Wisconsin Considers Direct Admissions

Board of Regents may try to reverse enrollment declines with the alternative to traditional admissions.

August 22, 2022
Overhead shot of the campus of the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay.
(U of Wisconsin at Green Bay)

The University of Wisconsin Board of Regents is considering direct admissions for some of its campuses in an attempt to reverse enrollment declines, Wisconsin Public Radio reported.

Historically, 32 percent of high school grads from the state of Wisconsin have enrolled at one of the system’s campuses immediately after graduation. That dropped to about 27 percent in 2020.

Jennifer Delaney, a professor of higher education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, was invited by the board to discuss direct admissions, in which students do not apply to a college but make their qualifications known so colleges can pick them. Businesses that enable direct admissions are promoting the idea, and some individual colleges have embraced it. Minnesota is piloting a direct admissions system statewide, with public and private colleges given the option to join.

Generally, direct admissions is popular with institutions that are not competitive in admissions.

“We’ve gone for a long time in this country thinking that open-access institutions means there’s a place for everyone,” Delaney said. “But students don’t always know that, and particularly more vulnerable populations don’t know what open access means or that there’s a place for them.”

Share Article

Scott Jaschik

Scott Jaschik, Editor, is one of the three founders of Inside Higher Ed. With Doug Lederman, he leads the editorial operations of Inside Higher Ed, overseeing news content, opinion pieces, career advice, blogs and other features. Scott is a leading voice on higher education issues, quoted regularly in publications nationwide, and publishing articles on colleges in publications such as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, Salon, and elsewhere. He has been a judge or screener for the National Magazine Awards, the Online Journalism Awards, the Folio Editorial Excellence Awards, and the Education Writers Association Awards. Scott served as a mentor in the community college fellowship program of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, of Teachers College, Columbia University. He is a member of the board of the Education Writers Association. From 1999-2003, Scott was editor of The Chronicle of Higher Education. Scott grew up in Rochester, N.Y., and graduated from Cornell University in 1985. He lives in Washington.

Back to Top