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Budget in Brief offers a transparent look at UW–Madison’s budget

November 11, 2014 By Greg Bump

Photo: Cover of Budget in Brief

Budget documents are by their nature dense and challenging to understand, filled with rows and columns of numbers and little explanation of their meaning.

Seeking to increase transparency and accessibility of the University of Wisconsin–Madison’s revenues and expenditures, Chancellor Rebecca Blank asked staff to create the Budget in Brief, a slimmed-down booklet that breaks the university’s $2.9 billion annual budget into digestible chunks.

“I felt that we needed a clear, easy-to-navigate document that tells the story of where our budget money comes from and how we spend it,” Blank says. “I hope this document provides the straightforward information that our stakeholders need.”

The 20-page booklet uses words, graphics and charts to illustrate the university’s revenue sources and how they are distributed. It is the first edition of the Budget in Brief, but Blank expects it to become an annual publication.

The volume includes information about funding sources, expenditures, student financial aid, and fund balances.

An online version of the Budget in Brief is available. Print copies are being distributed to state and local government officials, legislators, campus stakeholders and alumni. Copies can be requested by emailing