About the Madison Initiative
Update January 30, 2015
MIU was approved in April 2009 by the Board of Regents and was initiated in Fall 2009. The annual MIU investment of $40M, derived from a supplemental tuition charge, was divided equally between funding for instructional support and student services and funding for need-based financial aid.
Proposals were reviewed by both an Associated Students of Madison-appointed Student Board and the Madison Initiative for Undergraduates Oversight Committee, composed of students, faculty, staff and administrators.
In all, 54 specific projects were funded in three rounds of competitive allocation.
The educational experience has improved through academic advising and through expanded learning opportunities, both in the classroom and outside of the classroom. The project-based format allowed the funds to target specific areas, addressing the most pressing educational needs. In many cases, this occurred by bolstering the base budgets of academic departments and student support units, particularly in high-demand fields.
MIU has supported tremendous enhancements in UW-Madison’s ability to provide need-based financial aid. The initiative created a positive effect on low-income students from Wisconsin by providing more institutional grants to more students. Between 2009-2014, more than $90M in MIU-funded institutional grants have been distributed to students.
Since Fall 2008, the percent of financial need met by institutional grant aid increased from 15% to 21%. MIU has offset a decline in the share of state gift aid, federal gift aid, and need met by subsidized loans.
These changes have contributed to a range of gains in outcomes. Key indicators of student progress to degree all show improvement: students are making timely progress to degree, graduating at higher rates, and 9 in 10 graduates have participated in high-impact activities that are characteristic of the Wisconsin Experience.
Campus leaders have lauded MIU for helping the university achieve administrative flexibility in key areas, including:
- Building a strong, more reliable pool of financial aid funding to increase access to a world-class education
- Encouraging high impact, out-of-the-box thinking that cuts across disciplinary boundaries
- Prompting a broad-based dialog on education: whether innovation is taking place, what is being taught, whether improvement is possible
- Opening new, exciting avenues for students, faculty and staff to collaborate in building a stronger undergraduate experience
- Helping to make UW-Madison graduates more competitive in a global marketplace
The MIU investment has been a foundation for future innovation and improvement through Educational Innovation, which will continue to fashion the high-quality undergraduate experience envisioned for every student’s Wisconsin Experience.
In 2013, then-Provost Paul DeLuca said that the effort clearly shows the benefits that can be realized when the campus achieves administrative flexibility in key areas, including tuition.
“We are enriching the undergraduate experience, removing the barriers to an affordable university education, and preserving the value of the degree,” said DeLuca.