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We are in a slow-down when it comes to the number of college-bound students in Wisconsin. There is simply a shortage of young people who want to go to college, and it’s going to stay that way for several more years.

UW Oshkosh isn’t waiting out the lull. Titans Are taking action.

We have made some very strategic investments in enrollment management over the past two years, and, based on a current snapshot in time, they are paying off. We are firing on all cylinders.

Our total new-student applications for fall 2017 are up 16 percent over last year, as compared to a more moderate four percent increase across all UW campuses. Applications from out-of-state students—a key population that we have plenty of capacity for—are up seven percent, with Illinois-based student applications up almost 10 percent.

Why should that matter to current students? More inbound students mean more revenue to support the growth and creation of new academic programs and transformative experiences.

Why does it matter to our broader community? Wisconsin is hungry for talent. The more we can inspire in-state and out-of-state students to take a closer look at UWO, the greater the chance we have to keep them here after they cross the Commencement stage.

Within three years of Commencement, more than 90 percent of UWO graduates who hail from Wisconsin have stayed in Wisconsin. They work, volunteer, pursue further education, raise families and reinvest in our state’s economy and culture.

Where there is room to grow is in out-of-state talent: 38 percent of graduates from other states plant roots here within three years of Commencement. We are going to double our efforts to improve those numbers.

At UWO, we are using a new and strategic piece of technology called a customer relations management system to help. You may have also seen the new “Titans Are” advertising campaign, which has been successfully inspiring students in- and out-of-state to explore and attend UWO.

UWO is a “hot” school, now taking a larger percentage of the applications submitted for UW campuses than we have in many years. We have many to thank for this success. I particularly want to thank our Admissions team and Jill Endries, who is preparing for retirement, for helping lead Admissions through this seismic shift in how we recruit students. Jill is a passionate Titan.

We all play a role in this success story. Every day, we stride closer toward our strategic plan goal of achieving greater financial strength through stable and predictable enrollment. Titans are determined to get there. So far, our combined efforts are delivering results.


NOTE: This post was first published in the Feb. 23, 2017 edition of The Advance-Titan.