Declines in Spending on Higher Education in Wisconsin

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Declines in Spending on Higher Education in Wisconsin: An Analysis of the University of Wisconsin System Budget


Kate Clark

Project Assistant, WISCAPE
University of Wisconsin-Madison


Though a significant portion of the UW System’s budget comes from the state—paralleling the pattern found in other states—in recent years, the UW System has received a relatively smaller percentage of its funding from the state and a relatively greater percentage from other sources. Adjusting for inflation, state appropriations to the UW System have actually declined since 2000. If the recent trend continues, state support will decline in the future.

As the legislature determines future funding levels for the UW System, state policymakers should be cognizant of this funding history. They should examine the relative contribution of different revenue sources, not just the system’s total budget, and should be sure to accurately gauge the purchasing power of the system by examining funding in both nominal and inflation adjusted dollars. Failing to do so presents an inaccurate picture of the fiscal standing of the UW System and could lead to misinformed policy decisions.


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