As more details of the state budget proposal are released, impacts specific to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point are being identified.
Administrators are anticipating a $6.4 million, or 17 percent, base budget cut. This number is based on the percentage UWSP has taken in past UW System cuts. The amount is the third highest in the system.
Many programs at UWSP are supported through state segregated funds, which is a different source than the tax support received through the UW System budget. In addition to the base cut, $1,524,473 in this funding for UWSP has been excluded from Gov. Walker’s proposal.
“Our baseline cut combined with the exclusion of the segregated funds other UW schools do not have could make us the most affected university in the system,” said Chancellor Bernie Patterson.
The lack in this funding would impact programs and initiatives within the College of Letters and Science and the College of Natural Resources including aquaculture, environmental education, solid waste research and outdoor skills training, among others.
Patterson said these programs are meant to stimulate economic growth both for the university and community, as well as the state.
In the past, UWSP raised tuition in order to remedy cuts. With the proposed additional two-year freeze, this would not be an option.
Patterson said differential tuition is one source of revenue the administration is looking to that could potentially make up for some of the cuts.
Differential tuition is a separate tuition that would be paid by UWSP students and used specifically for campus. In 2013, campus voted in favor of it shortly before the current two-year freeze was implemented.
Differential tuition would be aimed at reducing bottleneck courses and allowing more academic advising.
“It would just make good business sense,” Patterson said. “Students would rather pay an extra $200 per semester than stay additional semesters or years to get into the right classes.”
To stay informed as more details are released and decisions are made regarding the proposed cuts, visit UWSP’s informational web page at www.uwsp.edu/chancellor/Pages/budget. There are also two upcoming open forums hosted by the Student Government Association:
Feb. 16, 4 p.m., DUC Laird Room
Feb. 23, 6 p.m., DUC Theater
“If anyone can figure this out and move forward, it is the students, faculty, staff and administration at this university,” Patterson said. “We’ve been here for 121 years, and we’ll be here 121 years from now.”
News and Environment Editor