WAICU-member colleges and universities currently enroll nearly 55,000 students. About 60% are from Wisconsin.
22% of Wisconsin private nonprofit college and university undergraduate students are racial/ethnic minorities; compared to 17% in the UW System. 34% of all students in WAICU institutions are age 25 or over, compared to 21% in the UW System. 26% of WAICU undergraduate students are first-generation.
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 (27.3%) than at UW System institutions (24.3%). Transfer students are also welcomed. In 2016, 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. Over four years, the cost to state taxpayers per degree at public institutions is $127,368 compared to only $9,896 at WAICU-member institutions. WAICU members do not receive direct state taxpayer support; low-income Wisconsin students receive financial aid in the form of the Wisconsin Grant.
The Wisconsin Grant (WG) is the primary state-funded need-based financial aid program for Wisconsin students attending private nonprofit colleges or universities. The 2017-18 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 78% 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 64% 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 24% of Wisconsin’s bachelor’s degrees and 35% of the advanced degrees.
Among the bachelor’s degrees, the private nonprofit colleges and universities produce 27% of the business graduates, 27% of the engineering graduates, and 51% of the nursing graduates.
At the graduate level, WAICU members produce 41% of the business degrees, 55% of the physician assistant degrees, 57% of the nursing degrees, 63% of the medical doctor degrees, 51% 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.