The Academic Planning and Budget Committee talked about the possibility of furloughs as a viable solution for UW-Milwaukee in the possibility of massive budget cuts during their last meeting.
According to Robin Van Harpen the university could generate about $6 million from furloughs, and faculty and staff would find a 3 percent decrease in salary depending on how the days are implemented.
“It really would be a temporary situation, two years maximum,” Van Harpen said. “One option is to not do it this year and to use these other measures and see how much we can get.”
She said that the cost containment measures, such as temporary freezes of unnecessary travel and salary increases, will hopefully produce extra cash revenue for the year, but also admitted they do not currently know the aggregate number these cash containment measures will produce.
“We don’t have good way of quantifying that,” Van Harpen said. “According to our data which is not perfect by the way that we track it, but we spend about $5 million a year in travel, but most of that is essential travel.”
Van Harpen said that UWM has little money reserved that is not already assigned to different departments. The university had about $84 million in what she called “carry forward” balances at the end of fiscal year 2014.
“Those balances are committed for many purposes, including legal obligations,” Van Harpen said. “Only about $1 million of the balances were considered true reserves or did not have a documented plan associated with it.”
UWM also conducted a study and found areas where the university could raise tuition without loosing applicants to different programs. They suggested to the Board of Regents a 2.5 percent increase for non-resident and non-MSEP undergraduate and graduate tuition, a 3 percent increase for UWM Heath Sciences Master’s Programs for nonresident grate tuition, and a 5.5 percent increase for Business Master’s Programs for resident and nonresident tuition.
If approved, the university would expect to see $1.4 million in revenue from the increased tuition.
While all campuses are looking at how to reduce their budget, UWM is the only campus considering furloughs.
“Some choose layoffs,” Provost Johnannes Britz said.
UW-Eau Claire announced that they would offer staff buyouts the same day as the meeting.
UWM has not said they are looking into layoffs, but Van Harpen said everything, including shrinking staff, is on the table.
Photos by Jordyn Noennig