While the University of Wisconsin System saw an overall drop in enrollment of 1% this fall, UW-Whitewater welcomed its largest freshman class—1,873 students—in four years.
Total enrollment at the university is 11,447, with 10,804 students at the Whitewater campus and 643 students at the Rock County campus, according to a news release.
UW-Whitewater Interim Chancellor Tim Henderson said overall enrollment was down slightly as it is systemwide on UW campuses but the influx of new students is encouraging.
“The larger freshman class and other recruitment successes point to a positive trajectory for our enrollment moving forward,” he said in a statement.
UW-W’s School of Graduate Studies is seeing it’s largest class in history with 1,683 students pursuing master’s and doctoral degrees and certificates, an increase of 116 students from last year.
Total enrollment in the UW System was estimated at 163,708 students, representing a 1% decrease compared to fall 2020 enrollment.
UW System typically discloses only final fall enrollment figures but announced initial estimates to gauge the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Overall enrollment increased at three universities and dropped at 10, according to the estimates. UW-Madison, UW-Green Bay and UW-Superior show increases, according to the estimates.
Freshman and new transfer registrations have increased by 1,316, or 4%, including at eight of the 13 main university campuses, according to the estimates, but dropped by 3,305 among other undergraduates, or 4%.
“The last 18 months have been incredibly challenging, not only for our UW schools, but also at colleges of all types throughout the nation,” System President Tommy Thompson said. “With plentiful jobs and COVID-19 creating challenges, retaining students has been especially difficult for all of higher education.”
UW-Whitewater is part of a $1 million initiative to help guide high school students in preparing for, applying to and enrolling in one of UW System’s 13 universities.
Starting this fall, UW-Whitewater pre-college coaches are available in Janesville Craig and Parker high schools, Beloit Memorial and Turner high schools, Badger in Lake Geneva, Bigfoot in Walworth as well as in Delavan-Darien and Elkhorn high schools.
“The focus of the pre-college pipeline initiative is to work with regional high school partners to identify and prepare under-represented and underserved students to help them be successful at the university and beyond,” said Matt Aschenbrener, associate vice chancellor for enrollment and retention.
With the fall 2021 semester underway, UW-Whitewater is already accepting and processing applications for the fall 2022 semester.
Students applying for undergraduate admission can do so at no cost, and ACT/SAT test scores continue to be optional as part of the university’s comprehensive review process.
The admission application also serves as a student’s application for many new student scholarship opportunities.
Daily campus tours are available at the Whitewater campus and weekly tours at the Rock County campus.
UW-W vaccination rates
The UW-W student COVID-19 vaccination rate reached 70% on Sept. 24—reaching the milestone five weeks ahead of the recently extended UW System deadline of Oct. 31.
Vaccinated UW-Whitewater students are eligible for the UW System drawing of 70 scholarships valued at $7,000 each that will take place later in the fall.
UW-W students who have not yet been vaccinated or not reported their vaccination can still be eligible for the scholarship drawing as long as they complete the vaccination series no later than Oct. 31.
UW-W employees, including faculty and staff, report a 91% vaccination rate.
Other UW campuses where at least 70% percent of students report being vaccinated include UW-Oshkosh, UW-Eau Claire, UW-La Crosse and UW-Milwaukee.
UW-Madison has a student vaccination rate higher than 90%.