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Today, I am announcing our plans to discontinue teaching and learning at the UWO Fox Cities campus in Menasha effective June 30, 2025. Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman reviewed our analysis, supports our plans and directs us to move forward.

This morning, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Ed Martini and I met with students, faculty and staff at UWO Fox Cities to inform them. We reach this decision after spending a year analyzing enrollment, the region’s and state’s changing demographics, softening student participation rates, regional higher-education competition (there are 11 public and private university and technical college sites within 50 miles of UWO Fox Cities, several fewer than 25 miles away, most offering two-year degree options), the potential for new and unique academic offerings and other educational and economic trends in a busy Fox Valley marketplace. In the end, we made a difficult but responsible decision.

Over the last several months, as we examined the landscape, Provost Martini and I briefed the UWO Fox Cities community and our county partners on the steep climb necessary to achieve fiscal sustainability at the campus. Given the trends and pressures mentioned above, even the most optimistic enrollment projections indicate that UWO Fox Cities campus is failing to generate tuition revenue to cover its costs.

UWO Fox Cities total enrollment has declined nearly 67% over the past decade. The five-year average decline is nearly 19%. With the number of high school graduates in Wisconsin expected to fall by 13% over the next decade, and given the regional trends, our analysis projects the potential for fewer than 100 UWO Fox Cities students by 2032.

Provost Martini worked with college deans and finance and administration colleagues to develop the analysis that led to our and President Rothman’s decisions. You can review it here. As the Provost concluded, “The challenges facing the campus, and indeed facing higher education in general, are not of our own making. They are reflection of massive changes in our state, our nation and our world that have increasingly threatened the educational models on which the Fox campus was founded and in which it thrived for many years…”

UWO plans on UWO Fox Cities faculty members continuing their service at the Oshkosh campus. Those transition plans will take shape into the months ahead. Further financial evaluation is necessary as we develop the 2026 budget to determine Fox campus staff members’ opportunities to transition.

Supporting students in price, plans and pathways

In separate outreach and communications, UWO is providing current and new, fall 2024 UWO Fox Cities students the guidance and support they deserve as they consider their next steps following the discontinuation of teaching and learning at the access campus on June 30, 2025. We also have a frequently asked questions webpage available here.

As we have since our joining, the university recognizes the UWO Fox Cities’ Access Campus mission and will support students through the transition. Again, I invite you to review the FAQ page for more details on the options and support students can count on.

Earlier this year, more than 70 percent of UWO Fond du Lac campus students signaled plans to transition to the Oshkosh campus after the conclusion of teaching and learning there. Nearly 90 percent of those students are continuing the pursuit of their Associate of Arts and Science degree at the Oshkosh campus. We are confident many UWO Fox Cities learners will, likewise, continue their journeys at UWO. We will support whatever path they choose.

Continuing to serve the region

UWO remains committed to access, opportunity and experiential learning for the good and growth of the Fox Valley region as it has since the institution’s birth in 1871. We are grateful to Outagamie and Winnebago Counties for their years of educational partnership with the Universities of Wisconsin and long-standing stewardship of the UWO Fox Cities campus. In a collaboration lasting decades, the counties invested in a home and an access point for two-year education and community enrichment. Teaching and learning may end at the Fox Cities campus, but our partners can continue to count on UWO to serve the Fox Valley’s people and organizations.

UWO programs and alumni talent remain tightly knitted into the region’s school systems, communities, industries and regional workforce.

  • About 2,000 students (headcount) hail from UW Oshkosh’s home Winnebago County. (19.8 percent) while another 1,535 (15.2 percent) are from Outagamie County, UWO’s 2nd largest county of origin.
  • An April, third-party financial assessment of UWO found that of the 20 top “hot jobs” requiring a bachelor’s degree, identified by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, UWO provides degree programs related to 80% of them. Those jobs are embedded throughout the Fox Valley.
  • In the last academic year, UWO’s Cooperative Academic Partnership Program (CAPP) served 1,425 high school learners earning college credits at 13 public and private partner high schools in the Fox Cities and Fox Valley.
  • UWO LinkedIn data, which certainly doesn’t capture a total count, shows at least 7 percent of the workforce within the Fox Valley Chamber of Commerce’s 35 largest employers (2,270 employees) are UW Oshkosh alumni. Five of those organizations have Titan-employee bases of greater than 10 percent.
  • Among six public school districts in the Fox Valley (Neenah Joint School District; Appleton Area School District; Menasha Joint School District; Kimberly Area School District; Kaukauna Area School District; Little Chute Area School District) UWO Titans comprise 10.5 percent of their employees (384 alumni).
  • This is all in addition to the dozens of UWO student teachers, practicum nurses and experiential learning interns embedded in school districts, companies, local governments and nonprofits throughout the region.

Outagamie, Winnebago and surrounding counties’ continue to be strong sources of enrollment at the Oshkosh campus. In turn, UWO prepares, graduates and helps successfully retains those students in the same region so many hail from. That won’t change.

I share difficult news today. But we remain ready to support our UWO Fox Cities students, faculty and staff through this transition. And UWO will remain a responsive provider of a high quality, accessible, affordable education and college experience with robust educational opportunities for stakeholders throughout the populous Fox Valley.

Chancellor Andy Leavitt


This post was originally shared as an email to the UW Oshkosh community on June 13, 2024.