MADISON – Retention rates and number of degrees conferred for UW System undergraduates of color have steadily increased for the ten year period between fall 1988 and fall 1998, according to a report which will be presented to the Board of Regents at their April 6th meeting.

“In 1988-89 there were 910 degrees earned by students of color, ten years later that number has grown to 1,731, a 90 percent increase,” said Tess Arenas, assistant vice president for academic affairs and senior advisor to the president for multicultural affairs.

Although there are fluctuations from year to year, including a five percent drop in graduates between 1997-98 and 1998-99, the trend is an overall increase in retention and degrees conferred.

During the ten year period studied, second-year retention rates increased for targeted African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos and American Indians, but remained relatively flat for all Asians, including Southeast Asians.

In fall 1999, 2,399 new targeted undergraduates of color enrolled in the UW System, an increase of 6.5 percent from the previous fall. Overall, in fall 1999 there were 10,375 undergraduate students of color in the UW System accounting for 7.7 percent of the total undergraduate enrollment.

This Minority and Disadvantaged Student Annual Report is the first such report under the Board of Regents approved Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity. The information presented in this year’s report reflects some, but not all of the initiatives and activities in Plan 2008.


Sharyn Wisniewski, UW System
(608) 262-6448