Changing Demographics Lead To UW System Enrollment Drop

Ann McClure's picture

A drop in the number of high school students and competition from for-profit and online universities are factors pinching enrollment at some University of Wisconsin System schools, forcing them to fine-tune their recruiting efforts.

The issue is expected to deepen in the next few years, and university leaders are bracing for the financial fallout if new recruitment and retention efforts don't work.

"We're entering into a trough we'll come out of in several years," UW System spokesman David Giroux said Tuesday, referring to a demographic shift in Wisconsin brought by declining birthrates that started 17 to 18 years ago. "We knew this was coming," Giroux said.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents will discuss the trend later this week during their regular meeting at UW-Stout.

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