UW-W hits student population record, growth for fifth time in six years

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By Kimberly Wethal

Sept. 22, 2015

 

University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has again raised the bar for itself.

With student enrollment coming in at 12,325, this is the fifth time in six years UW-Whitewater has seen an increase in students.

The record beats last year’s enrollment by 166 students, and is up 294 from two years ago.

The preliminary numbers were calculated and released on day 10 of Fall 2015 classes.

“We are proud that so many students have selected UW-Whitewater as their university home,” Chancellor Beverly Kopper said in a news release. “Our vibrant academic programs mixed with a high-energy campus life makes us a great choice for students. We offer an exceptional education at a real value and that’s important to our families who select UW-Whitewater.”

Class sizes and the amount of available university housing is what goes into deciding how many new and transfer students are able to be admitted for the upcoming school year.

The number of underrepresented minority students has also been on the rise in the past years, due to programs where students from highly populated urban areas are brought to campus to get a glimpse of UW-W, said Matt Aschenbrener, vice chancellor for Enrollment and Retention.

Aschenbrener says the university is just over the recruitment goal of 2,100 for the class of 2019.

“We have a large freshmen class, and for other programs, we’re growing,” Aschenbrener said. “Other programs such as our doctorate and our PIE (Partners in Education) program. They add together to help create the foundation for our enrollment.”

It’d be difficult to manage an incoming class even a 100 bigger at this point, Aschenbrener added.

The freshmen recruitment goal is matched each year through maintaining strong relationships between college counselors and high school counselors. UW-W college counselors visit high schools and then review applications to help retain those numbers.

This recruitment goal allowed them to accept 4,884 prospective students from the 7,229 applicants for the class of 2019, knowing only between 42-43 percent of those accepted will choose to be on campus in the fall.

Aschenbrener says this high rate of applicant attendance, referring to it as a “yield,” makes UW-W fall in the top 15 percent of schools of a comparable size in the country.

“The yield rate shows that students who apply here really want to enroll,” Aschenbrener said.

New Directions

Aschenbrener says UW-W is looking to reach out to more prospective undergraduate students in order to keep achieving record enrollment.

Implemented this fall, the new Constituent Relationship Manager (CRM) technology will allow students looking into attending UW-W in the future to schedule tours and stay updated about campus.

Admissions is also seeing a shift in the diversity of its applications.

Aschenbrener didn’t have final numbers available during a phone interview, but believes the number of underrepresented minority students on UW-W’s campus has increased throughout the past years of record enrollment.

This is partially thanks to the “Wheels to Whitewater” program, an initiative that busses students from districts with a high percentage of underrepresented minority students to UW-W for tours and a glimpse of the campus. Aschenbrener says these students otherwise might not have the resources to get to UW-W on their own.

“They’re exposed to a number of campus resources that would be helpful to them,” Aschenbrener said. “That provides them [with] perspective on the campus and is why we’re growing those numbers.”

The gender balance of students has remained the same.

“We’re doing well on campus,” Aschenbrener said. “We’re a solid institution, and we’re growing. We have great academic programs, and I think that’s the foundation … of our institution.”