Wisconsin is in no short supply of higher education options, with more than 80 colleges and universities throughout the state. The University of Wisconsin System is the state’s public university system. It has 26 campuses and enrolls more than 181,000 students each year, with more than 1 million through statewide extension programs, making it one of the largest public higher education systems in the country. The Wisconsin Technical System is another major public institution in the state, with 16 college districts across 49 campuses that enroll about 370,000 students a year in its two-year associate degree, technical diploma, or short-term technical diploma programs.
A major goal of Wisconsin’s state government is to make attaining a college degree more affordable and accessible. To that end, it has partnered with the University of Wisconsin System to create a new, flexible competency-based model for delivering higher education. This self-paced model will allow students to start classes anytime and earn credit for what they already know. Another new initiative aims to increase post-secondary attainment through dual enrollment. College-level courses will be made available to high school students either in their high school classrooms or online, so that they can get a jump start on their college career. The University of Wisconsin System has created its own strategies to increase educational attainment, strengthen its higher education, and help create jobs in the state. Its “Growth Agenda for Wisconsin” includes specific goals for increasing the number of Wisconsin residents who have a college degree and leveraging the system’s research capacity to grow more well-paying jobs.