Increases in first-year, international students highlight year of success

University ‘doing more’ more for students with more scholarships and academic programs, improved facilities
Students walk across the campus mall on the first day of fall semester classes at UW-Stout.
​Jerry Poling | September 14, 2023

The 2023-24 academic year at UW-Stout has kicked off with positive news — more first-year and international students and increased financial support for all students.

The university has seen an important increase in first-year students and a double-digit increase in international students, the latter for the second straight year. Nearly 250 international students from 43 countries are enrolled. 

“As Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, UW-Stout is distinct among all other colleges and universities in the state,” said Chancellor Katherine Frank. “Our focus on applied learning across all disciplines, career-readiness and business and industry collaboration allows us to help students enter high-demand careers immediately following graduation better than any other institution in the state.

Students walk across the campus mall on the first day of fall semester classes at UW-Stout.
Students walk across the campus mall on the first day of fall semester classes at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

“Prospective students recognize this distinctiveness and value, and employers know that our graduates will be well-prepared when they enter the workforce,” Frank added.

Another positive trend is that UW-Stout’s retention rate among first-year students has risen for the third straight year, boosting the overall and future enrollment pictures. 

The School of Art and Design, which already was the largest in the Upper Midwest, has set its all-time record with nearly 1,300 students. And with additional new Blue Devil sports, the university has more student athletes than ever before. 

The multiple areas of progress add to an already highly successful year at Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, where Do More is the mantra and the 99.4% employment rate for recent graduates is the best in the UW System. 

Students in an engineering lab take apart a motor during the first week of classes this fall at UW-Stout
Students in an engineering lab take apart a motor during the first week of classes this fall at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

First-day enrollment figures across the UW System were announced Sept. 14. With the second week of classes underway, UW-Stout's incoming student numbers and current enrollment continue to rise.   

Doing more for students 

Along with helping students do more on campus through applied learning in labs, research, co-ops and industry partnerships, the university is doing more to improve their higher education experience. 

New and returning students are receiving more financial support. A record 540 students have been awarded $1.2 million in scholarships this year from the Stout University Foundation. And with its largest fundraising year in history, the university will offer even more scholarship support in the years to come. 

Vice Chancellor Katharine Reed, University Advancement and Alumni Relations, announced plans to increase the Stout Scholarship Fund because of the awards’ potential life-changing impacts. “Stout scholarships provide students the transformative opportunity to earn a polytechnic education. With the continued investment of our generous alumni, more UW-Stout students will benefit, regardless of their major or level of need,” she said. 

Students in a science course take notes under a tree during the first week of fall classes at UW-Stout.
Students in a science course take notes under a tree during the first week of fall classes at UW-Stout. / UW-Stout

More cutting-edge academic programs also are available this fall. The automation leadership program, focused on leadership in smart automation training for manufacturing, is underway. It’s the first program of its kind in the UW System and possibly the U.S. 

New minors in architecture and esports coaching have begun, the former as an option for interior design, real estate property management and construction majors; and the latter as an offshoot of UW-Stout’s esports team, the first in the UW System, and computer science and game design programs. 

Five new certificate programs began this fall, many of which are related to majors to improve students’ and professionals’ career opportunities, giving UW-Stout nearly 35 such programs. 

UW-Stout also is doing more on campus. South Hall, a residence hall, reopened this fall after a $25 million renovation that began in spring 2022. The project features updated student rooms and lounges along with a new central entrance facing the campus mall. 

The $139 million Heritage Hall academic building renovation was approved for funding by the state earlier this summer. Bidding for construction begins in fall 2024.

In the planning stages is an addition to and renovation of the University Recreation complex on the southwest part of the Sports and Fitness Center. 

During the summer, the university completed its second major solar panel project, along with other sustainability-focused projects.

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