Don’t Forget the Federal Level

US CapitolWith all the talk about how the university could be affected by actions at the State Capitol, it’s easy to forget how important the federal government is to UW-Madison. The reality is that Bucky gets nearly twice as much money from the federal government ($879 million this year) as it receives from state government ($476 million).

And UW-Madison did very well in securing a good chunk of federal stimulus dollars. Mostly due to stimulus funding, UW-Madison’s federal funding jumped nearly $200 million from 2009-10 to 2010-11. That’s big money.

So where do things stand in D.C. when it comes to federal funding of things like research? One thing we know for sure: UW-Madison and university research generally lost a good friend when Wisconsin Congressman Dave Obey, Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, retired. He was particularly helpful in funding NIH.

With the House now in Republican hands, we learned last week who will chair the House Higher Education Subcommittee. That will be Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, a conservative from North Carolina with a background in higher education. Here is a Chronicle of Higher Education article on Rep. Foxx.

Democrats still control the Senate, but with a much smaller majority, and President Barack Obama remains in office. We’ll see what divided government means for higher education.

The bottom line is: While we need to keep a close eye on developments on the other end of State Street, we need to keep the other eye on D.C. How things play out in both places will have a big impact on the future of UW-Madison.