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UW System announces $10 million in cuts, investment in underserved students

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MADISON (WKOW) -- The University of Wisconsin System announced a series of cuts expected to save millions of dollars over the coming years.

Interim President Tommy Thompson announced the cuts in a press release sent Tuesday.

“To be the University’s biggest advocate and toughest evaluator, I will be directing my leadership to identify administrative savings now while championing investments for underrepresented and underserved populations,” Thompson said in a written statement.  “We are setting priorities in the face of difficult financial times.”

The cuts came in four varieties:

  • A 10 percent reduction within the UW System Administration state-supported salary line totaling $6.0 million.
  • Limiting out-of-state travel through June 30, 2021, and reducing supplies and equipment, with estimated savings of $2.4 million.
  • Eliminating several memberships, sponsorships, and subscriptions.
  • Using virtual UW System Administration meetings to achieve additional savings.

“These budget reductions are designed to streamline our operations and ensure the UW System Administration can come out of the pandemic stronger by focusing resources on students,” Thompson said.

The savings, when combined with $1.3 million from administrative furloughs, total $10 million by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.

The 10 percent reduction of state-supported salaries totaling $6 million will mean a reduction in positions. UW System said it was unclear how many positions and the cuts have not been determined yet.

In the release, Thompson emphasized how some of the savings would benefit "underserved and underrepresented students."

The UW System will administer a new $1 million Wisconsin Regents Opportunity Scholarship intended to benefit hundreds of university attendees annually. The first of these scholarships will begin in the Fall of 2021, the press release said.

Thompson also named Associate Vice President for Student Success Chris Navia as acting Special Assistant to the President for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. She will oversee a $1 million System diversity initiative that seeks to recruit more underrepresented and underserved students. 

JT Cestkowski

Social Media Content Producer/Desk Editor

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