University of Wisconsin to Stop In-Person Classes at Two Campuses Due to Drop in Enrollment

United States North America Higher Education News by Erudera News Oct 19, 2023

University of Wisconsin

The University of Wisconsin System has announced it will cease delivering in-person classes at two more two-year branch campuses by next year due to the quick declining enrollment trends for over a decade.

At a press conference on Tuesday, Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman said that campuses that will be closed are UW-Milwaukee’s Washington County and UW-Oshkosh’s Fond du Lac campus.

The reason for ending in-person classes at these two campuses by June next year is an increasing number of students preferring online classes and choosing four-year colleges within the state, Erudera.com reports.

“Following a directive from the Universities of Wisconsin, UWM will close the UWM at Washington County campus, with a goal of completing the process by June 30, 2024,” the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee said in a statement on its website.

The news came one day after UW-Oshkosh announced its plans to reduce staff in 216 positions.

Rothman stressed that based on the market, these campuses are no longer as attractive for students as before.

“The purpose of these actions is to realign our two-year branch campuses to current market reality and prepare for the future,” Rothman said.

University of Wisconsin data indicate that the number of students enrolled at UW-Milwaukee’s Washington County campus has dropped by nearly 73 percent between the fall of 2020 and the fall of 2022, from 1,054 to 285 students, respectively.

Similarly, UW-Oshkosh’s Fond du Lac campus enrollment has declined from 733 students to only 196 over the same period.

According to the statement, UWM will work with current UWM at Washington County to transfer students to schools they want or facilitate them in completing their degrees.

UWM said that it will no longer accept new student applications for the Washington County campus, but students can apply to UWM’s main campus, UWM at Waukesha, or to UWM’s top-ranked online programs.

This fall, enrollment has decreased at most branch campuses compared to the previous year, except for UW-Green Bay Manitowoc, UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, UW-Whitewater Rock County, UW-Milwaukee Washington County, and UW-Oshkosh Fond du Lac, which have witnessed increases in number of students.

The University of Wisconsin system consists of 13 universities across 26 campuses throughout the state, educating over 161,000 students annually and employing about 35,000 faculty and staff.

Due to decline in number of students, ten University of Wisconsin campuses are projected to face an $18 million deficit by 2024.

Image source: official Twitter account of Universities of Wisconsin

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