UW System Interim System President Tommy Thompson

Gov. Tony Evers proposed $190 million in new investments in the University of Wisconsin System over the 2021-2023 biennium, part of a budget address Tuesday that also expanded funding for technical colleges and college access and affordability.

In his proposal, Evers nearly doubled the System’s request for $95.7 million more than the previous biennial budget. Interim System President Tommy Thompson called the budget “probably the best budget for the university in about 20 years — since I was governor.”

It included funding for nearly every aspect of the UW System’s ambitious request, though the tuition freeze, now in its eighth year, remains a burden on the UW System. Neither Evers nor System leaders advocated to lift the freeze this year, given the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial burden on students. But the governor recommended over $50 million in aid to help offset losses: “While we’re going to freeze tuition, we’re going to fund that freeze,” he said.

“Our higher education institutions have always been an economic driver for our state, and we need to double down if we’re going to bounce back,” Evers said. “Our universities and technical college system have a proud and proven history of not only preparing students to enter the workforce, but generating billions of dollars of economic activity statewide. … It’s an investment that will pay dividends for our future.”