Chancellor Wachter’s letter to the students

Sec­ond edi­tion of the Chan­cel­lors let­ter to the students


I promised in my last arti­cle to talk about tuition.  One of the com­po­nents of the bud­get that we look at is what will hap­pen with tuition.  Uni­ver­si­ties, for the most part, have two pri­mary sources of fund­ing – tuition and gen­eral pur­pose rev­enue allo­ca­tions from the state.  If we look at the trend over the last few decades, we can see that, as the state allo­ca­tions have decreased, tuition has increased cor­re­spond­ingly.  Another way to say this is that Uni­ver­si­ties have needed to rely more and more on tuition as the state’s sup­port (allo­ca­tion) for higher edu­ca­tion from tax rev­enue has decreased.

One con­tri­bu­tion which tuition makes to over­all fund­ing, when approved by the state, is salary increases for fac­ulty and staff.  Unfor­tu­nately, amidst the cuts in fund­ing, the fac­ulty and staff per­son­nel have not received a salary increase in four years.  As a result, pay lev­els of fac­ulty and staff across the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin sys­tem are 18% below their national peers.  It is imper­a­tive that we sup­port the fac­ulty and staff mem­bers who sup­port you in the class­room, in your extra-curricular activ­i­ties, and help you to attain your aspi­ra­tions.  We are only as good as those whom we hire.  Think about the fac­ulty or staff mem­ber who has made a dif­fer­ence in your life.  This per­son has choices avail­able about where s/he wants to work and live – and we want them to choose to sat­isfy their ambi­tions here at UW-Superior.  Salary lev­els also affect our abil­ity to hire new com­pe­tent, ener­getic peo­ple when vacan­cies occur, say as a result of retire­ment, among other reasons.

Dr. Renée Wachter

It is uncer­tain where the dis­cus­sion on tuition will ulti­mately wind up, and con­ver­sa­tions among mem­bers of the Board of Regents, chan­cel­lors, and UW Sys­tem are tak­ing place at this time.  Uni­ver­si­ties like ours, in the mean­time, are try­ing to find ways to be more effi­cient.  We cur­rently receive help from a com­pany called Huron Con­sult­ing who advises us on rec­og­niz­ing areas where our work processes might be improved and refined.  A report should be com­ing out later this month.  The Uni­ver­sity is seek­ing, in con­junc­tion with the Uni­ver­sity Foun­da­tion, avenues of alter­na­tive fund­ing for schol­ar­ships and under­grad­u­ate research.  This is a com­pli­cated pic­ture.  We could use your sup­port as we seek a level of tuition that holds as low as pos­si­ble the cost of edu­ca­tion for stu­dents and simul­ta­ne­ously assists the Uni­ver­sity to retain the tal­ented fac­ulty and staff we have.  I will con­tinue to keep you informed as the dia­logue continues.

Best wishes as we enter the final weeks of the semester!

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