WAICU-member colleges and universities currently enroll nearly 58,000 students. About 2/3 are from Wisconsin.
Racial / Ethnic Diversity
In 2015, 21% of Wisconsin private nonprofit college and university undergraduate students were racial/ethnic minorities; compared to 16% in the UW System. In 2015, 34% of all students in WAICU institutions were age 25 or over, compared to 21% in the UW System.
Students who qualify for the federal Pell Grant (by definition, those with significant financial need) at WAICU-member colleges and universities constitute a higher percentage of enrolled students (29.4%) than at 4-year UW System institutions (27.3%). Transfer students are also welcomed. In 2015, 23% of the new students at Wisconsin’s private nonprofit colleges and universities were transfer students.
Leveraging State Tax Dollars
WAICU member colleges and universities receive no direct operating support from state taxpayers. Their Wisconsin students do qualify for student aid. Private nonprofit higher education is a bargain for state taxpayers. Each full-time-equivalent student attending the UW System is supported by a state taxpayer subsidy of $6,659 per year, while the comparable support for a full-time-equivalent student at a private nonprofit college or university is just $610 per year.
The Wisconsin Grant (WG) is the primary state-funded need-based financial aid program for Wisconsin students attending private nonprofit colleges or universities. The 2015-16 WG appropriation of $26.9 million represents only about 2% of all state funds appropriated for higher education.
Net Tuition/Out-of-pocket costs
The average price for undergraduate tuition and fees at WAICU-member colleges or universities during 2015-2016 was $30,920. The average freshman financial aid package was $25,420 leaving net tuition costs of just $5,500. This net tuition for WAICU institutions has been under $5,500 or less for nine years in a row. For 2015-2016, average UW tuition was $8,317. (Additional costs for room and board are comparable in the public and private nonprofit sectors.)
99% of full-time first-time undergraduates at private nonprofit colleges and universities in Wisconsin receive financial aid. Grants, which do not have to be paid back, make up over 77% of the average financial aid package.
4-Year Graduation Rates
The 4-year graduation rate for first-time, full-time students who began and stayed at a private, nonprofit college or university is 68% higher than the rate for students on public campuses. This enables graduates to pay less tuition and to start earning sooner.
Each year, Wisconsin’s private nonprofit institutions produce more than 13,800 graduates, most of whom remain in Wisconsin. WAICU members grant 27% of Wisconsin’s bachelor’s degrees and 37% of the advanced degrees.
Among the bachelor’s degrees, the private nonprofit colleges and universities produce 29% of the business graduates, 31% of the engineering graduates, and 52% of the nursing graduates.
At the graduate level, WAICU members produce 46% of the business degrees, 55% of the physician assistant degrees, 73% of the nursing degrees, 58% of the medical doctor degrees, 50% of the teacher education degrees, and 100% of the dentistry degrees.
The average class size in Wisconsin’s private nonprofit colleges and universities is just 16 students and the student/faculty ratio is under 12:1. This personal interaction is just one reason that the majority of students graduating from private nonprofit colleges do so in four years.