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UW-Madison receives record number of applications, while rest of system sees decline

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Laurel White, Wisconsin Public Radio

University of Wisconsin-Madison says it received a record number of applications for its incoming freshman class, while most other UW System schools experienced a decline in applications.

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More than 30,000 applications came in to UW-Madison — a 3 percent increase from the previous year.

Only two other four-year schools in the UW System, Platteville and Stevens Point, had a steady number or increase in applications.

Jim Villa, the vice president for university relations for the UW System, said the decline in applications can be blamed on the shrinking number of high school seniors in the state.

“In large part, it's a result of demographics,” said Villa. “If you look at the number of high school graduates in Wisconsin, it probably peaked at around 71,000 in 2009, and we're down to 63,000 in 2014.”

Ken Anselment, the former president of the Wisconsin Association for College Admission Counseling, said Wisconsin isn't facing this demographic challenge alone.

“Nationally, actually, the number of college-bound students is on a decline,” he said. “And it is more acutely seen here in the upper Midwest and in New England.”

UW-Green Bay experienced the sharpest decline in applications among the UW system's four-year schools, receiving 15 percent fewer applications last year than the previous year. A spokesperson for the school said that they are pleased, however, with a steady number of transfer applications, as well as a high percentage of admitted students choosing to enroll at the university.

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