Preliminary budget numbers show the University of Wisconsin System’s unrestricted fund balances topped $1 billion at the end of June. It’s the first time those funds have hit the billion dollar mark since state lawmakers railed against tuition reserves in 2013.
According to data provided to Wisconsin Public Radio, the UW System estimates its total unrestricted program revenue balances grew this year by around 13 percent to a total of $1.08 billion. Campus and system officials have repeatedly stressed that despite the term “unrestricted,” the vast majority of the reserves have already been committed to various projects.
In 2013, the UW System’s unrestricted balances were nearly $1.1 billion. When adjusted for inflation, the total from nearly 10 years ago would be $1.39 billion today, according to the UW System Administration office.