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Budget & Planning

The Strategic Vision of the
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Enrollment Management 21 Planning

“In five years, UWM will increase its status as a premier Research II university.  The overall organizing principle for UWM programming begins with our identification as a research university, engaged in scholarship across the campus with our basic intellectual and creative capital.  Our foundation in scholarship provides the capacity to challenge the student learning community with paradigms of discovery and to engage the surrounding communities (city, state, world) with a robust base of scholarly expertise. The major themes of the Milwaukee Idea will contribute to our growth in research strengths and enable a 14% increase per annum in extramural funding.

As an urban university, we will continue our commitment to student access reflecting the diverse population of the Southeastern Wisconsin community. Our enrollment will grow with a balance of traditional and nontraditional students utilizing innovative instructional programs that meet the unique needs of our community.

We will accomplish these goals by attracting a diverse, highly qualified faculty and staff with nationally competitive salaries.”

So concluded our April, 1999 two-day retreat on Planning for UWM’s Future.  Our campus governance and administrative leadership rose from these two days of planning - and weeks of preparation  - agreeing that the following institutional priorities will drive our financial planning over the next five years: Research Plan 21; the Milwaukee Idea; academic program development and purposeful enrollment growth; our Milwaukee Commitment; the implementation of an integrated student administration software and hardware system; competitive salaries; and contingency funds to support marketing, the development of a capital campaign, and unanticipated critical needs.  In this challenging planning step, we are making our first attempt to carve out a five-year financial plan for investments and revenue growth.  In doing so, we are committing to strategic investments and management to realize revenue growth in extramural resources, state and UW-System support, capital and gift funds, and tuition revenues which, in turn, can be reinvested strategically to achieve the institution’s goals.

Staking out our long-range financial plan comes at a propitious time for UWM.  The Milwaukee Idea has captured the attention of our community partners; the support of UW System, donors, and agencies; and the energy, creativity, and expertise of our faculty, staff and students.  The broad UWM community is optimistic and energized by a shared vision of UWM emerging from Chancellor Zimpher’s leadership of the Milwaukee Idea.

Along with the Milwaukee Idea, we are energized by the opportunities we anticipate in EM 21 for greater campus responsibility and authority in determining our future, in managing our resources, and in meeting the unique needs of an urban research institution’s student populations.  We are prepared for these responsibilities and are confident that, with the necessary fiscal and policy authority, we can serve more students, provide greater access, develop new programs of high quality and relevance to our student markets, and do so from the stature of the premier urban research university of Wisconsin.  But, it is essential that we have the latitude necessary to be good fiscal managers, to seize strategic opportunities, and to invest against future revenue growth.

Enrollment Management 21

Our enrollment management planning is based on a philosophy of access and growth with quality. The urban campus of the UW System must provide opportunity and access to a broad range of current and prospective students within and beyond the Milwaukee metropolitan area.  Indeed, the economy of the metropolitan area, and thus the state of Wisconsin, is itself tied to the ability of its citizenry to access undergraduate and graduate degree programs and continuing education. Purposeful growth is the lynchpin of our ability to provide that access while accomplishing our institutional goals.  The past decade has proved that we cannot depend on regular and general base budget increases to provide the resource flexibility to invest across the breadth of our strategic goals and maintain necessary infrastructure support.  Enrollment growth is both inevitable and strategic for us.  As we embark on a 5-year growth plan, it is imperative that we insure that the quality of  instruction and the scholarship undergirding teaching and learning be strengthened.

Growth is inevitable because UWM’s student enrollment has been steadily increasing since 1995-96 and is projected to continue to increase, due to larger freshmen classes over the past four years and a slight increase in student retention.  Without any new programs or initiatives, Fall enrollment is projected to increase to 16,990 FTE by Fall, 2003 - an increase that averages 1.6% per year.  However, additional programs and initiatives that are already in place make this projected increase overly conservative.  We enrol substantial numbers of students - and often markets of students that are unique from students enrolling in fall semester - in the UWinteriM, spring, summer, and special cohort sessions.

Growth in also strategic.  UWM’s future is built on purposeful and planned enrollment increases. As noted above in our strategic vision:  As an urban university, we will continue our commitment to student access reflecting the diverse population of the Southeastern Wisconsin community. Our enrollment will grow with a balance of traditional and nontraditional students utilizing innovative instructional programs that meet the unique needs of our community.  This purposeful enrollment growth enables UWM to meet increasing demand for access to quality programs, current and potential, to achieve its related goals of partnering with the Milwaukee area through the Milwaukee Idea, to grow its research and scholarship initiatives, and to achieve its diversity goals.  Indeed, without growth in enrollment, and the tuition revenues generated by these enrollments, UWM will continue to be frustrated by its inability to invest in the Milwaukee Idea and other initiatives which have focused and energized the campus and its partner communities. Within this planning framework UWM plans to grow its enrollment between 2% and 4% per year for the next five years.

EM 21 Enrollment Model

Fall, FTE
Annual, FTE
Change over
A. Current enrollment (‘98-99)
B. Projected ‘99-00 enrollment
    [EM III 2000 target]
C. Modeled 2003-04 enrollment


     A.  Fall FTE enrollments have historically been 47% of annual FTE SCH enrollments.

     B.  We are projecting to exceed the EM III 2000 target in ‘99-00.  This increase is largely the result of the continuing enrollments of currently enrolled (or eligible to enroll) students which have increased, as per EM III targets, with increasing new freshman classes.  A portion of this enrollment increase will be funded on program revenues.  Examples include UWinteriM, the Bachelors of Organizational Administration program offered through our strategic alliance with the UW colleges, and several new program initiatives offered by UWM schools and colleges.

     C.  Our model of purposeful growth estimates average increases of 3.2% per year over the next five years.
     The model assumes that growth beyond these five years will moderate as growth in new students declines.

Over the five year period of purposeful growth, our total Annual FTE enrollment is projected to grow by 16%.

  • Approximately 35% of this growth is projected to result from purposeful growth in traditional degree students - students matriculating as new freshmen and transfers and new graduate students and continuing through to their degree - and will be dependent on increases in GPR to support these enrollment increases.  The Milwaukee Idea is focusing our instructional, research, and outreach strengths into programmatic initiatives with our community partners.  These initiatives will attract additional students of all ages and cultures from around the world as well as from Milwaukee’s urban communities.  The Milwaukee Idea, if funded sufficiently through a partnership with the UW-System, the state legislature, and the UWM Foundation, will result in:
      New Doctoral programs and growth in continuing doctoral programs.

      Increases in international students and programs, initiated by the Global Studies program.

      Substantial growth in teacher preparation and development programs as the Milwaukee Idea increasingly focuses on the needs of urban students and teachers.

      Growth in professional masters and post-baccalaureate certificate programs which support the Milwaukee Idea.

      Increases in multicultural student enrollment, promoted by Milwaukee Idea partnerships, scholarships and expanded pre-college programs.

    As the plans for the First Ideas of the Milwaukee Idea solidify over the next few weeks, greater detail can be provided on anticipated new programs and their enrollment and fiscal impact.

      Approximately 65% of this growth is projected to result from purposeful growth in nontraditional degree, certificate, and special students.  This growth is dependent on some infusion of GPR, selected markets paying greater share of costs, 100% of all tuition revenue earned above the institutional revenue target, and increasingly efficient models of delivery of instruction.  UWM will continue to serve its current markets:  students entering as “traditional” 18-year old freshmen and 20-25-year old transfers; students entering as “traditional” masters and doctoral students; and students entering and re-entering higher education as “nontraditional” transfers at the undergraduate and post-baccalaureate levels. As noted above, all of these sectors will increase as a result of planned programs and enrollment management, with the greatest growth expected to result from increases in students re-entering to gain additional degrees and certifications at the upper undergraduate level and the post-baccalaureate levels.  This growth will result from increased access to UWM courses and programs through on-line delivery, programs delivered at corporate sites, and programs offered on campus and at satellite sites, many in nontraditional terms and nonstandard semesters.

      Examples of programs being developed and proposed:

      • Certification of continuing education for professional social workers and police officers.

      • Master’s of Science in Forensic Pathology

      • Certificate and Master’s in Educationa Technology

      • Web-based Certificate program for school library media specialists

      • Corporate University programs

      • Global Studies

      • Expansion of the strategic alliance Bachelors in Organizational Adminstration

      • Continuing education in professional and technical writing and communications

      • Certificate in Arts Administration

      • Electronic Arts and Culture Program

      • Master’s of Science in Engineering Management and Global Leadership

      • Certificate in State and Local Taxation

      • Certificate and/or Master's in E-Commerce

      • Certificate in Professional Health Education

      • UWM OnLine: ‘99-00 pilot to lead to on-line delivery of Certificate in State and Local Taxation, Master’s in Occupational Therapy for certified OTs, Certificate in Child Care Management, and some courses in Health Care Management.

    Most of the programs being developed or explored are designed for working adult students at the post-baccalaureate level and are programs for which students will pay a higher share of cost.  In many cases, employers will fund the students’ participation in these programs.

    The UWS worksheets appended to this report are based on the following model of enrollment growth.

    New Freshmen: Continue to enroll Fall ‘98 share of demographic pool
    New Transfers:  Increase enrollment by 3.5% over the Fall ‘98 share of demographic pool
    New UG Specials: Increase 5% per year up to and including 2003-04
    New Grad Specials: Increase 10% per year up to and including 2003-2004
    New Masters: Beginning with 2000-01, increase 2%, then 3%, then 5%, and 7% in 2003-04
    New Doctoral: Increase 5% per year up to and including 2003-2004.

    Growing with Quality

    Student demand and our commitment to access drive our plan to grow enrollments over the next five years.  We are equally committed to ensuring that the quality of the education we offer and enable remains excellent and, in fact, is enhanced.  While several measures are used to assess quality, we believe that the better measures are those that assess the student and faculty experience.  We insist that our program and enrollment initiatives continue to depend on faculty design and participation, and that our students’ learning experiences are increasingly enriched by the scholarship and partnerships of this premier urban research university.  We will measure our success, and hence our quality, by the faculty-determined learning outcomes our students demonstrate and by their satisfaction with their learning and university community experiences. We will report publicly on the results of our outcome measures and will establish benchmarks to ensure continuing quality.  We are optimistic that the 2001-2003 biennial budget will support a Milwaukee Initiative that will, in turn, bring new students to UWM from around the world to participate in areas of renewed and interdisciplinary focus springing from the first of the Milwaukee Ideas. We also believe that we can demonstrate to the UW System, the state legislature and the citizens of Wisconsin that UWM can compound base budget investments by utilizing our creativity, commitment to students and learning, and management strategies to maximize access to our broadening array of program opportunities.  We will make the most of the state’s investment in us by:

    1.  Utilizing fully our instructional and facility capacity.

    • Shifting enrollments to spring, summer, winterim, and nonstandard terms - terms with greater potential capacities.  While our enrollment model demonstrates 16% growth in annual enrollments over the next five years, we are not planning a 16% growth in fall enrollments.  Strategies might include deferring to spring students who apply or register late for fall semesters; offering annual faculty contracts; and initiating cohort programs on dates other than the beginning of the fall semester.
    • Recruiting strategically for programs under capacity while reducing enrollments in oversubscribed programs.  For example, the School of the Arts is reducing its enrollments in visual arts while planning increases in music.
    • Suspending or curtailing low enrollment programs.  The Program Array Review conducted by the UWM faculty in 1997-98 recommended phasing out programs with low enrollments and graduations.  Admission to one of the PhD programs so identified has been suspended and the faculty reorganized to focus on other programs.  In addition, schools and colleges are continuing to assess programs for enrollment viability.  The School of Business Administration, for example, has suspended undergraduate admissions to its Real Estate program due to low enrollment and erosion of faculty in the program.
    • Reducing redundancy and duplication in courses and programs.  Central to our campus planning and the Milwaukee Idea is the increased value placed on collaboration and interdisciplinary programming.
    • Offering access convenient to students while, at the same time, diminishing pressure on the physical campus facility.  We will increasingly utilize weekend and other time periods with capacity for increased instructional delivery.  We also plan to develop UWM OnLine through which students will be able to access entire programs utilizing distance technologies.  In addition, several courses will be offered with distance technologies providing alternatives to classroom meetings.

    2.  Expanding our instructional capacity.

    • Designing and delivering programs on a cost recovery basis.  For some types and levels of instruction, tuition revenues allow increases in capacities.  An example is UWinteriM. Other programs are being offered with corporate partners who finance the educational programs for their employee-students.  Others are being developed for student markets which will readily pay surcharges and higher fees to obtain improved and/or more most convenient access to UWM programs.  UWM OnLine is being piloted this fall as such a cost recovery program..
    • Reviewing and modifying our pricing strategies.  As part of the Milwaukee Initiative, we will explore pricing proposals which provide enhanced student access to programs, convenience of services (such as ability to pay by credit card), support for additional instructional costs and incentives that will lead to more efficient use of our services.  We want to examine several components, including surcharges on highly competitive programs, and per credit tuition along with an adjusted tuition/fee structure.

    3.  Ensuring that faculty workload is not negatively impacted by enrollment growth.  While faculty must continue to drive the curriculum development and delivery, we believe, as Alan Guskin promotes, that new modalities of learning enhanced with technologies offer opportunities to refocus the student learning experience in ways which more efficiently and effectively use faculty expertise and assessment.

    4.  Providing academic unit management and resource flexibility.  With return of tuition revenues to units, deans are able to respond to program opportunities with curricular and planning innovations.  Units developing programs on a cost recovery basis have the flexibility to borrow against anticipated future revenues.

    5.  Rigorously assessing the quality of teaching and learning.

    • Assessing student learning outcomes.
    • Reviewing program quality through the 10-year cycle of program reviews and the Program Array Review.

    6.  Ensuring enrollments do not exceed program quality capacities.

    • Holding enrollments in programs to the capacities defined by instructional and other resources.
    • Providing alternatives to students seeking enrollment in UWM programs which are at capacity.  Alternatives may exist within UWM or in partnerships with other post-secondary institutions.

UW System EM 21 Policies and Practices

The UWM EM 21 plan is based on a number of assumptions regarding changes in current
practices and policies:  

  • The UW System needs to move away from a Fall Semester-only perspective on enrollments to an Annual perspective.
  • Tuition revenues earned by the campus must be returned to the campus to support its instructional and other initiatives.
  • Flexibility in pricing must be available at the campus level.

Gaining flexibility, autonomy and accountability is critically important to our ability to establish UWM, through the vision and actions of the Milwaukee Idea, as a premier urban research university.