MADISON, Wis. – The UW System awarded more degrees than ever before in 2007-08 and saw a slight increase in the number of undergraduate transfer students over the previous two years, according to two recent reports published by the UW System Office of Policy Analysis and Research (OPAR).

UW System Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Rebecca Martin cited the findings as evidence that the UW System is following through on the goals of the Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, the university’s strategic plan to benefit the state by producing more degree holders, creating well-paying jobs, and strengthening local communities.

“The UW System contributes significantly to our state’s highly qualified workforce, and these skilled graduates will help Wisconsin businesses succeed in today’s innovation economy. The Growth Agenda is about helping the state as a whole meet the challenges of the twenty-first century to create a brighter future for all,” said Martin. “The data show that we’re opening up new pathways and new transfer options for students. This is one way that our system is increasing degree production to meet workforce demands.”

According to the informational memorandum “Degrees Conferred: 2007-08 Update,” the UW System awarded a total of 32,433 degrees in 2007-08, an increase of more than 400 from the previous academic year and the highest total in UW System history. Of this total, 24,035 were bachelor’s degrees, also an all-time high.

The data show that the percentage of degrees awarded to females has been fairly constant for the last 10 years (over 56% in 2007-08), while the percentage of degrees awarded to students of color has increased from 6.5% to 7.7% during the same time period.

A second report, “Undergraduate Transfer Students: 2007-08,” shows the total number of UW System transfer students at 15,682. The number of transfers fluctuates year to year, but has been over 15,000 since 2000.

“Transferring to a UW campus from another school, or from one UW System campus to another, is an important way for students to access specialized degree programs. We have been working hard to expand these opportunities and streamline the process,” said Martin.

Many UW System programs exist to help students begin college at one UW campus and get their degree from another. The UW System’s nationally recognized Transfer Information System (see uses an interactive online “wizard,” allowing students to map out seamless cross-campus transfers.

Of the total number of transfer students, the majority (87%) were new transfer students. This includes students who transferred from a UW Colleges campus to a UW four-year school, from one four-year campus to another, and from a UW four-year campus to a UW Colleges campus.

Wisconsin Technical Colleges System students comprise 21% of new transfer students, an increase from 16% ten years ago.

“The greater percentage of technical college students entering the UW System is a sign of our continuing efforts to collaborate with the state technical colleges and make transferring easier and more effective for these students in pursuing their educational and career goals,” said Martin.

UW-Milwaukee received the most new transfer students (2,214) followed by UW-Madison (1,717). Ten percent of new transfer students are students of color, compared to 7% ten years ago.

The reports can be viewed online at the Education Reports & Statistics site.