There’s nothing cheesy about a state that values higher education! Several of Wisconsin’s college systems have worked together to develop an educational attainment goal called “60 Forward.”
The plan aims to have 60% of Wisconsin residents aged 25-64 hold some type of postsecondary credential by the year 2027. While Wisconsin’s attainment rate is already above the national average, reaching that 60% will help secure the state’s economic future.
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Goals like 60 Forward demonstrate just how committed the state of Wisconsin is to higher education.
Overview of Higher Education in Wisconsin
In Wisconsin there are 75 degree-granting institutions, according to a 2018-2019 report by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).
Of these, 34 are public, 34 are private non-profit and 7 are private for-profit. Many of the schools have formed state-wide alliances to offer support and share resources. Wisconsin’s Technical College System (WTCS) coordinates the efforts of 16 technical colleges throughout the state.
The Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (WAICU) connects 23 private, non-profit institutions. And the University of Wisconsin (UW) System, one of the largest public education systems in the world, has 26 campuses and statewide extension locations.
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The cost to attend college in Wisconsin is well below the national average. The NCES states that the average tuition and fees for a 4-year public institution in Wisconsin was $8697 for in-state students and $25,063 for out-of-state students.
Students who cannot find their chosen major at an in-state school don’t have to pay sky-high out-of-state tuition rates, though, thanks to Wisconsin’s participation in the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). The MSEP allows students to enroll at public schools in any of the 9 participating states for no more than 150% of the in-state tuition rate.
About Online Colleges in Wisconsin
In 2018, a report by the NCES showed 10.3% of undergraduate students in Wisconsin were enrolled in fully online degree programs, and another 17.9% were participating in some combination of online and on-campus classes. Those numbers continue to rise as universities increase their online offerings to meet the changing needs of college students.
Today, University of Wisconsin’s (UW) eCampus offers more than 150 online degrees and certificates, including online bachelor’s degrees in fields like Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Elementary Education, Information Technology, Marketing, and many other areas.
UW also offers a unique program that is even more flexible than typical online classes. Designed for busy adults, UW Flexible Option allows you to start any month, work at your own pace, and earn credit for knowledge you already have (from prior coursework, military training, on-the-job training, etc.).
UW’s Academic Success Coaches personalize the lesson plans, which focus on competency rather than class time. Once you have demonstrated mastery in an area, you earn credit and move on to the next assessment, so no time is wasted. UW Flexible Option students earn the same recognized and respected UW degree credentials as traditional students who attend classes on campus.
Online learning opportunities are also available at the state’s private institutions. Students at Marquette University have access to an online certificate and undergraduate program, plus several online graduate degree programs, including Business Administration, Corporate Communication, Supply Chain Management, Christian Doctrine, and Healthcare Data Analytics.
Scholarships and Financial Aid in Wisconsin
If you’re interested in earning a degree in Wisconsin, you should first complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
It’s important to complete the application even if you don’t believe you will qualify for need-based aid, because the FAFSA can give you access to federal, state and even school-based aid, including low interest loans, and may be required by the schools you apply to.
Oftentimes financial aid funds are distributed on a first come, first served basis, so you should apply as early as possible. The FAFSA is available starting October 1st of the year before you plan to attend college. When you fill out the FAFSA, you will need to provide financial information for yourself and your parents (unless you’re considered “independent”). Your answers will help determine how much aid is offered to you.
As a Wisconsin resident, you have access to tremendous financial aid opportunities. Here are a few of the programs sponsored by your state:
- Academic Excellence Scholarship (AES) – For high school seniors with the highest GPA in each public and private school in the state; Up to $2250 per year
- Hearing & Visually Handicapped Student Grant – Need-based aid for students with a severe or profound hearing or visual impairment; $250-1800
- Indian Student Assistance Grant – Need-based aid for students who are at least 25% Native American; $250-1100
- Minority Undergraduate Retention Grant – Need-based aid for minority undergraduates excluding first year students; $250-$2500
- Talent Incentive Program (TIP) Grant – For the most financially needy and educationally disadvantaged students; Nominated by financial aid office or counselors; Amount varies, $600-$1800 for initial award
- Technical Excellence Scholarship (TES) – For high school seniors who have demonstrated the highest level of proficiency in technical education and will attend a school in the WTCS; up to $2250 per year
- Wisconsin Grant – Need-based aid for undergraduates at University of Wisconsin schools, Wisconsin Technical College, and Tribal Colleges; Amount varies, $250-3150
- Wisconsin Grant – Private – Need-based aid for undergraduates at non-profit private colleges; Amount varies
- Veteran’s Grant for Private Non-Profit Schools – For veterans enrolled at private, non-profit schools; Must maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher; Up to $2000
There are also aid programs for students going into the teaching and nursing professions. Another way to help pay for college is through scholarships. Private scholarships are awarded for all sorts of things – race, religion, gender, athletic or artistic abilities, unique talents, intended major, life experiences, etc.
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Scholarship search sites like Fastweb.com make it easy to find scholarships. Just enter some basic information about yourself and the site will match you with dozens of scholarships you may be eligible for. Here are some examples of scholarships available to students in Wisconsin:
|Scholarship Name||Scholarship amount|
|Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation Scholarships||Multiple scholarships of varying amounts|
|The Association of Wisconsin Snowmobile Club (AWSC) Scholarship||Multiple scholarships of varying amounts|
|Wisconsin Bakers Association Scholarship||Multiple scholarships of varying amounts|
Finally, if you need additional financial aid, reach out to the school you have chosen. They may have additional programs available – both need and merit-based – and will work with you to make your education affordable.
List of Online Colleges in Wisconsin
|Online Colleges in Wisconsin||Annual Tuition||Application Fee|
|University of Wisconsin||$5,159||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Green Bay||$7,878||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – La Crosse||$9,091||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee||$9,493||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh||$7,544||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Platteville||$7,484||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Stout||$9,395||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Superior||$8,088||$50|
|University of Wisconsin – Madison||$10,488||$50|
The northern state offers top-notch schools with unique options to help working adults earn degrees, as well as generous financial aid programs to help make it all possible. Wisconsin is an excellent place to further your education!