UW System enrollment down 1% from last fall

Enrollment at University of Wisconsin System schools dropped 1% this fall compared with a year ago when it was down 2%, the university reported Wednesday based on preliminary figures.

Enrollment was up 6% at the flagship Madison campus, an increase of 2,564 students over last year. But it was down at 10 of the 12 other four-year campuses. Only UW-Green Bay, which grew 3%, and UW-Superior, which was up 2%, had increases.

The biggest drop was 11% at UW-Platteville followed by an 8% decline at UW-River Falls.

The total number of students systemwide was 163,708, down from 164,766 in 2020.

Interim UW President Tommy Thompson noted that freshmen and new transfer registrations were up, while the number of returning students who were in their second year or later was down.

"The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging, not only for our UW schools, but also at colleges of all types throughout the nation," Thompson said. "With plentiful jobs and COVID-19 creating challenges, retaining students has been especially difficult for all of higher education."

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