University of Wisconsin enrollment drops nearly 2%

Enrollment at University of Wisconsin campuses across the state dropped nearly 2% overall and even more for first-year students amid the coronavirus pandemic that forced most classes online, the system reported on Thursday.

Only three of UW's 13 campuses saw enrollment increases, while 11 saw drops. The biggest enrollment declines were Platteville, down 8.8%, and Milwaukee, down 5.4%. The flagship Madison campus saw enrollment grow by 1.1%. The only other campuses with enrollment increases were Green Bay (2%) and Parkside (1%).

Preliminary data showed total enrollment to be 164,494, down by 1.9% from last year. Enrollment for incoming freshmen was 6%, the university said.

“Amid the pandemic, and with fewer high school graduates, we expected a slight dip in enrollment,” said UW System President Tommy Thompson. “I’m gratified by these enrollment figures, which show that our students want to be able to continue their education as much as possible.”

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UW cited figured from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center that showed enrollment nationwide was down 3% for all students and 16% for first-year students.

The Wisconsin data also showed a graduate student increase of nearly 2%, growth of 438 underrepresented students of color and a drop in two-year branch campus enrollment of 989 students.


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