Budget Information

Budget Information

Like many other state institutions, UW-Superior is facing budget shortfalls over the next biennial, which runs from July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2013.  This website is designed to provide campus with information and resources about the state budget and the impact to UW-Superior.  Campus administration would like to thank each of you for your continued loyalty and commitment to our students and mission.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where can I get information about the impact the Budget Repair Bill has on my benefits?

Check out the Benefits FAQ web page from UW System Human Resources, which is constantly being updated with more information as it is available and as other questions arise.

The budget summary mentioned repealing the non-resident tuition exemption for undocumented persons. Does this impact reciprocity agreements Wisconsin has with other states? 

The Governor's budget repeals the non-resident tuition exemption for undocumented persons. Students who are currently enrolled will be grandfathered. This means undocumented persons who are not currently enrolled will pay non-resident tuition rates. This does not affect the reciprocity agreement that Wisconsin has with Minnesota.

I heard something mentioned about FTE being removed if a position has been vacant for more than 12 months. Is this true? 

No. The Department of Administration will be authorized to eliminate positions that have been vacant longer than 12 months; however, this does not apply to the UW System.

What does the lack of funding for recruitment and retention of academic staff and faculty mean?

The UW System had received funding for recruitment and retention purposes in the past several biennia; UW-Superior's portion of this funding had been about $40,000 annually. This funding was used to match competitive employment offers that existing faculty might have received or to entice new faculty members to join the UW-Superior community. Governor Walker's budget does not provide funding for this initiative.

Why hasn’t our campus been afforded the same flexibility as UW-Madison? Is there still a chance we could receive that flexibility?

Governor Walker's budget only authorizes UW-Madison to become a public authority with a variety of flexibilities attached to that status. UW System is also required to submit a plan to convert UW-Milwaukee into an authority as well. While the current budget proposal does not include this same flexibility for the other UW campuses, it is possible that in subsequent biennia these flexibilities would be proposed for all UW institutions.

What is known about the structure of the public authority?

  • UW-Madison employees will be required to pay 5.8% of salary in calendar 2011 as a retirement/pension contribution and 12.6% of the health insurance premium (increasing from 6%).
  • UW-Madison will be separated from the UW System and restructured as a public authority. All assets, liabilities and employees will be transferred to the new authority.
  • Governance will be provided by a 21-member board, with 11 members appointed by the Governor. UW-Madison will be subject to the state open records law, unless the records relate to ongoing faculty research.
  • UW-Madison will retain police powers, access to services from the Attorney General's office and sovereign immunity from lawsuits.
  • The Authority will have complete control over tuition and employee compensation, but will need to comply with statutory requirements regarding employee benefits.
  • Classified employees will remain part of the state civil service system until June 30, 2012. UW-Madison employees must participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System and the Group Insurance Board health plan.
  • UW-Madison will have control over construction projects that are built with non-GPR supported borrowing, such as gift and grant funding.
  • Building Commission approval will be required for all construction projects over $500,000, as well as all GPR-supported projects.
  • The Authority will have control over revenues and interest earnings relating to tuition, auxiliaries and other revenues generated through program revenue-funded operations. Cash balances, except for gift and grant funds, must be deposited in the local government investment pool.
  • The Authority may, at its request, participate in the state's risk management program, but may obtain insurance coverage separately.
  • There are no specific line items for financial aid included in the UW-Madison budget.

Can UW-Madison now charge whatever they want for tuition?

Yes, as a public authority, the Governor's budget establishes that UW-Madison will have complete control over tuition.

Is UW-Superior planning on raising tuition as high as we can?

The Board of Regents establishes tuition levels for the UW schools and, in doing so, complies with any tuition limits established within a governor's budget. Governor Walker's budget authorizes a 5.5% tuition increase each year of the biennium. We have heard that there may be legislative discussion on capping the tuition increases for the 2011-13 biennium at something less than the 5.5% figure.

According to the budget summary, financial aid is not impacted; however, supposing an increase in tuition without an increase in financial aid, won’t students be negatively impacted? 

Yes, if financial aid amounts are not increased and tuition is increased, students will have higher net tuition bills to cover.

Will the university abandon the tuition plateau and charge students per credit instead?

The Board of Regents would have to approve any changes to how an institution assesses tuition. An analysis was done in the early 2000s on this topic, and the results did not indicate there would be additional revenue generated from such a move. Any move towards this tuition assessment would be thoroughly studied and discussed on campus before any recommendations would be made to the Board for action.

Given the holding pattern we seem to be in, how will hiring be impacted (i.e., will we replace those who terminate)?

During the last biennium's reductions the campus leadership agreed to review all requests to fill positions. Campus leadership will continue this practice as we attempt to restructure our budget. This may mean that some positions that become vacant will be reallocated to other strategic needs.

What kind of services will we lose after the 25% cut to System?

We don't know yet. We do believe that System staff will be seeking input as to what System services the campuses find valuable. Contact your cabinet officer with your thoughts on these services.

What cuts might happen at System? Will we still have diversity services?

We don't know what kinds of areas will be affected with the System reductions.

How can my voice be heard (especially as a non-Wisconsin resident)?

All employees should feel free to contact legislatures as an employee of the State of Wisconsin. While a non-Wisconsin resident may not be able to vote, you can still communicate how these budget proposals affect you as a public employee. Remember that any communications of this nature should be done using non-state resources.

Will healthcare be provided after the 2012 study is completed? What will happen to coverage for domestic partners and eligible dependents? Who will make these decisions?

Healthcare will continue to be provided to Wisconsin employees; however it is very possible that the healthcare package features will be different from what they are now. Governor Walker's budget proposal does not include language that would change coverage for domestic partners or eligible dependents. The State's Group Insurance Board negotiates health care packages.

There was a mention of classified staff retaining WRS and health insurance until 2012, along with a statement about classified remaining in civil service status until 2012. What exactly does that mean?

The statement was made in conjunction with the structure of UW-Madison's public authority status. Should UW-Madison be granted public authority status, Madison's classified employees will remain part of the state civil service system until June 30, 2012.

When will the multiple health insurance deductions be made from checks for 9 month employees and what will happen if there is not enough payroll to cover those deductions?

The May multiples will be deducted from the June 1 paycheck. HR staff will be reviewing these deductions prior to the June check and if there will be insufficient funds to cover the insurance payments, HR staff will spread those payments over the May and June checks. The campus is also having discussions with local banks regarding short-term, low interest loans to help with employee cash flow needs during the summer months.

Since 85% of our campus resources are in personnel costs, what will the requested flexibilities offer in terms of financial impacts?

The flexibilities that are being proposed cover a wide range of activities, including budgeting, tuition/pricing, human resources, capital planning and construction, financial management, and purchasing/procurement and primarily impact how we go about our business. The flexibilities advocate for the campuses to be relieved of a number of statutory obligations. For example, one of the purchasing flexibilities would be to not have to purchase using mandatory state contracts. In many instances, campuses could benefit from using other consortium purchasing opportunities to get better pricing. At their meeting on 3/11/11, the Board of Regents passed a resolution on the biennial budget in which they advocate for all UW campuses to have the same flexibilities afforded to UW-Madison as part of Governor Walker's budget bill. In concert with that resolution they also discussed the "Wisconsin Idea Partnership", which proposes these flexibilities with further explanations. The resolution and Wisconsin Idea Partnership documents are posted on UW System's website. UW System staff is working on identifying the statutory language adjustments needed to affect these operational changes.

Campuses have had no real pay increases in 6 years and then had to take furloughs. Will there be any pay raises in the coming biennium?

We don't know yet. Pay plans are not part of the biennial budget discussions, and are proposed separately in conjunction with OSER recommendations. Should the campuses receive the flexibilities being requested, the campuses would have the opportunity to establish their own pay plans.  

Will UW System Administration solicit input from the campuses regarding the services supplied by UWSA that individuals find valuable? 

Yes, UWSA has already requested this feedback. Jan Hanson has volunteered to participate in a work group proposed by President Reilly seeking this input. Any suggestions/comments can be directed to her.

What is the timeline for getting the actual amount of the cut the campus will have to find? 

We've not been given a firm timeline; it will be dependent on how the budget moves through the legislative process. We have been given some general parameters that are being used for our campus discussions.

The campus community is under a great deal of stress at this time. Will there be services and/or places for employees to go to when they are feeling overwhelmed? 

The campus has the Employee Assistance Program that is available to employees for free, confidential, and personal support for themselves and family members. That support is available 24 hours every day by Midwest EAP Solutions. The toll-free phone number is 1-800-383-1908. The campus' contract with this group also provides for a number of on-campus sessions that the HR staff will pursue during this time of uncertainty. Watch for further information on these opportunities from the HR staff.

9. Is the Director of OSER a political appointment? What about JCOER?

OSER is administered by a Director who is appointed by and serves at the pleasure of the Governor. The Joint Committee on Employee Relations is a legislative committee currently co-chaired by Representative Jeff Fitzgerald (R) Speaker of the Assembly and Senator Mike Ellis (R) President of the Senate.