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An overwhelming number of University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s young alumni believe that their education at the state’s third-largest university was an excellent investment.

UW Oshkosh, along with 10 other UW System four-year campuses, recently participated in a national survey of young alumni, ages 25-39, conducted by the American Council on Education (ACE).

Terry Hartle, ACE’s senior vice president of government and public affairs, presented the survey results last week to the UW System Board of Regents, calling the findings “stunning” and “extraordinary.”

“I was especially pleased but not surprised with Hartle’s characterization that young alumni from UW System schools, such as UW Oshkosh, have exceptionally high opinions of their alma maters compared with the national average. This is strong affirmation of the deep commitment of UW Oshkosh faculty and staff to our students,” UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard H. Wells said.

Four hundred alumni from each participating institution were asked about their educational experiences, and their overall view of American colleges and universities.

“On its own, this survey is encouraging. Taken together with other data, it paints a very positive picture about the University’s contribution to our citizens’ success,” said UW System President Kevin P. Reilly.

“We’re serving more students than ever before, with nearly 182,000 students enrolled at 26 campuses. From a review of our alumni records, we know that Wisconsin residents who attend a UW System school are very likely to remain in the state, putting their college education to good use,” he added.

UW Oshkosh has nearly 80,000 alumni worldwide, with more than 1,000 students set to receive their diplomas at the midyear commencement ceremony 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Dec. 18, at Kolf Sports Center.

The ACE survey showed that 97 percent of UW Oshkosh graduates reported high approvals compared with the national average of 88 percent. In addition, 94 percent of UW Oshkosh alumni (compared with the national average of 89 percent) thought time dedicated to degree and money spent on tuition was worth it.

“It is satisfying to know that our young alumni think highly of their alma mater and feel the time and money spent earning their degree was worth the investment,” said UW Oshkosh Alumni Director Christine Gantner. “Our role in Alumni Relations is to help these alumni continue to benefit from a life-long connection with their alma mater.”

Ninety percent of UW Oshkosh graduates surveyed agreed that their alma mater charged a “fair price” for their education. The national average was 76 percent.

UW Oshkosh alumni topped the national average on two additional measures:  72 percent (compared with 61 percent nationally) believe that “America’s colleges and universities are prepared to meet the challenges of the future,” and 69 percent (62 percent nationally) think that “colleges and universities are adequately preparing students for the demands of the future.”

Eight out of 10 (80 percent) UW Oshkosh graduates said they were “effectively prepared with the knowledge and skills they needed” — just one percentage point below the national average of 81 percent.

As part of the UW System’s Growth Agenda for Wisconsin, all UW institutions are striving to increase the number of well-prepared college graduates and create more better-paying jobs in Wisconsin.

“Moving forward, it is critical that the state of Wisconsin continues to support our excellent educational offerings to ensure that our future alumni prosper as well,” Chancellor Wells said.

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