UW-W Chancellor Watson Announces Plan to Reduce Operating Expenses by $12 Million Over Two Fiscal Years Due to Declining Enrollment

In a message to the UW-W campus on January 23, Chancellor Dwight C. Watson announced that due to declines in enrollment, it is expected to be necessary to reduce operational expenses by $6 million in the current fiscal year that ends June 30, and by an additional $6 million in the 2021 fiscal year. It was indicated that these would be “base budget cuts, not one-time reductions.”

“As you likely know, UW-Whitewater has experienced enrollment declines since the 2016-17 academic year. This fall, we faced a drastic decline in enrollment – 4.1 percent. That means we had 498 fewer students than the prior fall. The decline in enrollment has caused a decrease in tuition revenue of approximately $11 million from our peak enrollment in 2016,” the message stated. Undergraduate enrollment declined on both the Whitewater and Rock County campuses. Declining high school graduation classes at some districts in the region have contributed to the losses.

Among the reduction in expenses will be a combination of contract non-renewals, reduction in appointment times and layoffs. Meanwhile, efforts are ongoing to increase recruitment of new students. A new Strategic Enrollment Plan was approved last summer, with specific emphasis on recruitment of Latinx students and students with disabilities.

The announcement concluded, “I understand this news may be difficult to digest. Let’s remember that UW-Whitewater has discerning and dedicated employees. I believe by focusing on our values, and through collaboration and creative problem solving we can develop long-term solutions that will help stabilize the budget, create new sources of revenue and strengthen our enrollment. I know this is a campus that cares deeply about our students and our mission to serve, and as we tap into that dedication to UW-Whitewater we will overcome these challenges.”

To read the full text of the announcement, click here.

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