The University of Wisconsin (UW) represents one of the largest public higher education school systems in the country. Although the school system can trace its roots back to the mid 19th century, it was not until 1971 that the current school system was formed. The current UW school system consists of former Wisconsin State University institutions, original UW baccalaureate granting schools, UW two year colleges and UW extension offices. There are now 13 UW campuses, 13 UW colleges and UW extension offices in 72 counties. In addition to physical locations, the UW eCampus system provides students with access to over 70 degree and professional development certificate programs through online channels. The hub of the UW system is located in the state’s capital of Madison which is also home to the school system’s most well known campus.
University of Wisconsin Accreditation Details
The entire UW system is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC-NCACS). Since each campus has earned institutional accreditation through HLC-NCACS, eCampus courses which are administered through the UW campuses benefit from this accreditation status. UW-Madison which is one of the oldest of the UW system campuses was first accredited through HLC-NCACS in 1913, and it was last accredited in 2009.
Additionally, the UW-Madison campus has 50 programs that are accredited by discipline. For example, several of its business degree programs are accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Also, many of UW-Madison’s engineering and computer science degree programs are accredited through the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). Online degree programs taken through UW’s eCampus bear the same institutional and program specific accreditation credentials of the traditional degree programs offered throughout the UW system’s 13 campuses.
University of Wisconsin Application Requirements
Each year the UW school system admits over 180,000 students, and one of the most important steps in the admissions process is submitting the university’s application. Application requirements differ by student type and desired campus. For example, international, graduate and non-degree seeking students must fill out a different application than domestic freshmen and undergraduate transfer students; UW-Madison campus also has a different application from those of the other campuses. The UW system website allows students to submit applications online, or students can download the application form and mail the completed document to the desired campus admissions office.
The application for incoming freshmen and transfer students who are U.S. citizens consists of 10 sections that ask students to provide personal information, academic history, intended area of study, financial information, employment and volunteer activities and answers to campus specific essay questions. Some of the personal information requested are name, address, date of birth, phone number, citizenship status, social security number and ethnicity. Academic history provided by students include name of high school, disclosure of home schooling, date of diploma or equivalency, standardized test scores, high school courses that are in progress and any college level courses taken. Students must also declare their intended major, the campus that they would like to attend, the projected term of attendance, whether they want to attend classes as full or part time student, whether they plan to apply for financial aid, and if they plan to live on campus.. Students who want to attend distance learning degree programs at UW can indicate eCampus as their desired campus. Since specific eCampus degree programs are administered through physical campuses like UW- Eau Claire, students annotate their graduation campus as the one that administers their chosen eCampus program.
Students can also showcase their interests and talents by disclosing within the application the types of extracurricular and paid employment activities in which they have participated. It is important that students fill out their applications as completely as possible because many of the questions’ answers are meant to alert admission staff of possible program specific scholarships, grants and other financial aid opportunities for which the students qualify. Additionally, each campus has a couple of questions that it asks its applicants to answer in essay format. Upon completing and signing the application, students must submit the document along with a $44 fee.
Tuition and Financial Aid
While actual tuition costs differ by program, the estimated cost to attend UW for in state residents is $24,719 for the academic year 2015-2016. Out of state residents are projected to pay $41,569 for the same academic year, but residents of the neighboring state of Minnesota can expect to pay a significantly discounted rate of approximately $27,845 for the year. UW eCampus students work with their advisors to assess actual costs of their tuition based upon their specific program of study which is offered through one of the UW’s 13 campuses.
UW offers many ways for students to pay for their degree programs of choice, and students can talk to financial aid staff members at the UW campuses for which they apply to learn about specific opportunities. One of the first steps in financing a university degree is filling out the free application for federal student aid (FAFSA). Students who allow financial aid officers at UW to review their FAFSA applications often are made aware of scholarships and grants for which they qualify. Some of these financial aid awards are need based such as the Pell Grant, awarded to undergraduate students who have not yet earned a degree.
Other financial aid awards can be merit based, program specific or exclusively offered by a specific university campus. The A. Gertrude Anthony scholarship is an example of a program specific financial award bestowed upon a UW female student who is pursuing her teaching certification. The Aaron Horwitz and Zachary Aaron Kudisch scholarship is awarded to full time undergraduate business students at the UW, and the Ahlswede, Norman and Marie Endowed scholarship is awarded to eligible students enrolled in the College of Engineering at UW. While each UW scholarship requires a different application, the UW makes the scholarship application process a little easier through a university application called My Scholarship which gathers students’ personal data and matches them with available scholarships. Besides scholarships, financial aid officers help students to locate work study jobs on campus as well as obtain part time employment at various affiliated off campus venues. UW’s eCampus students are eligible for most of the grants, scholarships, loans and work study programs that are available to traditional degree program candidates.
Highlighted University of Wisconsin Online Degree Programs
One of the key ways that the UW system extends its quality educational brand to a wider audience is through its eCampus course offerings. Students have opportunities to accomplish their academic goals through online courses taken at the associate, undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degree levels. Additionally, the university offers a unique online educational experience called the UW Flexible Option that allows adult learners to gain credit toward degree completion for knowledge that they have gained throughout their years of experience and specialized training. The program provides a way to assess the knowledge of students on key competencies related to the degree that they are pursuing.
Some popular undergraduate online degree programs include those for information science and technology, health and wellness management and business administration. While many university engineering degree programs are still limited to traditional classrooms, UW offers quality graduate engineering degree options in areas like computer engineering, engine systems and engineering management. These engineering programs are administered through the UW-Madison campus and provide students with the same rigorous coursework as the university’s traditional engineering degree programs.
The University of Wisconsin Online System is a great resource for those interested in attending an online program through one of the many University of Wisconsin campuses.