MADISON, Wis.—New fall freshman applications for University of Wisconsin System universities are up by about 30 percent over each of the last two years. Moreover, applications by Wisconsin residents, first-generation students, and underrepresented minorities are also up.
The increases are the result of several actions the UW System took over the last 15 months to simplify the application process, including waiving application fees, creating a new EApp (electronic application), allowing students to use a single application for multiple universities, and suspending
the requirement that students take the ACT.
The increase in applications does not necessarily reflect an increase in demand. With free, online applications, I expect that they are getting a lot of applicants who have little interest in actually attending. That seems to be what Tommy Thompson is indicating here:
Thompson cautioned that not all students who apply and are admitted will enroll. However, he said the increase in applications is a positive signal about first-year enrollments.
Here is the real number to watch – enrollment.
Largely due to the pandemic, enrollment was down at UW System universities in fall 2020 by 1.7 percent, according to final figures. That’s less than the national decline of 4 percent for public institutions, according to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center