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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 15, 2002

Contact: Erik Christianson
(608) 262-5061
echristianson@uwsa.ed

An open letter to high school students,
their families and guidance counselors

Re: University of Wisconsin System Admissions Freeze

Please understand that our goal is to lift the admissions freeze, admit every qualified student and provide him or her with a high quality undergraduate education. We are doing our best to convince state legislators that it is in everyone's interests to educate our young people. But we need adequate state funding to do so.

We want you to know that the UW Board of Regents is NOT playing a political game with admissions. The UW Board of Regents took the only prudent action available in the face of:

  1. Potential budget cuts totaling $108 million, nearly one-eighth of our $882 million state-funded operating budget;
  2. Strict limits imposed by the Legislature's Joint Finance Committee on the amount of money the UW could collect from tuition to offset those deep state budget cuts;
  3. Growing demand for admissions. New freshmen applications are 10 percent ahead of last year, and we have already admitted 2,624 more freshmen than we had a year ago at this time.

Certainly, each student who is admitted and enrolls at a UW campus has the right to expect reasonable access to courses and the ability to complete a course of study in a timely fashion. Without adequate state funding, we cannot make that guarantee to everyone currently seeking admission.

The regents and UW System President Katharine C. Lyall are monitoring the situation on a daily basis in the hope that they can lift this admissions freeze very soon. But the UW needs assurances that state policymakers will find the resources to allow us to resume normal operations. Please bear with us!