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UW System preliminary 2019 enrollment drops slightly

Reflecting state and national demographic trends, the University of Wisconsin (UW) System’s preliminary enrollment for fall 2019 is 167,186 students, an overall 2.6 percent decline from last year.

Nationally, higher education enrollments are down. These modest enrollment reductions are not unique to the UW System amid trends of fewer high school graduates and low unemployment rates in a strong economy.

Despite the decline, the UW System share of overall higher education enrollment in Wisconsin has increased since 2010, from 48.6 percent to 50.8 percent in 2018.

“These preliminary enrollment numbers were not unexpected given the demographic trends,” said UW System president Ray Cross. “It demonstrates more than ever the need for investing in student success and building the talent pipeline to deliver the graduates Wisconsin needs.”

UW System produced a record 36,825 graduates in 2017-18.

“Our graduation numbers are a bright spot for employers and communities and provide a solution to the future career readiness challenges facing Wisconsin,” said UW System Regent president Andrew S. Petersen. “As we engage with our business partners as part of the All In Wisconsin tour, we repeatedly hear that they are counting on our student graduates. Our success in retaining, recruiting, and graduating students is absolutely critical to all of us.”

Overall, preliminary fall 2019 enrollment in the UW System declined by 4,450 students compared to 2018.

The data also shows:

★ Preliminary overall enrollment at five four-year campuses increased;

★ Graduate student enrollment increased by 1.6 percent, to 24,717, an increase of 395 students;

★ New freshman headcount enrollment fell 0.8 percent, or 234 enrollments, to 28,319;

★ Overall headcount enrollment across all UW System branch campuses dropped to 7,286, a decrease of 25.2 percent.