Robin Van Harpen, UW-Milwaukee’s vice chancellor of finance and administrative affairs, said the UWM administration views Governor Scott Walker’s proposed 2013-2015 budget, which includes a $181.4 million increase to the UW System, as a “the most positive governor’s proposed budget that we’ve seen in a number of years.”
“The proposed budget appears to take into account the important role that UWM and other UW System institutions play in educating our Wisconsin residents and ultimately boosting the economy,” Van Harpen said.
The specific amount UWM will receive from the increase is yet to be determined, but the university represents roughly 13 percent of the UW System budget.
At the UW System Board of Regents meeting on March 7, Freda Harris, the UW System’s associate vice president in charge of budget and planning, said the budget could potentially mean the lowest tuition increases in years. Van Harpen agreed, saying that, if the budget passes, UWM students could expect a smaller tuition increase, although that exact amount is still unclear.
Van Harpen said a large percentage of the funding would go toward ongoing costs, including increases in utilities and fringe benefits, as well as previously-approved construction and renovation projects and leases.
The budget also sets aside $2 million for the UW Flexible Option, an online degree program that is designed to help working adults continue their education. According to the program’s website, UWM is taking the lead, with four different colleges developing online degree or certificate programs
- The College of Nursing will offer both bachelor’s and master’s degrees for registered nurses seeking higher credentials.
- The College of Health Sciences will develop a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Sciences.
- The School of Information Studies will offer a bachelor’s degree in Information Science and Technology.
- The College of Letters and Science will offer a Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication.
The budget also includes the $20 million Economic Incentive Grant for UW institutions, a new initiative which supports other UW System initiatives that address economic development, the development of a skilled workforce and college affordability for students.