MADISON, Wis. – The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will review the System’s annual performance reports on Thursday at a public meeting at UW-Parkside.

“This marks our 19th year of publishing an annual accountability report, providing detailed information about a broad range of performance measures,” said Regent President Michael J. Falbo. “We are committed to transparency and accountability, and we will improve these reports based on feedback gathered from legislators and other key stakeholders.”

“There is much interest in how our colleges, universities, and outreach networks are performing. By making the information available in a clear, simple format, we hope to showcase our strengths and focus attention on areas where improvement is needed,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly.

Selected highlights from the Systemwide accountability report:

Access: Across the nation, 26% of all high school graduates enroll at four-year colleges and universities. By comparison, UW institutions enrolled 32% of all Wisconsin high school graduates in fall 2011, but access rates for African-American (14%), American Indian (25%), and Hispanic/Latino students (22%) in Wisconsin were lower.

Enrollment: With 180,969 students in fall 2012, total UW System enrollments remained very close to record levels, but slightly lower than the prior year. The proportion of students of color and those receiving Pell Grants (federal grants for low-income students) increased.

Transfers: Access for transfer students remains strong across the UW System, with 15,068 new transfers last year, a slight increase from the prior year. The proportion of students of color among new transfer students increased to 13.7% percent.

Retention: 80.2% of new freshmen returned to the same UW institution for their sophomore year, topping the national average of 79.3% at public four-year institutions. An additional 5.1% of freshmen successfully transferred to a different UW institution for their sophomore year.

Graduation: 59.6% of new freshmen graduated within six years from the same campus where they first enrolled – a rate that was higher than the national average of 56.6% at public four-year universities. An additional 6% of students successfully transferred to a different UW campus and completed their degrees in the same timeframe.

Degrees: A record 35,708 UW degrees were conferred in 2011-12, up from 34,608 the prior year. Nearly one in five (19.3%) of those degrees came in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Degrees in health-related disciplines made up 8.4% of the total degrees awarded.

Readiness: 88% of UW System seniors reported that their college experience contributed to their critical thinking, compared to a national average of 86%. UW System students performed above national averages on the Graduate Record Exam (GRE), Medical College Admissions Test (MCAT), Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exams, and Nursing Licensure exams.

Study Abroad: 13.9% of bachelor’s degree recipients studied abroad or participated in a UW exchange program, compared to 14.4% the previous year.

Efficiency: Per-student spending on administrative overhead (institutional support) remained at about 50% of the national average. This means that UW System institutions spent $220 million less than they would have if overhead expenses were at the national average. Energy use per square foot in UW facilities was lower than the prior year.

Collaboration: UW System institutions engaged in 20,807 partnerships providing benefits to businesses, communities, and educational and service organizations.

Regents on Thursday will also review reports that address specific reporting requirements mandated by the State Legislature. These include one accountability report for UW-Madison and one for all other UW System institutions. Each report addresses about 38 specific metrics, some of which overlap with the UW System’s integrated report, highlighted above.

Selected highlights from the legislated accountability reports:

Time to Degree: For 2011-12 UW-Madison graduates, the average time to graduation is 4.2 years. By another measure, UW-Madison graduates were enrolled for an average of 8.4 fall/spring semesters, plus 0.9 summer semesters. At all other UW System campuses, the average time to graduation was less than five years, and bachelor’s degree recipients in 2011-12 enrolled in an average of 9.6 fall/spring semesters.

Required Courses:   At UW-Madison, 77% of first-year students and 81% of seniors indicated satisfaction with the availability of general education courses.   At other UW institutions, 79% of both first-year students and seniors indicated satisfaction with availability of general education courses.

Popular Majors:  At UW-Madison, the most popular majors among upperclassmen were in the fields of Business (13.8%), Engineering (13.4%), and Biological/Biomedical Sciences (13.1%).  At all other UW System institutions, the most popular fields were Business (19.7%), Education (11%), and Health Professions (8%).

Student Experience:  At UW-Madison, 24% of first-year students reported participating in learning communities and 25% reported that they had engaged in service learning.  36% of UW-Madison seniors reported collaborating with faculty members on research, and 59% said they participated in internships.  At all other UW schools, 11% of first-year students reported participating in a learning community and 33% said they engaged in service learning, while 19% of seniors reported collaborating on research, and 50% said they participated in internships. By comparison, national survey results show 19% of first-year students participating in learning communities and 37% engaging in service learning. Among seniors nationwide, 19% collaborated on faculty research and 48% participating in internships.

These are only selected highlights. To view all of the detailed reports, please visit the Accountability Dashboard.

Media Contacts:

David Giroux
UW System

View the list of UW Media Liaisons