Budget Priorities for a World-Class University

A new engineering building. A compensation plan to attract and retain the best faculty and staff. New investment of state funding to boost the university’s research and academic excellence. Greater flexibility to pursue building and maintenance projects.

These are among UW–Madison’s top budget priorities heading into the new legislative session.

“A strong UW–Madison is a tremendous benefit to Wisconsin, spurring economic growth and providing world-class education and life-changing research that benefits the state and beyond,” says Charles Hoslet, vice chancellor for University Relations. “We will be working with Governor Tony Evers and legislative leaders to share our priorities and help them understand how they will allow us to do even more for the people and businesses of our state.”

The $355.7 million engineering building (with $150 million coming from UW gifts and grants) would produce hundreds of new graduates in fields that Wisconsin employers desperately need. New, state-of-the-art engineering facilities would help keep and attract talented faculty members, sustaining the college’s top standing in research and graduate education. The engineering building is one of a handful of capital project requests, including expanding and renovating the McClain Athletic Facility, a project that would be paid for entirely by university program revenue and gift funds from donors. 

UW–Madison is the only major university in the country unable to borrow money — or issue bonds — for campus construction projects that pay for themselves and that use no state tax dollars. This leads to delays that can cost the university millions. University leaders are requesting a modification to current law that would allow UW System to approve projects funded entirely through revenue generated by campuses. UW System currently has the authority to approve and manage only projects funded entirely through grants and private fundraising.  

To keep pace with a competitive labor market and inflation, UW System is requesting a modest 4 percent pay increase for employees in each year of the biennium. In addition, UW is requesting a 4 percent increase in its operating budget to maintain educational quality, research excellence, and access. Additional state support would be used to address short- and long-term needs, including investing in high-demand majors and student support.  

In February, Evers is expected to release his budget plan for the next biennium. The legislature will debate and amend the bill this spring before sending it back to the governor, who will finalize it in July. 

To learn more about the latest UW–Madison budget news, resources and priorities, visit the state budget website, and subscribe to the twice-monthly Government Relations newsletter.