Fall enrollment, 9,349, approaches a school record

By University Communications
September 30, 2014
Students walk to class near Jarvis Science Hall.

Photo: Students walk to class near Jarvis Science Hall.

Total enrollment at the University of Wisconsin-Stout for the 2014-15 academic year increased 63 over last year and is approaching a record, university officials reported Wednesday, Sept. 17.

The university released tentative enrollment of 9,349, compared with a record of 9,356 in 2011 and 9,286 a year ago. The university records its tentative enrollment on the 10th academic day each fall.

The final enrollment number will be released by UW System officials later this year.

UW-Stout officials noted that the final number traditionally is higher than what is reported in September, meaning a record enrollment is still possible for 2014-15. For example, the September 2013 tentative count was 9,279 and the final 2013 enrollment number was 9,286.

“This enrollment increase and possible record is a testament to the incredible hard work and dedication of every faculty and staff member at UW-Stout,” said Chancellor Bob Meyer. “Everyone has to work together to achieve this kind of success.”

“We are getting the word out about our excellent job placement rate for graduates and our exciting undergraduate and graduate programs,” said Jackie Weissenburger, provost and vice chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. “Our message of student success and new, innovative programs is resonating with the public.”

For over 10 years, UW-Stout students have been reporting a 97 percent career placement rate of undergraduates within six months of leaving campus, with 80 percent of the positions in the graduates’ fields of study. UW-Stout also has doubled the number of undergraduate majors in the last 10 years and now offers 45 undergraduate programs and 23 advanced-degree programs.

Weissenburger said a number of factors went into the enrollment increase, accomplished at a time when the number of high school graduates is declining in Wisconsin. Those factors include a freshman class that essentially met its enrollment target; an increase in the number of transfer students; the enrollment of more students in graduate programs; and a higher retention rate for continuing students.

“I am particularly pleased that our freshman class has a higher ACT composite score than in previous years and our average high school grade point average also is up,” Weissenburger said. “On top of these improvements, we also have a more diverse student population.”

Meyer said it takes everyone on campus to focus on enrollment to make a possible record-setting year.

“Special thanks has to go to the Admissions Office, University Marketing and University Communications for helping the public to recognize the value of a UW-Stout degree,” Meyer said. “Other offices that contributed to the increase were housing, dining, facilities, recreation and athletics, as well as the student centers.”

Weissenburger said program directors for each undergraduate and graduate program play a huge role in enrollment, as well as the Dean of Students, Registration and Records, International Education and the Graduate School staff. Being able to offer scholarships through the Stout University Foundation is critical, she said, as well as providing students with the latest in technology through the eStout or laptop program and top-notch labs.

Over the past decade, the rate of enrollment increases at UW-Stout is second highest in the UW System.

Freshmen happy they chose UW-Stout

Anna Korbein is a freshman from Farmington, Minn., majoring in special education.

“I’ve never made a better decision in my life,” Korbein said of her decision to come to UW-Stout. “I feel so at home here. It’s the most welcoming atmosphere I’ve ever been in.”

Korbein said she chose UW-Stout because she knew she would get personal attention from her professors.

“Being able to approach a professor and have them know you by name is a great feeling,” she said. “It’s always nice to be known by who you are rather than a number. This is where I knew I belonged.”

Natasha Morris is a freshman from River Falls majoring in art education.

“The job placement rate here is fantastic,” Morris said of why she chose UW-Stout. “The campus is smaller and everyone seems friendlier.”

Even though it is early in the academic year, Morris said she is very happy with her decision to go to UW-Stout. “All of my teachers are great, the campus isn't too big and I've made some friends already.”

Meyer became chancellor on Aug. 16, succeeding Charles Sorensen who was chancellor for 26 years.

“We are off to a great start at UW-Stout,” said Meyer, who has been chancellor for little over a month. “The future for UW-Stout is very bright.”

UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, has more than 9,300 students in 45 undergraduate majors and 23 graduate programs, including one doctoral degree. UW-Stout, established in 1891, prides itself on the success of its students in the workplace, with a graduate employment rate at or above 97 percent for recent graduates. The university was awarded the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality award in 2001.