Accountability, budget on Regents’ agenda for Thursday

The UW System Board of Regents will review the UW System’s annual performance and discuss funding needs for the 2013-15 budget biennium at its meeting Thursday (Aug. 23) in Madison. Regents will review the System’s 18th annual accountability report, which addresses a broad range of performance measures, along with two new accountability reports that address new reporting requirements from the Wisconsin Legislature. On the budget side, System president Kevin Reilly will recommend a modest budget that calls for a $21 million investment for new initiatives over two years. These funds would be distributed using “block grant” flexibility granted to the UW System by the governor and Legislature during the past budget. The full UW System news release has additional details.

UW System seeks additional $21 million in new budget

News previews of this week’s Regents meeting have focused on the UW System asking for an additional $21 million in state funding, despite a request by Gov. Scott Walker that most agencies hold the line on spending. UW System officials, however, say they have been in contact with the governor’s office and the Department of Administration about including the additional request, and have explained the money would be used in part to fund the UW System’s new flexible-degree initiative. Read the AP writeup from the Wausau Daily Herald.

Misc. odds’n’ends from the accountability reports
“The UW System was among the first to publish an accountability report focused on access, degree completion, and stewardship of resources,” notes UW Board of Regents President Brent Smith. Among the highlights of this year’s edition, released this week:

• Data show that Wisconsin’s public universities are preserving broad access to a college education. While 24% of the nation’s high school graduates enroll at public universities, 32% of Wisconsin high school graduates enrolled at a UW institution in Fall 2010.

• Access for transfer students continues to increase across the UW System, with more than 15,000 new transfers – a 3.1% increase.
• A record 34,608 UW degrees were conferred in 2010-11. Nearly one in five of those degrees came in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Students today are completing their degrees with fewer credits
• Data in the reports show UW System’s continued emphasis on operational efficiency.  In 2009, the most recent data available, the UW System’s four-year institutions spent 47% less than the national average on administrative overhead per student.
• Perhaps reflecting tighter economic conditions, participation in study-abroad programs declined slightly last year, involving 14.4% of degree recipients,compared to 15% the previous year.

To view the reports, click here.

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