesha students want to switch to the Milwaukee campus at any time during academic year 2024-25 or in Fall 2025. Students can just ask for their campus to be changed, at any time.

Is there sufficient capacity online for all academic year 2024-25 General Business at Waukesha students to change to online if they desire? And are there any constraints on when they may do so?

There is great demand for online courses, so students should register as soon as they are eligible for the best availability in online courses. We will do our best to accommodate students interested in online courses just as we do with current students.

Will General Business be offered at the UWM University Center at WCTC in Fall 2025, so that Waukesha General Business students can stay in Waukesha?

UWM is developing plans for a UWM University Center at WCTC and will then seek approval of our accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission, for the additional location.

The Sheldon B. Lubar College of Business currently has articulation agreements with WCTC for students completing their AAS in Business Management or the AAS in Supply Chain Management.  We are also exploring the possibility of an accounting agreement. The college is also committed to participating in the proposed UWM University Center on the WCTC campus to provide a pathway to earn a BBA degree.

I applied to UWM at Waukesha for General Business. May I switch my application to the main campus?

If you would like to transition your application to UWM’s main campus, log into your admissions portal and select the Campus Change Requestform. The form will prompt you to select a campus and specify an entry term. Typically, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will process the Campus Change Request form within one to three business days.

Nursing Program

These FAQs are for Waukesha pre-nursing and nursing students. The questions and answers below do not pertain to the broader group of College of General Studies (CGS) students.

I’m a prospective nursing student. What should I do?

Pre-nursing students who intend to start the professional nursing major after June 2025 should apply to UWM’s nursing program for the Milwaukee or UW-Parkside sites, depending on their preference. 

I’m a current nursing student at UWM at Waukesha. What will happen to me?

Students in the professional major (i.e., current juniors and seniors) will graduate in May 2024 (seniors) and May 2025 (juniors). You will continue your courses on the Waukesha campus until you graduate. The campus closure will not affect you.

What happens if I cannot graduate with my Waukesha cohort?

If a student currently in the professional major doesn’t graduate by May 2025, for example if they get behind their cohort due to dropping or failing a class, they will be offered space at the UW-Milwaukee main campus.

I plan to apply to start the nursing professional major in January 2025. What should I do?

Note: The information below details the plan for Waukesha students in this situation. Please read all this information carefully.

  • Waukesha students will apply for admission to the professional major using the same process that all students use (i.e. holistic admissions). Waukesha students will have the option to choose their preferred site (Waukesha or Milwaukee).
  • Space: There will be enough space in the Waukesha cohort for all Waukesha students who qualify for the professional major through the nursing holistic admission process.
  • Nursing students admitted to the Waukesha cohort that begin the professional major in January 2025 will complete semester 1 on the Waukesha campus. Students will then transfer to the UWM Milwaukee campus for Fall 2025 and complete semesters 2, 3 and 4 at the Milwaukee campus.
  • Tuition and Fees: During their first semester, Waukesha nursing students will pay Waukesha’s segregated fees. For semesters 2, 3 and 4, they will pay UWM’s segregated fees. Tuition costs between the campuses are the same. 
  • Waukesha nursing students will maintain their cohort. This means Waukesha nursing students admitted in January 2025 will be taught a separate section of all theory and clinical courses throughout all four semesters of their program. This will be known as the “Waukesha Nursing Cohort.” This cohort will include all students who completed the holistic admissions process and meet all program eligibility requirements to start the professional nursing major at the Waukesha campus in January 2025.
  • The January 2025 cohort of students is the only time this cohort experience will be offered for Waukesha students. All other students after this date will apply to the professional nursing major at either the Milwaukee or Parkside sites. 
  • The UWM Nursing program is committed to finding clinical sites for Waukesha students as close to Waukesha as possible. Clinicals may be in the surrounding area (within a 45-minute drive one-way of the Waukesha campus). 
  • Simulation: Waukesha students already come to the Milwaukee campus for simulation, so this will not be a change in the current practice.
  • In Fall 2025, the Waukesha Nursing cohort will take their Clinical Nursing Skills II (N423) class at the simulation center on the Milwaukee campus. Students will have completed the pre-requisite to N423, Clinical Nursing Skills I (N354), in Spring 2025 on the Waukesha campus.
  • If a student in the Waukesha cohort that moves to UWM gets behind their cohort due to dropping or failing a class, they’ll be offered space at the UW-Milwaukee main campus.
I heard that a four-year Nursing degree from UWM would be available at WCTC. Is this true?

The partnership the UWM School of Nursing has with WCTC is for RN-to-BSN completion. This is where students who complete their Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) can seamlessly transfer into UWM’s RN-to-BSN Nursing program online to complete their Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BS in Nursing). There are no plans currently to establish a traditional on-site 4-year BS in Nursing program at WCTC.

If I apply to the nursing professional major, starting in January 2025, will I have to compete for a seat at the main UWM campus among a larger applicant pool?

No. Waukesha students will be admitted to their own cohort in January 2025, and Waukesha students will be taught in their own Waukesha section of all courses on the Milwaukee campus semesters 2, 3 and 4, provided students do not get behind. 

Psychology Program

These FAQs are for Waukesha psychology students. The questions and answers below do not pertain to the broader group of College of General Studies (CGS) students.

What are the degree completion options for current declared Psychology majors at Waukesha?

Students who are declared undergraduates in the Psychology major at Waukesha can continue to pursue their degree at Waukesha through Spring 2025. Students who do not graduate by May 2025 can change locations and join the main campus Psychology major. The requirements for both programs are the same, so it will be a seamless transition. Students can choose to enroll in person, online or in a mixed modality. Students also can opt to change their location and join the main campus Psychology major prior to Spring 2025.

Will UWM allow any AAS students to declare a Psychology major at Waukesha for Fall 2024? What about Spring 2025?

Yes. Waukesha students who are AAS students during academic year 2024-25 can internally transfer into the undergraduate career as declared Psych majors anytime during academic year 2024-25, and move to online, in-person at UWM’s main campus, or a mix during or after Spring 2025. Generally speaking, AAS students are advised to apply for internal transfer in the semester they are completing the AAS, but they could do the transfer at any time and move forward in the BA Psych program.

Is there space at UWM’s main campus for all declared Psychology at Waukesha students to change locations? And are there any constraints on when they may do so?

There are no problems with capacity should any Waukesha students want to switch to the Milwaukee campus at any time during academic year 2024-25 or in Fall 2025. Students can just ask for their campus to be changed, at any time.

Is there sufficient capacity online for all intended Psychology at Waukesha students to change to online if they desire? And are there any constraints on when they may do so?

We currently have quite full online sections in Psychology, so in the unlikely event that nearly all Psychology at Waukesha students choose to switch to online-only, if we hit capacity limits, we will need to add additional resources to accommodate all students.

Will Psychology be offered by the UWM University Center at WCTC in Fall 2025 so that Waukesha Psychology students can stay in Waukesha?

We are developing plans for a UWM University Center at WCTC and will then seek approval of our accreditation agency, the Higher Learning Commission, for the additional location. We hope to know by early Fall 2024 which programs we will be able to offer at WCTC in Fall of 2025.

I applied to UWM at Waukesha for Psychology. May I switch my application to the main campus?

If you would like to transition your application to UWM’s main campus, log into your admissions portal and select the Campus Change Request form. The form will prompt you to select a campus and specify an entry term. Typically, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions will process the Campus Change Request form within 1-3 business days.

For Employees

Will I be laid off?

(Updated April 11, 2024)

Because the Waukesha campus will be closing effective June 30, 2025, most employees will receive nonrenewal or layoff notices, depending on employment category. UWM will follow all applicable processes and notice periods, depending on the employee category. UWM anticipates retaining most Waukesha employees through the 2024-25 academic year. 

The process for tenured faculty layoffs will follow Regent Policy Document 20-24. UWM has not yet issued a program discontinuance proposal to begin that process. UWM anticipates doing so over the next several weeks. Faculty will not receive layoff notices unless and until the program discontinuance proposal is approved by the Board of Regents. 

As UWM works with WCTC to create the UWM University Center at WCTC, we anticipate students will pursue their associate degree at WCTC and WCTC’s enrollment will grow. UWM is also working closely with WCTC to provide information and other resources for employment opportunities there. Opportunities at WCTC may be available as enrollment growth supports.

WCTC has current openings, and CGS employees are encouraged to pursue them at any time: https://www.wctc.edu/jobs.php.

We will provide more information as quickly as possible.

When will I receive a notice?

(Updated April 11, 2024)

For academic staff subject to the nonrenewal process, UWM will provide such notices no later than May 19, 2024.  

For university staff subject to layoff, UWM will provide notices no later than June 30, 2024. 

Faculty will not receive layoff notices unless and until the program discontinuance proposal is approved by the Board of Regents under Regent Policy Document 20-24. UWM has not yet submitted that proposal for consideration by faculty governance per 20-24 but expects to do so over the next several weeks. 

I’m a tenured faculty member. What will happen to me?

(Updated March 21, 2024)

UWM anticipates that tenured faculty will be laid off by the end of the Spring 2025 semester.

The process for tenured faculty layoffs will follow Regent Policy Document 20-24. UWM has not yet issued a program discontinuance proposal to begin that process. UWM anticipates doing so over the next several weeks. 

UWM is working closely with WCTC to provide information and other resources for employment opportunities there. Opportunities at WCTC may be available as enrollment growth supports.

WCTC has current openings, and CGS employees including faculty, are encouraged to pursue them at any time: https://www.wctc.edu/jobs.php.

We will provide more information as quickly as possible.

Will any CGS employees be absorbed into the UWM main campus?

(Updated March 26, 2024)

UWM is working with CGS leadership throughout this transition to determine what support is needed at the main campus, and if funding is available. 

If I am a tenured faculty member who has been laid off, what are my rights?

Tenured faculty members who have been laid off have the rights described in Wis. Stat. 36.22. This includes reappointment rights under Wis. Stat. sec. 36.22(13) and other rights under Wis. Stat. sec. 36.22(15).   

Reappointment under Wis. Stat. sec. 36.22(13) relates to positions with “reasonably comparable duties,” which will be examined on a case-by-case basis as UWM has hiring needs within the reappointment period. A tenured faculty member who is reappointed under Wis. Stat. sec. 36.22(13) will retain their rank and salary, as outlined in Wis. Stat. sec. 36.22(14)

If I am laid off or nonrenewed, am I eligible for unemployment benefits?

Information on eligibility can be found in the Handbook for Claimants from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). See the DWD Unemployment Benefits for Claimants webpage for more information.

What is UWM’s role in the application process for unemployment benefits?

Unemployment insurance/compensation claims are processed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD). UWM’s role is to answer the DWD’s request for information in a timely and factual manner.

Where should I direct questions about unemployment benefits?

Unemployment benefits are administered by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) at dwd.wisconsin.gov/ui. You will find answers to many questions in the DWD Unemployment Benefits Resources. If you are unable to go online, you can call the Department of Workforce Development at 414-435-7069 or toll-free at 844-910-3661 during business hours, Monday through Friday, 6:15 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The DWD reports that Mondays and Tuesdays are its busiest days, so be prepared for potential delays. 

With the creation of a UWM University Center at WCTC, will CGS employees be hired by WCTC?

As UWM works with WCTC to create the UWM University Center at WCTC, we anticipate students will pursue their associate degree at WCTC and WCTC’s enrollment will grow. As it does, WCTC has committed to UWM that it will seek to make employment opportunities available to UWM faculty and other staff as enrollment growth supports.

UWM is working closely with WCTC to provide information and other resources for employment opportunities there. Opportunities at WCTC may be available as enrollment growth supports.

WCTC has current openings, and CGS employees are encouraged to pursue them at any time: https://www.wctc.edu/jobs.php.

We will provide more information as quickly as possible.

I am a UWM employee who works in a unit other than CGS. Will I be affected?

UWM evaluates its workforce needs on an ongoing basis, but this decision is limited to closing CGS. If employees have questions about their unit’s budgetary situation and workforce plans, they should contact their supervisor.

Where do I go for support and any questions?

(Updated April 2, 2024)

We will provide more information as quickly as possible. Please review the FAQs for updates.

On Wednesday, April 3, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., UWM Human Resources benefits specialists a representative from our employee assistance program will be at UWM at Waukesha, Room C101, to offer information and additional resources. A presentation on VSIP is at 11 a.m. and noon, and benefits consultations are from noon-2 p.m. A representative from Acentra Health, the employee assistance program provider, will also be available for consultations from noon-2 p.m. in Room A100.

On Wednesday, April 10, from 10 a.m.-noon, a counselor with the Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds will be at UWM at Waukesha, Room C101, to provide a retirement presentation, a Q&A session and resources for employees. An additional UWM benefits consultation session will be from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

For urgent HR questions, please reach out to your Human Resources Business Partner.

Employees are encouraged to use the services of UWM’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), through Acentra Health, which is available to all UWM employees and their family members. Acentra Health is free, confidential and available 24/7. Please contact Acentra Health at 833-539-7285 or online at sowi.mylifeexpert.com. Sign in using UWM’s password: SOWI.

Voluntary Separation Incentive Program 2024

Voluntary Separation Incentive Program General Terms 2024

What is the purpose of a Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP)?

(Updated March 26, 2024)

This Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) provides a one-time separation incentive for eligible University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee employees, authorized by the chancellor, to offer an additional option to eligible faculty who may be subject to layoff. The VSIP is not being offered to close the Waukesha campus earlier than the end of the Spring 2025 semester. The planned closing date for the Waukesha campus is still between the end of the Spring 2025 semester and June 30, 2025.

Is the VSIP part of my benefits package?

No, the VSIP is not an entitlement or benefit, but rather is intended to supplement the range of budget management options available to the chancellor. 

Who is eligible to participate in the VSIP?

College of General Studies tenured faculty and limited appointees with a concurrent tenured faculty position, who are eligible for a partial or full retirement annuity from the State of Wisconsin (i.e., 55 years of age and five years of service in most cases, with some differences depending on the employee’s start date), including those currently on a leave of absence or sabbatical. 

Who is not eligible for participation?

Otherwise eligible employees who have submitted written notice of retirement/resignation, have been provided notice of non-renewal, or layoff, or an at-risk letter prior to March 11, 2024, when CGS’s closure was announced.  

Employees who are not College of General Studies tenured faculty and limited appointees with a concurrent tenured faculty position. 

College of General Studies tenured faculty and limited appointees with a concurrent faculty position who are not eligible for a partial or full retirement annuity from the state. 

Why are only certain tenured faculty eligible for the VSIP?

The faculty layoff process is the longest and most complicated of our employee separation processes. It will take approximately 15-17 months, so this alternative will expedite that separation while allowing those faculty to plan immediately for their futures. It also offers an additional option to eligible faculty who may be subject to layoff. Because of the cost involved, UWM cannot offer the VSIP for all affected staff and is reserving the option for those subject to the long layoff process. UWM has only ever offered the VSIP to employees eligible for retirement with a full or partial annuity. 

What is the incentive?

For tenured faculty, including faculty on leave or sabbatical: an amount equal to 100% of the employee’s base salary as of March 11, 2024. 

For limited appointees with a concurrent tenured faculty position: an amount equal to 100% of the employee’s faculty base salary as of March 11, 2024. 

What are the separation dates?

Employees participating in the VSIP may select the following separation dates:  

  1. May 19, 2024, or  
  2. Aug. 23, 2024 
    1. Employees who select the Aug. 23, 2024, separation date must return to work on Aug. 19, 2024, and work Aug. 19–Aug. 23, 2024, to remain eligible for the VSIP. UWM will assign work for the week.  
If I choose the Aug. 23 separation date, what will my work assignment be from Aug. 19-23?

The work assignments have yet to be determined but would likely relate to fall welcome activities or CGS closure tasks. 

What are the requirements of retirement eligibility under the Wisconsin Retirement System (WRS)?

You are eligible to receive retirement benefits when: 

  1. You end all WRS-covered employment; and 
  2. You are vested in the Wisconsin Retirement System; and 
  3. You reach the minimum retirement age of 55 (age 50 for those in the Protective WRS category). 
How will I know if I am eligible to participate in the VSIP?

The UWM Department of Human Resources notified all potentially eligible employees, via email, of their eligibility on March 25, 2024, with a VSIP separation agreement.  

I believe I am eligible for VSIP participation as defined by the eligibility requirements but I did not receive a letter informing me of my eligibility. What Should I do?

Please contact your assigned HR Business Partner or Benefits Specialist.  

How is my base salary calculated?

Base salary will be based upon appointment total FTE percentage on March 11, 2024, and does not include overload, overtime, WinteriM and/or summer payment, increases due to an interim appointment or any other payments above base salary.

Why is March 11, 2024, the date used to determine the base salary?

March 11, 2024, is the date the chancellor announced the closure of the College of General Studies.  

When will I receive payment?

The incentive will be paid in a lump sum payment on the paycheck immediately prior to separation.  

If you wish to update your tax withholdings, please  

  1. Update your W-4 via self-service
  2. Review the Universities of Wisconsin tip sheet
Is the VSIP lump payment reportable as earnings under the Wisconsin Retirement System?

No. A VSIP lump sum payment is not WRS-reportable, per ETF Retirement System Administration Manual ET-1127

What are my options for disbursement of the VSIP incentive payment?

There are two disbursement options available for the incentive payment. 

  1. A lump sum payment. 
  2. Contributions to a Health Savings Account, 403(b), 457 or similar plan for which the employee may be eligible at the time of separation within the established contributions for each plan. Employees must have taken the necessary steps to establish such a plan before any contribution can be made to it. 

If contributing to SRP 403(b), you must:  

  1. Be enrolled with the vendor prior to the first contributions taking place – https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/ret/tsa/ 
  2. Complete a salary reduction agreement (SRA) form – https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/download/ret/tsa/sra/sra.pdf 
  3. Write on top of the SRA form: SEPARATION INCENTIVE. 
  4. If you need to change it back or stop AFTER the separation incentive is paid, you will need to complete another form indicating the change/stop. Submit both forms at the same time. 
    1. Write on top of the second SRA: AFTER SEPARATION INCENTIVE PAID. 

If contributing to WDC 457 Plan:  

  1. Enroll now with WDC (877-457-9327). You must be enrolled at least one month before the first contributions take place. https://www.wisconsin.edu/ohrwd/benefits/ret/wdc/ 
  2. Let WDC know the amount and when to expect it to be contributed. 
  3. UW System will work with WDC directly to process the contribution. 

If distributing to Health Savings Account (HSA): 

  1.  Complete an HSA Change form as a one-time contribution. https://www.optum.com/content/dam/optum4/resources/pdf/of-etf-election-change-request-pre-tax-benefit-accounts.pdf 
    1. Write on top of form: LEAVE PAYOUT. 
Can I take the incentive payment in a combination of the disbursement options?

Yes. However, no combination of the methods selected may exceed the maximum payment amount for which an employee qualifies. 

Is the VSIP payment taxable?

To ensure accurate information that considers your personal circumstances, you should consult with a tax advisor or consultant regarding tax liability for the VSIP payment. General information about typical tax treatment of elective deferrals follows. 

The VSIP payment is subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes. The portion of the VSIP payment used to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes is considered taxable income for federal and state tax purposes, which creates a federal and state tax liability. Therefore, the entire amount of the VSIP payment cannot be tax-deferred with the UW 403(b) SRP or the WDC 457 Program.  

Will I be required to sign a separation agreement?

Yes.

What is the separation agreement submission timeframe?

March 25, 2024–May 10, 2024. 

Can I negotiate the separation agreement?

The separation agreement is non-negotiable, though no employee is required to participate in the program if the agreement’s terms are not acceptable to the employee.

Will UWM provide me with advice and counsel regarding tax or legal consequences as a result of participation in the VSIP?

No, employees are responsible for consulting their own tax or financial advisor, attorney or another advisor. 

If I have accrued leave, may I use that to extend my last day of employment, even if it goes beyond the range of separation dates available in the program?

No. Any and all accrued leave, including banked leave, must be paid out in a lump sum upon separation if you participate in the VSIP. The VSIP is a voluntary program and there is no requirement that an employee participate in the program.  

After separation under the VSIP, may I be rehired by UWM?

VSIP participants are not eligible to be employed by UWM for a minimum of 75 days from the date of separation. 

What benefits will employees receive after they have separated from UWM?

Employees are eligible for benefits as prescribed through employee participation in the Wisconsin Retirement System. 

I would like to retire upon separation. What steps should I take?

(Updated, March 27, 2024)

  1. Review Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds materials and the Retirement Checklist.
  2. The Wisconsin Department of Employee Trust Funds (ETF) representatives will be at the UWM at Waukesha campus on April 10, 2024, from 10 a.m. to noon to provide information about retirement and answer specific questions about your retirement situation.  
  3. You may contact ETF at 877-533-5020 or 608-266-3285 at any time before or after April 10, 2024, with questions regarding your retirement. 
  4. Review the UWM Retirement and Universities of Wisconsin Retirement page for resources.  
What if I’m not ready to claim my pension?

You are not required to formally retire and claim your retirement benefits to participate in the VSIP.  

What happens to my health insurance benefits if I separate without retiring?

Your health insurance coverage terminates at the end of the month in which you separate.  

What happens to my accumulated sick leave credits if I do not retire upon separation?

Please closely review the Sick Leave Credit Conversion Program Brochure | ETF (wi.gov). In most cases, you must be covered under the State of Wisconsin Group Health Insurance Program when you separate to be eligible to use your sick leave credits to pay health insurance premiums. There are limited exceptions.

What will happen to my other benefits if I do not retire?
Am I required to participate in the VSIP?

No. Participation in the VSIP is completely voluntary.

Where do I go to learn more about the VSIP?

(Updated, March 27, 2024)

The UWM Department of Human Resources benefits specialists will host a VSIP presentation for interested employees on April 3, 2024, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at UWM at Waukesha and be available for in-person consultations. For appointments or questions, email benefits@uwm.edu.  

What is the complete timeline for the VSIP?
ActionDate
Program Announcement March 25
HR notifies individual employees of eligibility and provides separation agreement March 25
Period of time participants may submit signed separation agreement March 25 – May 10 
Separation date May 19 or Aug. 23 
VSIP Payout Date May 17 or Aug. 23 
Last Paycheck with Leave Payout May 30 or Sept. 5 
If I have additional questions that were not answered, who should I contact?

Questions regarding your specific retirement benefits should be directed to ETF

Questions regarding your specific tax, financial or legal questions should be directed to your personal tax and financial advisors, attorney or another advisor.  

For all other questions, please contact benefits@uwm.edu or your assigned HR Business Partner or Benefits Specialist.