University of Wisconsin System estimates show fall enrollment fell by around 1 percent across the state’s 26 college campuses compared to last fall. Just three universities reported enrollment increases while the rest saw declines between 1 percent and 11 percent. Initial enrollment estimates released by the UW System show a range of good and bad news for the state’s campuses. Official fall enrollment figures won’t be released until later in the semester, but the UW System administration office has released “first day” estimates “because of interest in the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” according to a press release. Estimates released last fall proved to be within 1 percent of official enrollment figures released later in the semester. Estimates show that only three out of 13 universities added students this fall — that’s based on a UW System comparison of this year’s estimates and last year’s official fall headcount. Topping the list was UW-Madison, which is expected to add 2,564 students for an increase of 6 percent.
UW-Green Bay added 313 students for an increase of 3 percent over last fall. UW-Superior added 45 students, which works out to a 2 percent increase. UW-Green Bay Chancellor Michael Alexander told WPR he’s pleased to see enrollment increase, given widespread declines across higher education during the pandemic. He said first-year enrollments are up and the campus saw a 12 percent jump in graduate students.
“So, it’s not just how we’re recruiting, it’s that we’re doing a better job every year retaining our students,” said Alexander. “And to me, that’s the most important thing.”
…UW-Green Bay and UW-Madison have enjoyed consistent enrollment increases over the past three years, according to official fall data.
In 2020, the state’s flagship university grew enrollment by 1 percent compared with the prior year. The increase from fall 2018 to fall 2019 was nearly 2 percent.
UW-Green Bay enrollment rose by nearly 2 percent in fall 2020 compared with the year before. Enrollment increased by 2.5 percent in fall 2019. Chancellor Michael Alexander
Nationally, the pandemic has taken a toll on fall and spring enrollment across public and private universities. In October 2020, the National Student Clearinghouse released data showing a 4 percent enrollment drop across all private nonprofit and public universities and a 5.7 percent enrollment drop at institutions in the Midwest.