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UW-Milwaukee Expects Decline In Enrollment, Tuition Dollars

Despite Decrease, Chancellor Promises Raises, To Keep Top Research Designation

Dave Reid (CC BY-NC)

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee expects enrollment to drop by 3 to 4 percent this fall, leading to a loss of millions of dollars in tuition. But at the same time, plans are afoot to offer pay raises for faculty and staff.

UW-Milwaukee lost nearly 900 students between the falls of 2014 and 2015, causing a reported loss of $6.5 million. During an annual speech to faculty and staff, Chancellor Mark Mone said he expects the trend to continue this fall.

“That’s mainly because of smaller returning classes, but we also saw a drop in the new freshman class even with the increase in the number of admissions,” Mone said.

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In attempt to make up tuition dollars, Mone said the university has increased its recruitment of students from Illinois by 40 percent, and they’ve seen increases in online and flexible degree students. The university plans to recruit more Hispanic students in Wisconsin by seeking out a federal designation as a “Hispanic Serving Institution,” which aims to assist first generation, low-income students, Mone said.

Despite the decreased enrollment, UW-Milwaukee will offer faculty and staff pay raises in November with money saved from unexpectedly low utility costs and overpayments of benefits from last year. Mone said the university will offer raises of 1.75 percent, or a minimum of $1,175, for employees with solid performance.

“I would rather have done a base budget increase if we could afford that,” Mone said. “But what we have now is an opportunity to take care of what I consider to be our highest priority, our people.”

Mone also told faculty and staff that in light of tight budgets and attempts by other universities to poach top professors, the campus must “double down” in order to maintain its designation as a “Research I” institution. The designation was given to UW-Milwaukee in February by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

“We’ve been aggressively providing counter offers, we’ve been very successful at keeping a lot of those key faculty, continuing with the RGI investments, continuing to earmark and keep graduate student support high,” Mone said.