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Meet the UW–Madison Class of 2024

September 22, 2020 By Doug Erickson

This fall’s class of newly arrived freshmen at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is the second largest in the institution’s history and continues the university’s strong commitment to access and affordability for Wisconsin families.

The university enrolled 7,306 freshmen, second only to last year’s record-breaking class of 7,550. This year’s freshmen were selected from a record 45,941 applicants, up 4.6 percent from last year.

“During this time of great uncertainty, we could not be more appreciative that so many students have entrusted us with their education,” says Provost Karl Scholz. “We remain deeply committed to providing a world-class education to our students while pushing the boundaries of knowledge and deepening understanding of what it means to be human.  Our mission is even more important in these challenging times.”

Wisconsin focus: The university pledged in 2015 that, even in a time of static or declining high school enrollment in the state, upcoming freshman classes would include at least 3,600 Wisconsin residents.

  • This year’s number of 3,802 exceeds that by 202 students.
  • These students come from every corner of the state — 71 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties.
  • The university admitted 73 percent of Wisconsin applicants this year, up from 68 percent last year. The admittance rate for nonresident applicants this year was 53.8 percent.

“We take our commitment to Wisconsin families extremely seriously — it is at the core of what we do as the state’s flagship university,” says Derek Kindle, vice provost for enrollment management. “Our Wisconsin-resident freshmen are some of the brightest, most accomplished, and most sought-after students in the country. We’re thrilled they’ve chosen us, and we eagerly welcome them and their talents to UW.”

Access: The Bucky’s Tuition Promise and Badger Promise programs continue to make an education at UW–Madison affordable for more and more of these Wisconsin students.

  • Bucky’s Tuition Promise, now in its third year, covers full tuition for four years for residents whose families make less than the state median income.
  • This year, UW–Madison welcomed 755 Bucky’s Tuition Promise freshmen to campus, bringing the total number of Wisconsin students on campus receiving full tuition and segregated fees through this program to more than 2,518.
  • Together with Badger Promise (for transfer students), one in five new Wisconsin-resident students on campus this fall is receiving full tuition and segregated fees through either Bucky’s Tuition Promise or Badger Promise.

“We know the financial ramifications of the global pandemic have hit many Wisconsin families hard,” says Helen Faith, director of the Office of Student Financial Aid. “With Bucky’s Tuition Promise and Badger Promise, we had two large-scale programs already up and running that could quickly and easily alleviate some of the financial pressures for many of our Wisconsin-resident students.”

Diversity: The freshman class includes 989 underrepresented domestic students of color, who identify as African-American, Hispanic/Latinx, American Indian, or Southeast Asian-American. This number is up 19.8 percent, from 825 the prior year.

“Chancellor Blank has made it a priority to improve the experience of students of color and recruitment is a key part of that effort,” says André Phillips, director of undergraduate admissions and recruitment. “While we know we have much more work to do, we’re encouraged by the increase we’ve seen in first-year and transfer enrollment this year. As we attract more underrepresented students, it’s critical that the university continues to focus on increasing inclusion and equity efforts so that the entire campus community benefits from the talent and innovation that diversity brings.”

Total enrollment for fall 2020 at UW–Madison is 45,537, up from a record high last year of 45,317. The campus welcomed 1,010 new transfer students, up from 889 last fall. Just over 64 percent of all undergraduates are Wisconsin residents or enrollees through the Minnesota reciprocity program, from whom the university receives in-state tuition amounts.

The enrollment numbers come from the university’s official census, taken each semester on the 10th day of classes.