“What’s going to get cut?” UWM chancellor, student body president concerned over funding cuts for UW System

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Governor Scott Walker this week announced funding cuts for the UW System. In exchange, he says they'll gain more autonomy and flexibility. Walker's plan calls for cutting $300 million in the next biennium and giving UW System leaders more independence, a move that would leave legislators with no way to stop the UW System from raising tuition as much as it wants starting in 2017. Some are worried the plan would allow the system to raise tuition dramatically.

UW-Milwaukee's chancellor is calling the move "unprecedented," saying he's deeply disturbed and concerned about the impact the proposal could have on campus and within the entire UW System.

"The first thing that came into my head was 'what`s going to get cut?'" UW-Milwaukee Student Association President Ryan Sorenson said.

Walker is also proposing tuition be frozen for two years.

"I think the tuition freeze is a good idea at first, but at the same time, the state needs to invest in higher education so the cost of education can be affordable for students," Sorenson said.

Governor Walker says the UW System would receive a block grant from the state, and the system would have the independent authority to decide how to spend it.

"They will know going forward what they get from the state and the taxpayers. I think it will make them more effective, more efficient, and ultimately more accountable to the taxpayers of this state," Governor Walker said.

UWM Chancellor Mark Mone acknowledges Governor Walker's proposal could lead to more flexibility for the system, but also says he's deeply disturbed about the effect it could have on his campus and the entire UW System.

"It will not advance our mission. It will not advance more broadly where this state needs to go," Mone said.

Mone says should this proposal come to fruition, once leaders know the impact on UW-Milwaukee, they'll take a look at things like layoffs, travel budgets and other possibilities when it comes to paring down their budget.

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