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Student population grows, university breaks enrollment record

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Oct. 1, 2014

By Emily Leclair

 

For the fourth time in five years, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has reached record enrollment with the 2014-15 academic school year.

The preliminary numbers show 12,148 are currently enrolled for the 2014-15 year. This number is more than any other time in the university’s 146-year history, according to a report released by the university.

Assistant Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Retention Matt Aschenbrenner said the numbers have started to go up over the past six to eight years. Each year, the incoming freshmen class has had more than 2,000 students.

“We’ve maintained a fairly steady growth,” Aschenbrenner said. “A lot of schools will grow very quickly, and I think this is a very planned growth.”

As Assistant Vice Chancellor he works with enrollment and retention, supervises admissions, registrar for financial aid, first year experience and first year advising.

With the student population growing, there is currently a proposal to build a new residence hall. The final decision for funding is up to the state of Wisconsin, and if the project goes through, the hall will not be done until the 2017-18 school year.

“I think that will really help in terms of providing new services for students and students feeling comfortable in new buildings,” Aschenbrenner said. “I think a new building would really show the growth and the commitment to that growth as a university.”

The university currently offers 47 undergraduate majors and 13 graduate programs, with 1,303 courses available to students. The current student to faculty ratio is 22 to one. The university doesn’t think it will need to hire on more staff to keep up with the growing enrollment, according to Aschenbrenner.

There are more than 170 student organizations at UW-W recognized annually by Career and Leadership Development.

Students Affairs Director of Whitewater Student Government, Robert Emmett believes the wide variety of organizations offered to students and academic courses is what makes UW-W so diverse and appealing to future students.

“A degree from this university carries a lot of weight, and employers and potential students are realizing that,” Emmett said. “The diversity of programs, organizations and experiences that we offer is very attractive not only to new students, but to potential transfer students.”

The diverse groups Emmett is referring to are arts programming, ethnic interest groups, political advocacy, club sports and service organizations.

The university offers organizations related to students majors in order to prepare them for the real world. UW-W also gives students opportunities to have on and off-campus jobs through Hawk Jobs.

The biggest part of Whitewater’s retention starts with the freshmen class.

“We grow through the first year class because that’s very important,” Aschenbrenner said. “Retention is a big thing for us in terms of measuring our success that we’re recruiting the right students.”

Emmett said he thinks enrollment at UW-W will continue to go up, especially with all the university has to offer.

“People come to our campus and see how attractive it is,” Emmett said. “They talk to students and see how friendly they are; they hear that our faculty and staff genuinely care about student success. That’s all the sales pitch they need.

 

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Student population grows, university breaks enrollment record