MADISON, Wis. — The Latest on the merger between the University of Wisconsin System's two- and four-year schools (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The leader of the University of Wisconsin System's two-year schools says a merger with the system's four-year schools won't be complete until the end of 2019.

The regents in November approved a plan to make the system's 13 two-year schools regional branches of seven four-year campuses as of July 1.

UW Colleges Chancellor Cathy Sandeen told the regents during a meeting Thursday that the upcoming academic year will mark the beginning of the transition, largely because the U.S. Department of Education has decided that the existing schools must award financial aid through 2018-19.

She says most of the transition will place in the 2019-2020 year and will be finished by Dec. 31, 2019.

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9:15 a.m.

University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross is preparing to update regents on efforts to merger the system's two- and four-year schools.

Cross is scheduled to give a presentation on the merger during the regents' meeting Thursday afternoon at UW-Madison.

The regents in November approved Cross' plan to make the system's 13 two-year schools regional branches of seven four-year campuses by July of this year.

Cross has said the merger is needed to combat declining enrollment at the two-year schools and keep them open. The plan is designed to make transferring from the two-year campuses to the four-year schools smoother and attract more students to the two-year schools.