MADISON – The University of Wisconsin System’s plan to restructure UW Colleges and UW-Extension has been officially approved by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

Image of UW System Restructure Map

Effective July 1, the 13 two-year campuses formerly known as UW Colleges will be joined as branch campuses with seven of the UW System’s four-year comprehensive or research institutions. UW-Madison will now administer Broadcasting and Media Innovation (which includes Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio), as well as Cooperative Extension, UW Conference Centers, and the Department of Labor Education, all formerly part of UW-Extension. UW System Administration will administer the Division of Business and Entrepreneurship; Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (which will incorporate UW Colleges Online); Wisconsin Humanities Council; and the Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service.

Accreditation, administrative oversight, and reporting structures also formally transfer on July 1.

“Our primary concern is ensuring the UW System is in a position to provide greater access, affordability, and opportunity for our students and the state of Wisconsin,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “To help meet Wisconsin’s growing needs, it is imperative we take action now and be increasingly bold in our efforts to get more students into and through the educational pipeline. We appreciate the collaborative efforts and support from local governments in this restructure.”

The official letter from the Higher Learning Commission stated:

“The Board approved the extension of accreditation related to the application wherein University of Wisconsin Colleges’ branch campuses are distributed among seven institutions within the University of Wisconsin System, with University of Wisconsin Colleges ceasing to operate as an independently accredited institution and its former branch campuses becoming branch campuses of University of Wisconsin universities….and wherein the University of Wisconsin–Extension, a non-accredited entity within the University of Wisconsin System, is dissolved as a separate operational unit, with certain other University of Wisconsin universities adding components of the dissolved unit’s operations within their respective operations.”

The UW System Board of Regents unanimously approved the proposed restructuring in December 2017. UW System formally submitted its application to restructure to the Higher Learning Commission on Jan. 16, 2018. The HLC approved the application on June 28, 2018.

“We are thrilled the Higher Learning Commission has examined, reviewed, and approved our restructuring plan,” said Board of Regents Vice President Drew Petersen. “This decision – pivotal to our future success – will pave the path forward toward systemwide implementation efforts. By providing more class options, varied scheduling, and an increased programming array, access to world-class educational resources will be even closer to our students, driving high-impact outcomes and student success.”

The UW System has been working closely with UW Colleges, UW-Extension, and the four-year UW receiving institutions to ensure a smooth transition for students and employees. Restructuring is expected to take place in two phases over the next two years. During Phase 1 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019), the two-year campuses will continue to function largely as they do now, while preparing to internally integrate administrative functions. During Phase 2 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020), the receiving institutions will more fully integrate the two-year campuses.


Effective July 1, 2018

Two-Year Campuses Four-Year
Receiving Institutions
UW-Barron County UW-Eau Claire



UW-Green Bay


UW-Washington County


UW-Fond du Lac

UW-Fox Valley

UW-Baraboo/Sauk County


UW-Marathon County

UW-Marshfield/Wood County

UW-Stevens Point
UW-Rock County UW-Whitewater



Effective July 1, 2018

Former UW-Extension Unit Receiving Body
  • Broadcasting and Media Innovations (BAMI), includes Wisconsin Public Television and Wisconsin Public Radio
  • Cooperative Extension
  • UW Conference Centers
  • Department of Labor Education


  • Division of Business and Entrepreneurship (DBE)
  • Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning (CEOEL)
  • Wisconsin Humanities Council
  • Wisconsin Institute for Public Policy and Service (WIPPS)


UW System Administration

Map of UW System Restructure (Effective July 1, 2018)

For more information on the Restructuring Project, visit:

For information and FAQs on what students and employees need to know, visit:

Media Contact

Heather LaRoi UW System 608-265-3195