WAICU-member colleges and universities currently enroll more than 54,000 students. 58% of the undergraduate students are from Wisconsin.


27% of Wisconsin private nonprofit undergraduate students are students of color; compared to 18% in the public colleges and universities. 33% of all students in WAICU institutions are age 25 or over, compared to 21% in the UW System. 31% of WAICU undergraduate students are first-generation.

Educational Opportunity

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 undergraduate students (31%) than at the the 4- year public institutions (24.4%). Transfer students are also welcomed. In 2019, 21% 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 $123,934 compared to only $9,979 at WAICU-member institutions.

State Funding

The Wisconsin Grant is the primary state-funded need-based financial aid program for Wisconsin students attending private nonprofit colleges or universities. The 2019-2020 Wisconsin Grant appropriation of $28.5 million represents only about 1.60% of funding for all of higher education.

Net Tuition/Out-of-pocket costs

The average price for undergraduate tuition and fees at WAICU-member colleges or universities during 2018-2019 was $33,422. The average freshman financial aid package was $29,007. leaving net tuition costs of just $4,415. For 2018-2019, average tuition at the 4-year public institutions was $8,484. (Additional costs for room and board are comparable in the public and private nonprofit sectors.)

95% of full-time degree-seeking undergraduates at private nonprofit colleges and universities in Wisconsin receive financial aid. 90% of undergraduates at WAICU institutions receive grants and scholarship, compared to 75% at other 4-year, degree-granting, private nonprofit institutions in the US. 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 50% higher than the rate for students on public campuses. This enables graduates to pay less tuition and to start earning sooner.

Educational Productivity

Each year, Wisconsin’s private nonprofit institutions produce more than 12,700 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 25% of the business graduates, 25% of the engineering graduates, and 51% of the nursing graduates.

At the graduate level, WAICU members produce 45% of the business degrees, 59% of the physician assistant degrees, 71% of the nursing degrees, 47% of the medical doctor degrees, 45% of the teacher education degrees, and 100% of the dentistry degrees.

Personal Attention

The average class size in Wisconsin’s private nonprofit colleges and universities is just 17 students and the student/faculty ratio is under 11:1. This personal interaction is just one reason that the majority of students graduating from private nonprofit colleges do so in four years.