UW Eau-Claire looks to bolster Blugold enrollment

Chancellor Jim addresses the looming decrease of high school graduates beginning around 2025 and a new push to attract students from outside of the region.
Published: Jan. 12, 2021 at 5:51 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -Early projections from last summer, predicted a 20% drop in the freshman enrollment at universities across the country.

“At UW Eau Claire it wasn’t quite that bad, our first year class was about 9% smaller than the average year, the overall national decrease was nearly 3%,” says UW Eau Claire Chancellor James Schmidt.

Looking at UW Eau Claire’s year in review Tuesday at the Chamber/UW-Eau Claire Virtual Business Community Breakfast, Chancellor Schmidt notes their overall enrollment drop this year was less than 2%.

The future issue, stems from projections of a drastic decline in Wisconsin’s high school graduation class sizes.

“We’ve seen a looming enrollment cliff coming for 2025,” Schmidt says.

The good thing about higher education, Schmidt says is the ability of having 18 years notice of who the universities upcoming students may be.

“We must increase both our market share in Wisconsin and Minnesota, our traditional recruiting grounds, and expand the pie,” Schmidt says.

Joining the chancellor was a panel made up of faculty, staff and students on how they plan to grow Blugold enrollment from beyond the region and nationally.

“We are also creating four personality types based on research of what students are usually attracted to Eau Claire and we’re creating specific messages for those different types of personalities highlighting experiences and opportunities that we think will resonate with them both on campus and in the city,” says Bill Felz, UWEC Director of Advising, Retention + Career Center.

Felz also adds, applications for the fall are up 50% compared to last year.

The university is also making headway on replacing a building on campus that turns 60 years old this year.

“Our faculty, staff and students are working now with an architect and engineering firm to design the infrastructure for the new sciences and heatlh sciences building,” Schmidt says.

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