Declining enrollment, weak legislative support, pandemic fallout all cloud UWM’s future

Devi Shastri:

A new report from the Wisconsin Policy Forum paints a grim picture of the future of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which was facing mounting financial challenges even before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Enrollment was declining. State support per student lagged. Tuition was frozen.

All of these challenges alone painted a worrisome picture of the future of the state’s second-largest campus, which serves one of the most diverse and underserved student populations in Wisconsin.

The pandemic has even further imperiled that future, the report said. The report was commissioned and partially funded by the UWM Foundation.

The analysis, published Thursday, puts data to UWM administrators’ long-standing warnings that they need more support in their effort to maintain the campus, which straddles a dual mission: to provide access to higher education for as many students as possible and to maintain its status as an elite research university.