04 Oct UW-Madison enrollment numbers show growing, diversifying freshman class
This year, the University of Wisconsin-Madison is welcoming the largest and most racially diverse freshman class in the institution’s history.
According to fall 2021 enrollment data released last week, 8,500 freshmen are enrolled at UW-Madison this semester — a 16% increase compared to last fall’s freshmen. The class comes from a pool of 53,829 applicants, a record-setting number that has risen 17% over the past year. The university has nearly 48,000 students total attending this fall semester, up from 45,540 last year.
This growth comes despite enrollment declining in higher education throughout the state and nation, due in part to the pandemic and a stagnant number of high school graduates in Wisconsin. The university has also diversified its freshman class, on par with data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which show the nation and its college students are becoming more diverse.
Across the U.S, college enrollment for the high school graduating class of 2020 dropped by 6.8% from the previous year, an “unprecedented” decline, according to the educational nonprofit National Student Clearinghouse.
Similar to peer institutions, UW-Madison is ushering in a freshman class that is “larger than anticipated,” the university said in a statement.
“As with so many things, COVID-19 introduced an unprecedented level of uncertainty during this admissions cycle,” said Derek Kindle, UW-Madison’s vice provost for enrollment management. “Although the pandemic continues to affect our students and families on multiple fronts, the demand for a UW-Madison education is stronger than ever as evidenced by this freshman class.”