Wisconsin Act 32, the 2011-13 biennial budget, requires that UW-Madison and UW System develop their own personnel systems. Vice Chancellor for Administration Darrell Bazzell told the board that the campus is actively seeking campus engagement through a range of communication efforts. UW-Madison is also working closely with UW System during the development process. The personnel systems are required by statute to be implemented by July 1, 2013.
The regents also heard from several UW Sytem financial aid professionals who addressed national concerns about the rising cost of higher education. Mark Nook, UW System Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, told the regents that about 71 percent of Wisconsin students enrolled in public higher education use student loans, about 20 percent more than students enrolled 20 years ago. The average student debt upon graduation has also risen dramatically — from about $5,000 in 1982 to more than $27,000 in 2011.
Susan Fischer, UW-Madison Director of Financial Aid, told the regents that funds generated by the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates (MIU) have improved need-based financial aid on campus. Before the MIU, the university offered just $5 million in need-based aid annually, the lowest amount in the Big Ten. UW-Madison is now on track to offer more than $20 million next year.
Regent David Walsh noted that access to higher education is a legislative issue, “All decision-makers in this state need to have a conversation about whether or not they want the people of Wisconsin to have maximum access to public education. And if not, they ought to stand up and say so and see if they can get elected on that basis.”