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Due to a lack of federal backing, the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point budget will suffer a $2.6 million cut.
“The budget cuts that we have this year resulted from action in the legislature and were approved in the budget by the governor,” said Greg Diemer, the vice chancellor of Business Affairs. “The UW-System is taking a $66 million cut to the budget. The consequence for our campus will be that our budget will be reduced by $2.6 million on the state appropriation side.”
According to Diemer, the university is exploring many different options in an effort to lessen the severity and reach of these impending cuts.
“We’ll try to use some of the enrollment growth that we’ve experienced in the last few years to offset a portion of that $2.6 million. We’re also looking at modifying the way we treat summer session, so we put summer session on a self- budget approach rather than being supported by state appropriation,” Diemer said.
Campus officials also hope that a continued increase in student enrollment will make up for the cutbacks.
“The final thing that were looking at and hoping to do is increase our student body somewhat over the next couple of years and the additional income will help to offset the loss for the budget reduction,” Diemer said. According to Gary Mullins, the associate dean and head of the School of Business and Economics, a lack of educational support by Wisconsin voters can be attributed to these budget cuts.
“It would appear that the voters in the state of Wisconsin have decided public education is not something they really need to support,” Mullins said. “People talk about the cost of higher education, whereas really what they’re talking about is the cost of tuition. The cost of providing an hour of instruction really hasn’t changed that much, but the reason tuition has gone up is because state support has declined.”
Mullins explained that students in one form or another would likely feel these reductions.
“If UWSP’s budget is cut, then the choices are either to cut programs or raise tuition, both of which effect students,” Mullins said.
Currently, UWSP is the only university in the UW-System that has not cut programs in the face of budget constraints.
Diemer is adamant that any decision the university makes will be done with the student body’s best interests in mind.
“We’re going through various approaches to see what would be the best way to do it with the least amount of impact on instructional programs,” Diemer said. “Final decisions have not been made and we’ll continue to talk about this for the next couple months until we make a final decision.”