MADISON, Wis.— University of Wisconsin System enrollment increased this fall compared to the previous year for the first time since 2014, according to preliminary estimates based on the first day of classes.
Excluding UW-Madison, new freshman enrollment increased by 3 percent overall.
“Wisconsin is in a war for talent and our universities play a key role to help build the vibrant future we all want here,” said UW System President Jay Rothman. “Today’s enrollment announcement shows a continuing rebound of new freshman students making college plans for their future. This is a great sign for all of Wisconsin because freshman enrollment is a leading indicator of future enrollment.”
The estimates show an enrollment of 161,322 for fall 2023, an increase of 540 over fall 2022. For new freshman students, the estimates indicate an increase of 592 students in fall 2023 at UW System universities not including UW-Madison, which deliberately sought to reduce the number of incoming first-year students after last year’s incoming class was slightly larger than anticipated.
“A UW education is both accessible and affordable, and the benefits for individuals, communities, and the state are undeniable,” Rothman said. “We are the state’s largest talent generator, and our universities in every part of the state will continue to focus on student success.”
Five universities show overall increases: UW-Madison, UW-Green Bay, UW-Platteville, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Whitewater, while several others showed modest decreases.
Most branch campus enrollments are lower for fall 2023 than the previous year, with the exception of increases at UW-Green Bay Manitowoc, UW-Platteville Baraboo Sauk County, and UW-Whitewater Rock County.
The estimates are based on first-day registration figures and projections of other new students.
Final enrollment figures based on the 10th day of classes – the standard measure of enrollment and the figure that will be officially reported to the U.S. Department of Education — will differ slightly from the preliminary estimates based on the first day of classes. Some students enroll or discontinue studies after the first day of classes.
The University of Wisconsin System serves approximately 161,000 students. Awarding nearly 37,000 degrees annually, the UW System is Wisconsin’s talent pipeline, putting graduates in position to increase their earning power, contribute to their communities, and make Wisconsin a better place to live. Nearly 90 percent of in-state UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree – with a median salary of more than $66,000. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System universities also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy. The UW System and its employees are purpose-driven, people-focused, and committed to stewardship.