Wisconsin’s public universities were early adopters of online education technology. This year, the University of Wisconsin held its 30th annual Distance Teaching and Learning Conference in Madison. When the summit was held in 1985 it was one of the first online learning gatherings in the U.S.; today, the conference remains one of the nation’s largest. The state government also takes a progressive approach to online education. In 2012, Gov. Scott Walker announced a new initiative called the UW Flexible Degree. The program, created collaboration with officials from the University of Wisconsin system, is a “competency-based” degree. This means it offers adult learners rolling enrollment dates, asynchronous open course schedules and the option to earn college credit for previous work experience or coursework.
While the state has worked to keep tuition rates competitive, Wisconsin’s ten-year college enrollment growth rate of 11% lags behind the national average of 19%. Between 2006 and 2011, the cost of attending college in Wisconsin remained lower than the national average. In fact, Wisconsin was one of only two states where average four-year tuition rates actually fell between 2008-2014. Most recent figures show that Wisconsin’s public tuition rates are still just below the national average of $22,958. Surprisingly, the state manages to keep tuition rates low on a relatively tight higher education budget. Wisconsin spent approximately $5,000 per student in the 2013-14 school year, less than the national average of $7,130 per learner.
Explore distance education options in Wisconsin by using the search filters below. You can find additional information about how the state’s educational environment compares nationally in the state facts tab.