UW System sees record levels of new student enrollment

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 6:44 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - New student enrollment at the main University of Wisconsin System campuses is at its highest since at least 2018, according to the UW System.

UW System President Jay Rothman believes strategies to increase access and the disappearing effects of the pandemic are reasons for higher enrollment rates.

“Our UW universities are the state’s biggest and best attractor of talent, and our application process is easier and more affordable,” Rothman said. “We are turning the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, as our freshman class is the largest in years.”

University data shows that 26,442 first-year students enrolled this fall. 25,869 first-year students enrolled in fall 2021 and 25,602 enrolled in fall 2018.

The UW system is also introducing a new initiative that starts in 2023 and will ensure that students from families making less than $62,000 can attend a UW university without paying tuition. Rothman said that the Wisconsin Tuition Promise will increase enrollment among low-and middle-income students in the future.

“Wisconsin is facing ongoing workforce challenges, and it is critical that the UW relentlessly focus on developing talent and graduates to ensure our state is competitive and economically vibrant,” Rothman said.

UW-Green Bay, UW-Madison, UW-Superior and UW-La Crosse are experiencing increases in enrollment. All other UW campuses predict decreases in enrollment, according to official estimates.

According to Rothman, the optional ACT, easier application to multiple universities and the waiving of application fees may also explain the increase in enrollment.

“We will continue to demonstrate to students, parents and the public that there’s no better value than the UW System,” Rothman said. “Wisconsin is counting on us.”