Mash: ‘Painful’ cuts ahead

Chancellor Mash opened his roundtable Monday with an analysis of what possible state budget cuts could mean to UW-Eau Claire.

“This is going to be very difficult and very painful,” Mash said. “But we will go on as usual.”

The state is facing a huge short fall in funding for the upcoming fiscal year, Mash said, and the university is considering ways to adjust to funding cuts.

The two components of funding education at the university are tuition payments made by students and state funding, Mash said.

Two-thirds of UW-Eau Claire’s funding comes from state funds and about one-third comes from tuition revenue.

Senior Joe Rand said he was worried that classes, such as his capstone course, would be cut because of low enrollment.

Cutting small-size classes is one way the university is dealing with the current budget cuts, Mash said.

However, some courses, like capstone and first-year-experience courses, will be “a little more insulated” to budget cuts because they are primarily funded by student segregated fees.

Tuition increases are another method of compensating for state funding cuts to the university.

Tuition increased by 8 percent last year, and next fall’s freshman class will have 85 fewer students than usual. This is a response to what already has happened, Mash said.

He said he expects that the budget will produce the biggest economic burden the university has faced ever.

“Budget problems of the past are insignificant compared to what we’ll face in the next two years,” he said.

Gov. Jim Doyle’s budget proposal is scheduled for release Tuesday.

The next Chancellor’s Roundtable is slated for March 12 to discuss again the potential effects of state budget cuts on the university.