State budget could limit spending at university

Wisconsin’s proposed budget for 2011-2012 could cost UW-Whitewater to cut $4.3 million from its base budget.

Faculty met last week at the senate meeting to discuss the potential outcomes of UW-Whitewater, which is dependent on Gov. Scott Walker’s proposal.

Telfer

Walker’s budget proposal could drain up to $250 million throughout the UW System by cutting certain programs and services.

“We’re going to do everything we can to have it not affect the classroom,” Chancellor Richard Telfer said.

Preserving access to classes and keeping class sizes as low as possible are some goals the university hopes to achieve.

Telfer said raising tuition modestly won’t affect student enrollment too much because of student’s understanding that a quality education could cost a little more.

The deficit could be counterbalanced by a 5.5 percent increase in tuition, which would cost students roughly $300 more per year.

“It is not a huge amount and I think we have to do things as a campus and as a UW System,” Telfer said. “We have to keep pushing increases as modestly as we can, understanding the state is spending less.”

Raising tuition is not guaranteed yet, but the thought is in progress. The increased tuition would allow UW-Whitewater to regain $2.8 million from its deficit.

Certain services may be less available to students if the budget gets approved. Telfer said specific classes may become unavailable on a regular basis, but he hopes to counteract that as much as possible.

Having a larger enrollment in the 2011-2012 school year could help make up for some of the deficit, but the decision has not been made. The fall semester could bring in roughly 100 or more students at UW-Whitewater.

Enrollment continues to stay strong on campus, which keeps UW-Whitewater in good shape financially, Telfer said.

“If enrollment slips, then that creates some other problems,” Telfer said. “That leaves us short of funds, so we need to make sure we continue with a high enrollment.”

Financial aid will present UW-Whitewater with a bigger issue than tuition, Telfer said. Without federal or state financial aid, students have a harder time enrolling in school.

The university plans to add 32 new positions beginning in the fall, Telfer said.

Campus has tried to be as entreprenurial as possible, making the shortfall seem not so abrupt, Telfer said.

Providing students with important educational opportunities will present difficulty at the university if programs and classes need to be cut.

“If we don’t provide a great experience for our students, it doesn’t work,” Telfer said. “We don’t get the quality education that we’re trying to do. We’re going to try and minimize the difficulty of the budget as much as we can.”

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