The UW's Noel Radomski, managing director of the Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education (WISCAPE), offered his perspective in a Wisconsin Public Radio (WPR) news segment discussing enrollment declines at institutions of higher education in Wisconsin and throughout the U.S.
The segment, titled "Colleges Struggle to Attract Students," shares results from a May 22 National Student Clearinghouse Research Center report and notes the drop in enrollment is "across the board" but most severe in the Midwest.
According to the report, Wisconsin’s enrollment dropped 1.4 percent from 2017, and Minnesota’s decline was even greater -- at just more than 3 percent.
Radomski cautions against blaming fewer numbers of high school graduates for the declines. "There’s a myth out there that the number of high school graduates is declining significantly and the data is that’s not the case," he said.
Radomski says that instead the issue is "how to recruit, admit, enroll, and graduate young people as demographics change." In the future, he said, "the number of high school graduates from urban areas is expected to grow while it will decline in rural areas."
He added that in Wisconsin, "the focus on adult learners tends to be in the technical colleges. But that the UW System is encouraging adult learners and other nontraditional students to either return to college or start in part by expanding online courses."
View/listen to the segment on WPR's website.