FILE - University of Wisconsin-Madison

Bascom Hall on the campus of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

If not for UW Madison, the University of Wisconsin’s fall enrollment numbers would be much worse.

The University of Wisconsin System released its Fall 2019 enrollment figures on Thursday. 

The main campus in Madison added nearly 900 students compared to last fall, but most other UW campuses lost students. The university says overall enrollment is down nearly 3 percent. But enrollment at satellite campuses is down 25 percent.

“These preliminary enrollment numbers were not unexpected given the demographic trends,” UW System President Ray Cross said. “It demonstrates more than ever the need for investing in student success and building the talent pipeline to deliver the graduates Wisconsin needs.”

There are 167,186 total students enrolled across the UW System's 13 campuses. Of that, 44,995 are enrolled at UW Madison. UW Milwaukee is second on the list with 26,167 students; followed by UW Oshkosh with 15,299 students; UW Whitewater with 12,368 students; and UW Eau Claire with 11,201. 

Only five of the UW System's 13 campuses added students, but some added just a handful. For example UW Superior added just two students compared to last fall, and UW La Crosse added 10. 

Cross said the university is trying to deal with the disparity between the campuses in Madison and Milwaukee, and the rest of the state. 

"Amid a strong jobs market, enrollment in colleges traditionally dips. However, we have succeeded in accreditation and a guaranteed transfer policy, which set these campuses up for future success. We continue our efforts to attract and retain students at all levels across the System," Cross said in a statement. 

Staff Reporter

An industry veteran with two decades of experience in media, Benjamin Yount reports on Illinois and Wisconsin statewide issues for The Center Square.