Wisconsin Student Loans
Wisconsin is a state with a national presence. The state is the dairy capital of the United States, and Green Bay Packer fans have taken that fact to the extreme with their notable cheese head hats. While Wisconsin may be synonymous with cheese for many, the state is also home to many public and private institutions of higher learning.
The University of Wisconsin System is a network of public schools across 26 campuses that educate approximately 180,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Within this system, UW colleges include 13 community colleges that award students a two-year Associate of Arts and Science Degree (AASD). There are six UW colleges where students can earn a four-year degree, the Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences (BAAS). Students can either get their start in a two-year UW college and then transfer to a four-year campus, or start directly on a four-year campus. Students who would like additional information can review the 2014/2015 Introduction to the University of Wisconsin System guide.
To provide some insight into the high quality of the public colleges and universities, according to the 2015 University Web Ranking, four out of the top five undergraduate schools in the state are within the University of Wisconsin System. The top five undergraduate schools are:
- University of Wisconsin, Madison
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee
- Marquette University
- University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point
- University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
According to Wisconsin’s Private Colleges, there are 26 private colleges and universities located in the state. Madison, the capital, is home to Edgewood College. Although not the state capital, Milwaukee would seem to be the capital of private schools in the state. There are eight private institutions in Milwaukee, and it is therefore home to nearly one-third of all private schools in the state. The Medical College of Wisconsin does not offer undergraduate study.
For undergraduate students interested in matriculating in a private college or university in Milwaukee, the following seven institutions fit the bill:
- Averno College
- Cardinal Stritch University
- Marquette University
- Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design
- Milwaukee School of Engineering
- Mount Mary University
- Wisconsin Lutheran College
Whether a student is an in-state resident or non-resident, there are so many schools from which to choose. One factor that is important to many prospective students is the size of the school. If a student is looking for a large campus, according to College Stats, the following five Wisconsin schools have the largest student bodies:
- University of Wisconsin, Madison (46,228 students)
- University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (33,989 students)
- Milwaukee Area Technical College (26,501 students)
- Madison Area Technical College (22,364 students)
- University of Wisconsin Colleges (18,717 students)
The college selection process invariably involves finding schools that considered either a reach or safe. For this reason, it is important for students who are interested in Wisconsin schools, both public and private, know the average acceptance rates. According to the U.S. News, the following schools are among the hardest from which to get that much wanted acceptable letter:
- Cardinal Stritch University (42.11 percent acceptance rate)
- University of Wisconsin, Madison (51.09 percent acceptance rate)
- Mount Mary University (53.97 percent acceptance rate)
- Marquette University (57.45 percent acceptance rate)
- Northland College (59.07 percent acceptance rate)
In general, there is a large difference in the cost of education between a private college or university and a public one. For instance, a student at Marquette University can expect to pay $46,378 for one academic year of study, and this includes associated costs, like housing. Compare this price tag to that of schools in the University of Wisconsin System.
For example, in the 2015-2016 academic year of study at the University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, an in-state resident will pay $8,798 while a non-resident would be assessed $16,370. Just think about it – the price one student pays to attend Marquette University is equivalent to five students at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. This example demonstrates that in-state tuition at a Wisconsin school is going to be just about the best deal out there for Wisconsin residents.
Wisconsin is unique in that it participates in the Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP). This program provides a lower rate of tuition than non-resident rates for students who are residents of certain states. To learn if your state participates in the program, and if you qualify, contact the school of interest directly.
Residency and Tuition Rates
Unlike public colleges and universities, private colleges do not differentiate tuition costs based on state residency status. For this reason, students who seek to go to college outside of their home state may find that public schools in other states are just as costly as private colleges across the nation. To make the most informed decision about which colleges to apply to, Wisconsin residents are best advised to compare the costs of private schools, out-of-state public schools, and local schools of interest. It is important to note that University of Wisconsin System schools vary in tuition and associated costs but not by too much.
To illustrate, in the 2014-2015 academic year, a Wisconsin student who opted for a two-year UW College, such as the University of Wisconsin, Marinette would pay $2,375.16 per semester for full-time study (reflects tuition only). The school would also be an affordable option for a non-resident as the rate is $5,867.04 per semester of full-time study (tuition only). Note that residents of Michigan and residents of states that participate in the MSEP may qualify for a lower rate of tuition than non-residents. Michigan residents and MSEP residents should inquire with each school of interest, within the University of Wisconsin system, to learn more.
Wisconsin residents and non-residents who are interested in attending a four-year public college may likely be persuaded in part by the affordable cost of attendance. For example, in the spring of 2015, at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee residents with a full course load of 12-18 credits per semester were assessed $4,695.41 for tuition only. Non-residents within these same parameters were charged $9,559.61 per semester, and these fees include the school’s segregated fees. Qualifying students with Michigan residency or MSEP status were assessed lower tuition fees than non-residents.
The other main source of student loan lending is private banks. It is important to understand that schools do not require borrowers to work with any specific lender. However, the school is usually involved in the certification process and will not sign off on an amount that exceeds the student’s need. In other words, private loans are intended to cover costs that financial aid does not cover. It’s actually a good thing that this rule is in place because excessive borrowing now will only lead to excessive debt later. Most schools will provide students with a list of lenders that have a good history with the school’s student body.
Students may think that states offer student loans, but in general, this is not the case. The state of Wisconsin does not appear to have a student lending program. However, most students will find that the federal government and private banks meet their needs when it comes to funding higher education.
Our goal at SimpleTuition is to provide students with the information they need to make the most informed decision about where to attend college and how to pay for it. The school you attend is a matter of personal choice, but it should be a smart one. We’re here to help you make smart decisions every step of the way.