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Statement from Chancellor Blank on Joint Finance Committee action

May 25, 2017

I am grateful that members of the Joint Finance Committee today supported reinvesting in the UW System. New funding included in the state budget will be used by UW–Madison and campuses across the state to educate students and prepare them to become the next generation of highly-skilled employees needed by employers in Wisconsin and beyond.

I also appreciate the additional funding for important health care programs such as the Rural Physician Residency Assistance Program, Alzheimer’s research and the UW Carbone Cancer Center precision medicine program.  This program will expand access to better cancer treatments for more Wisconsin residents, especially those in rural areas.

While we have concerns with some of the provisions included in the motion passed by the committee, I was pleased to see that the outcome-based funding included by the committee both rewards maintaining excellence and calls for creating peer groups for each campus instead of pitting UW System schools against each other. Giving authority to the Board of Regents to define and operationalize a set of metrics and a process to distribute funding was an important improvement.  Rather than setting these in state statute, this process will allow the System to adapt these metrics to the changing needs of Wisconsin.

I’m hopeful that the funding provided today will be approved by the full Legislature, and that the proposed salary increases for UW System employees are funded as well.  Doing so sends an important message about the importance of higher education to our state and its citizens, as well as our many excellent employees.