Our History

In 2015, a few like-minded individuals set out to change the relationship between UW-Madison and lawmakers at the Wisconsin State Capitol. For more than a decade, we watched great achievements on campus followed by drastic cuts in public support. UW-Madison was losing political ground and it was threatening its elite status.

We, along with our fellow alumni and donors feel the investment in UW-Madison can be strengthened through a better relationship with the state. We came together to bridge a gap which was widening in the face of political discontent. Today, through a combination of lobbying, public relations and political engagement, we provide third- party support for maintaining a world-class research institution.  Every day, we remind our elected officials that UW-Madison is a vital investment in Wisconsin’s economy and an important part of our legacy to future generations.

Our Purpose

The University of Wisconsin relies on state lawmakers to invest in our future work-force and promote a welcoming campus environment for students and staff. It is a 170-year relationship that has worked well and is worth protecting.

Badger Advocates’ directors, supporters and stakeholders recognize the importance of UW-Madison to our state and our nation and are committed to ensuring that it has the resources necessary to be successful in fulfilling its mission. We engage state legislators on important policy decisions, challenge misleading statements in the media and defend the UW’s reputation against wanton political attacks.

Legislative Agenda

UW-Madison relies on state support to offset the cost of tuition for Wisconsin residents. It is used to directly hire faculty, expand class offerings in high demand areas and reduce the time it takes to earn a degree.

Recent reductions in State support led to faculty lay-offs, course reductions, and funding shifts to cover basic maintenance of classrooms and UW buildings.

Tuition accounts for 18% of UW-Madison’s annual budget. Rates are established by the Board of Regents in accordance with State law.

State law has imposed a freeze on resident tuition for the last four years. The Board of Regents increased non-resident and grad school tuition to help cover inflationary costs. UW-Madison currently has the 8th lowest resident tuition in the Big 10 and ranks well below most peer institutions.

Badger Advocates supports providing the Board of Regents the flexibility to approve modest, cost-of-living adjustments to resident tuition.

Federal and private research grants account for 1/3 of UW-Madison’s annual operating budget. Grants are usually awarded to faculty – not the University. A reduction in state funding inhibits UW-Madison’s ability to retain high quality faculty which threatens the loss of research funding.

Badger Advocates supports research funding and strives to maintain UW-Madison’s reputation as a world class leader in research and development.