Massive UW Slush Fund Discovered - Up to $648 Million?
While the University of Wisconsin has been raising tuition and clamoring for more taxpayer support they have been stockpiling hundreds of millions of dollars in unspent tuition and federal grant monies.
News of the massive UW Slush Fund prompted a strong reaction from legislative Republicans.
Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester), Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau), Joint Finance Co-Chairs Senator Alberta Darling (R-River Hills)and Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) and Assembly Majority Leader Scott Suder (R-Abbotsford) issued the following statement regarding the UW System’s surplus:
"We are outraged with the mishandling of taxpayer dollars and the pattern of incompetence shown by university system administrators. We want the citizens of this state to know that we will examine the gross mismanagement of the system’s finances. We will demand accountability and transparency.
"At a time when the UW System is asking for more flexibility and funding from the state, this situation clearly illustrates the need for strong legislative oversight. Our state deserves better from the institutions that are educating our students and future leaders. It is not only unfair to the students and their parents who keep getting hit with tuition hikes; it’s unfair to the taxpayers of Wisconsin.
"We want to assure the university students and their parents that, at a minimum, this budget will include a twoyear tuition freeze. We will work closely with Governor Walker to address this substantial accounting error and explore pursuing a comprehensive investigation into the management of UW System finances. "
The University has always had a carryover from budget to budget, but the amount has skyrocketed in recent years, resulting in the current massive UW Slush Fund.
The discovery of the massive UW Slush Fund comes as the legislature's budget writing Joint Committee on Finance prepares to review formal budget motions. The first votes are expected on April 25. The panel will continue work on the budget through the next several weeks.
The existence of the massive UW Slush Fund is particularly troubling when juxtaposed with comments UW officials have made in recent years about available 'resources.'