LA CROSSE, Wis.  – University of Wisconsin System campuses in the western part of the state are critical to the UW System’s goals of enhancing student success, improving the state’s talent pipeline, and spurring innovation through Capacity-Building Initiatives.

The UW System is seeking $25 million in the 2019-21 state budget to add hundreds of students in high-demand fields such as health care, computer science, and engineering; help students progress toward a degree; expand internships and undergraduate research opportunities; and spur entrepreneurship and innovation among faculty and in communities.

“Targeted investments in our institutions will lead to more graduates in key fields like math, science and health care and economic growth in our communities,” said Regents President John Robert Behling, an Eau Claire resident and UW-River Falls graduate. “These western Wisconsin universities, and the Capacity-Building Initiatives they presented, offer great promise to how they can move our state forward.”

UW-La Crosse, UW-Eau Claire, UW-River Falls and UW-Superior told the UW System Board of Regents on Friday about their plans for the funding. UW-Stout testified before the Regents in October.

UW-La Crosse would:

  • Increase the number of students enrolled in business and STEM degrees
  • Expand the accountancy and finance programs
  • Develop an electrical engineering program
  • Enhance academic and career advising
  • Expand tutoring services
  • Expand faculty and staff diversity education and training

UW-Eau Claire would:

  • Expand nursing in rural Wisconsin
  • Enroll up to 100 students in a new biomedical engineering program
  • Enroll up to 75 students in a new bioinformatics program, which would be the only such program in the UW System

UW-River Falls would:

  • Add 25 new business partnerships
  • Create student and faculty innovation fellows
  • Establish joint university-industry professors
  • Create 80 new internships
  • Work with schools to develop new pathways to college

UW-Superior would:

  • Expand advising staff
  • Enhance early intervention strategies for students in need
  • Provide scholarships for transfer students
  • Increase paid internships
  • Expand undergraduate research
  • Address rural workforce needs

UW-Stout would:

  • Add faculty in computer science, computer networking, and applied mathematics
  • Expand engineering programs
  • Improve its Career Services offices to create more internship and co-op experiences


The University of Wisconsin System serves more than 170,000 students. Awarding 36,000 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. More than 80 percent of UW System graduates stay in Wisconsin five years after earning a degree. The UW System provides a 23:1 return on state investment. UW System institutions also contribute to the richness of Wisconsin’s culture and economy with groundbreaking research, new companies and patents, and boundless creative intellectual energy.

Media Contact

Heather LaRoi UW System 608-265-3195