UW RALLY 10-02142015151706.jpg

A "Stop the Cuts - Save UW" rally was held on Library Mall in Madison on Saturday, February 14, 2015. The rally was in part to protest a proposed $300 million cut to the University of Wisconsin System. Photo by Mike DeVries


When the University of Wisconsin System gets its funding from the state, it comes as a pool of money that gets divided up for campus use.

Not all of the money gets put directly toward the cost of teaching, however. Before it moves on to the campuses, some of the pot has to cover the System's debt service and the cost of utilities.

With Gov. Scott Walker's executive budget proposing significant cuts to the UW System over the next two years — around 13 percent of the state funding and about 2.5 percent of the System's total budget — debt service and utilities take on an even larger share of the funding.

According to a UW System analysis of general purpose revenue funding, debt service and utilities are projected to account for nearly 37 percent of the total state funding in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

That's up from 33 percent in 2014-15 and 12 percent in 2000-01.

In the six years of Walker budgets, counting the proposals for 2015-16 and 2016-17 that are going through the Legislature, an average of 32 percent of state funding for the UW System went toward debt service and utilities.

In the previous six years, the average was 23 percent.

The graphic below shows how general purpose revenue from the state has changed since 1998-99, with debt service and utilities broken out.

The Board of Regents in April approved a tuition hike for out-of-state students and those in professional programs, but Walker has proposed continuing a tuition freeze for in-state students.

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That means the UW System campuses are limited in how much new tuition revenue they can bring in to offset the funding cuts.

In general, the available funds for teaching and paying faculty and staff are made up of the general purpose revenue (minus what's taken out for debt service and utilities) and tuition revenue.

Here's a look at how those figures have changed since 1998-99:

Todd D. Milewski covers Wisconsin Badgers men's hockey and the UW Athletic Department for the Wisconsin State Journal.