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UW System: Enrollment drops 1.1% this fall amid pandemic changes

UW system
Posted at 11:17 AM, Nov 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-04 12:17:06-04

MADISON — The UW System says enrollment dropped 1.1 percent this fall compared to last fall.

162,980 students enrolled in the UW System for the fall of 2021, officials said in a statement Thursday. That is 1,786 fewer students enrolling this fall compared to last fall.

While the system experienced a drop, they say that is compared to an average 2.3 percent drop nationally, citing the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center.

Officials continue that undergraduate enrollment dropped 1.6 percent, while graduate enrollment increased 1.8 percent. The number of freshmen enrolled increased 3.9 percent this fall compared to last, according to officials.

UW System President Tommy Thompson said the pandemic likely impacted those numbers.

“The pandemic has increased our enrollment challenges, but I’m extraordinarily pleased by the increase in freshmen,” said Thompson. “We’ll continue to work hard to convince Wisconsin students that our public universities are the best investment they can make. We are also redoubling our efforts to ensuring returning students progress toward a degree. The UW System is accessible and affordable and is the best investment students and our state can make.”

Officials cite Thompson as saying that much of the drop is due to undergraduate students not re-enrolling after the COVID-19 pandemic changed campus operations during the 2020-21 academic year.

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