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UW System enrollment drops 1% for fall semester, per initial estimates

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MADISON, Wis. — The University of Wisconsin System released an initial fall 2021 enrollment estimate on Wednesday of 163,708 students — a 1% decrease compared to last fall based on initial first-day figures.

According to a news release, the system typically discloses only final fall enrollment figures, and typically later in the semester, but said it is releasing the data now based on interest on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Freshman and new transfer registrations increased, however, by 1,316 students, or 4%, but it dropped by 3,305 students among other undergraduates, which is 4%.

“These preliminary estimates reflect a number of factors,” said interim system president Tommy Thompson in a statement. “It’s clear that students continue to view the UW System as a tremendous value and their ticket to a brighter future. New freshman and transfer students are up, thanks to our added recruitment tools coupled with the extraordinary work done by admissions and registrations staff.”

Overall enrollment increased at UW-Madison, UW-Green Bay and UW-Superior, but dropped at the other 10.

The final enrollment figures that will be made public later this year may differ from the first-day estimates, the release said.

On Tuesday, Thompson announced that a total of 85 percent of classes across the UW System are being offered in-person this fall, smashing his goal of 75 percent.

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