The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents discussed Friday preliminary reports on system-wide enrollment numbers for 2012, which showed a trend of decreasing enrollment in Wisconsin universities.
UW System Senior Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs Mark Nook presented the data to the board, which included a 0.6 percent decline in total UW System enrollment. However, UW-Madison’s enrollment increased by 440 this year compared to the past three years’ average.
Nook said the numbers could be a result of the current unfavorable higher education climate, such as increasing tuition costs and difficulties in finding financial aid resources.
“There's been a lot of things changing in the economy, there's been a lot of things changing with financial aid, that have had impacts on the way our students behave that have made it really difficult for many of our campuses to be able to predict what's going to happen in the next year,” Nook said.
However, Nook also said there has been a 3.2 percent increase since last year in students who have graduated from Wisconsin institutions.
UW-Madison Provost Paul DeLuca provided a closer look at UW-Madison’s numbers, including a notable decrease in average time it takes students to earn their degree, which DeLuca attributed to campuswide efforts to increase efficiency.
However, DeLuca said gaps between minority students and the rest of the student body continues to be problematic, including a 14 percent gap in graduation rates.
“We’re trying to erase any distinctions between our diverse students and the main part of the student body,” DeLuca said.