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February 22, 2002

Media Backgrounder:
UW System Employment Packages

Questions have been raised about employment packages received by the UW System president and chancellors. The following is a backgrounder about such packages.

  • Most chancellors and presidents of universities and university systems nationwide have the use of a state-owned or university-owned housing and vehicle.
  • Housing arrangements/allowances and the use of a state-owned vehicle are part of the standard employment package for the UW System president and chancellors and have been for years.
  • The vehicles used by the UW System president and chancellors come from the state vehicle fleet. If they use their state vehicle for personal use, they reimburse the state at a rate of 32.5 cents per mile.
  • Only five of 15 chancellors and the UW System president reside in official university residences. As a condition of their employment, they are required to live in these official residences. These houses are public property and used extensively for public purposes.
  • Other chancellors receive a housing allowance for official business functions. This is used for hosting campus receptions, community events, fundraising and other official activities. These are functions UW chancellors are required to host as part of their employment.
  • These official functions include raising private funds for the UW System. In 2002-03, the UW System received $992 million in gifts, grants and federal contracts, more than double the $430 million raised in 1990-91.
  • According to Board of Regents policy, UW System President Katharine Lyall is required to live in Brittingham House, the official residence of the UW System donated by the Brittingham family.
  • Salaries for the UW System president and chancellors are set by Board of Regents policy within salary ranges that are below the national market.
  • This is a market and recruiting issue. Since 1998, the UW System has had to replace 10 of its 15 chancellors, and it is currently searching for chancellors at the Milwaukee and Stevens Point campuses. It is increasingly difficult to recruit candidates for UW System chancellor positions as salaries and benefits in Wisconsin lag behind those of other states.
  • The employment packages for the UW System president and chancellors fall short of those offered in most states. University presidents and chancellors nationwide are provided with housing and vehicle arrangements, deferred compensation, country club memberships, free tuition for their children, and other benefits.