Higher Ed Shake Up
Walker’s Higher Ed Cuts Take Effect

In February, Republican presidential candidate and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker proposed massive cuts to the University’s budget, and, as the AP reports, the lion’s share of them are now coming through:

The University of Wisconsin’s flagship campus in Madison will likely take a nearly $59 million hit this budget year to help reduce the state budget deficit, according to system documents released Monday.

The system’s 2015-2016 spending plan shows UW-Milwaukee would get an $18 million cut, while the remaining 11 four-year campuses will see cuts ranging from $851,000 at UW-Superior to $7.7 million at UW-Eau Claire.
The cuts total $140.6 million for the current budget year that started July 1, with the Board of Regents expected to approve the budget Thursday. The system needs to cut a total of $250 million for the two-year budget.
According to the AP, priorities for the cuts “include layoffs, program cuts, and downsizing and streamlining administrative and academic work.” Walker’s march through the academy will likely serve him well, especially with the GOP base. State budgets around the country are squeezed, and the public isn’t disposed to be convinced by proliferating armies of administrators and cadres of social science professors that there’s no room to make cuts to their institutions’ budgets. In particular, streamlining university administration is likely to be welcomed; administrative bloat is widely perceived to be wasteful and costly.
The existing university model is due for a massive overhaul, and public universities in GOP-controlled states are likely to be the first place for changes to take hold. If Walker’s policy is seen as successful, expect the momentum behind higher ed reform to pick up.
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