MADISON, Wis. (WFRV) – Jay Rothman, the University of Wisconsin president, announced on Tuesday that two schools, including UW-Oshkosh’s Fond du Lac campus, will be ending in-person classes and one additional campus will be closed.
Rothman says the two campuses that are looking to end in-person classes are UW-Milwaukee at Washington County and UW-Oshkosh, Fond du Lac campus. Both are expected to do so by June of 2024. The campus set to close is UE-Platteville Richland.
“It’s time for us to realign our branch campuses to current market realities and prepare for the future. The status quo is not sustainable. This decision is a response to an evolving student marketplace. Offering students an educational experience they deserve while working with local leaders to ensure it meets their expectations is key to our long-term success.”
These decisions now leave 10 remaining branch campuses located in Barron County, Baraboo, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marshfield, Menasha, Rock County, Sheboygan, Waukesha, and Wausau.
Rothman has reportedly told the chancellors overseeing the remaining 10 campuses to discuss future options with local governments as a way to determine the best way for the schools to serve their communities.
Rothman says the remaining branch campuses could be used in a number of ways including offering four-year and graduate degree options, upskilling and reskilling opportunities for the existing workforce, expanding dual enrollment, or opening ‘navigation centers’ for high school and nontraditional students seeking guidance on their university journey.
Rothman adds that the branch campuses could potentially be retained and those choices are being made by focusing on what is needed for the majority of traditional and nontraditional students and not by cost savings.
“We are seeing freshman enrollment rising at most of our four-year campuses while enrollment at the two-year campuses has been falling at a rapid rate for year. Moreover, online enrollment has been trending up as well. The market is telling us that increasingly students are pursuing a degree at our four-year campuses or online.”
Students currently attending schools at campuses where in-person classes will no longer be available will reportedly be offered enrollment options at other universities. Rothman says he told chancellors to start negotiations with the goal of creating a clear plan for the future by early spring of 2024.