University of Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin Student Enrollment and Financial Aid Info

The University of Wisconsin - Madison is a public university that offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees. Learn about its ranking, financial aid, and student life, and get the pros and cons of studying at UW - Madison.

Should You Attend the University of Wisconsin - Madison?

The University of Wisconsin - Madison is a 4-year, public university. It is part of the larger University of Wisconsin System and offers degree programs at the bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degree levels. Get the facts about UW - Madison, including the pros and cons, and decide if it's the right school for you.


  • Ranked #41 among national universities by U.S. News and World Report
  • Graduation rate is 12 percentage points higher than the national average
  • High number of academic programs
  • Student debt following graduation is $2,520 less than the national average
  • Accepts dual and AP credits


  • The total cost is $5,902 more than the national average for in-state students and $9,101 more for out-of-state students
  • Student-to-faculty ratio is 22 to 1, higher than the national average
  • High number of TAs teaching classes

The University of Wisconsin - Madison at a Glance

In 2013, U.S. News and World Report ranked UW - Madison #41 among national universities. As of 2012, UW - Madison was ranked #13 for its undergraduate engineering programs and #17 for its undergraduate business programs.

The total cost of attending UW - Madison during the 2012-2013 school year was $23,762 for in-state students and $40,012 for out-of-state students, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES). These total costs are higher than the national average for 4-year public universities. However, the room and board costs for students living on-campus during the 2012-2013 school year were $8,080, according to U.S. News and World Report - $1,235 less than the national average. Also, the average debt for the 2011 graduating class was $24,140, lower than the national average.

In the fall of 2011, the NCES reported the acceptance rate at UW - Madison was 69%, about 5.2 percentage points higher than the national average. Of those who were admitted, 40% chose to enroll.

There are 14 schools and colleges at UW - Madison housing more than 150 undergraduate majors and certificate programs. These colleges and schools cover a diverse range of topics, including agriculture and life sciences, nursing, environmental studies, engineering, and veterinary medicine. The available majors are likewise diverse, covering such fields as Scandinavian studies, dairy science, nuclear engineering, and horticulture, as well as more common degree programs like marketing, biology, and political science.

If you need help with academics, learning support is offered by a number of on-campus organizations. There are specific programs to help students with subjects like business, chemistry, physics, mathematics, and engineering. A writing center is also available, and the Academic Advancement Program offers advising, mentoring, and tutoring services. In addition, the UW - Madison job center helps students find on- and off-campus student employment opportunities.

As of 2011, the student-to-faculty ratio at UW - Madison was 22 to 1, per the NCES - higher than the national average of 16 to 1. According to U.S. News and World Report, about 44% of the school's classes had less than 20 students in 2011, while roughly 20% had more than 50 students. TAs made up about 42% of the instructional staff during that time, so it's likely that some of your classes won't be taught by faculty. Of those students who enrolled at UW - Madison in 2005, 52% completed their bachelor's degree program in four years, and 82% earned their degree in six years.

Getting In & Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

There are two application deadlines for UW - Madison: November 1 and February 1. Applying by November 1 does not increase your chances of being accepted, but you will receive admission notification sooner; you'll know by late January whether or not you've been accepted. If you apply by February 1, you'll have your answer by late March. If you miss these deadlines, you can apply for admission for the spring term until October 1.

In order to apply to UW - Madison, you need to submit your online application, a non-refundable application fee, high school transcripts, ACT or SAT scores, and two short essay replies to topics provided by the school. In addition, letters of recommendation, while not required, are recommended. You will have to audition if you plan to major in music or dance.

Of the entering class in fall 2011, 94% were in the top 25% of their high school class, with 3.7 being the average high school GPA. For their standardized test requirement, 18% of students chose to submit their SAT scores, and 90% of students chose to submit their ACT scores. The average ACT composite score was 28, and the average SAT scores for critical reading, math, and writing were 608, 670, and 630, respectively.

There is no firm deadline for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but you are encouraged to file soon after January 1 to start the process of applying for need-based aid. Non-need-based aid is also available. According to U.S. News and World Report, in 2011, the average non-need-based academic scholarship or grant award was $2,897, and the average non-need-based athletic scholarship or grant award was $27,729.

Application and Tuition Info
Regular Application Deadline (2013) February 1*
Financial Aid Application Deadline (2011) Rolling***
Notification of Acceptance (2013) Late March*
Application Fee (2013) $44*
Acceptance Rate (2011) 69%**
Tuition & Fees (2012-2013) $10,378 (in-state)
$26,628 (out-of-state)**
Average Financial Aid Package (2011) $11,886***
% of Students with Need Met (2011) 26%***
Average Student Debt at Graduation (2011) $24,140***
Student Loan Default Rate (2009) 1.4%**

Student Life at the University of Wisconsin - Madison

UW - Madison is a large school in both population and size, with a total student population of more than 40,000 students and a campus of about 930 acres. It is not an especially diverse school, with 77% of students classified as white according to NCES, and no other race or ethnicity making up more than 10% of the undergraduate population. In addition, 94% of students are age 24 or under. That said, with more than 800 clubs and student organizations, you will likely be able to find people who share your interests.

If you like to get away from civilization from time to time, UW - Madison has several places to research or just experience nature, including a 1,260-acre arboretum, a nature preserve, a teaching garden, a botanical garden, and two greenhouses. If you like museums, you will find an art museum, a geology museum, and a physics museum, as well as a number of science centers. These centers include a herbarium and an insect research display.

Student Life Info
Campus Setting Midsized city**
Student Population (2011) 29,880 undergraduate students
12,066 graduate students**
Male-to-Female Student Ratio (2011) 48% to 52%**
% of Full-Time Students (2011) 93%**
% of In-State Students (2011) 59%**
% of International Students (2011) 6%**
Retention Rate (2011) 94%**
Campus Housing Available Yes**
% of Students Living on Campus 24%***
Number of Libraries More than 40*
Extracurricular Activities Over 800 clubs and organizations***
Noteworthy Arboretum
Nature preserve
Gardens and greenhouses
Art and science museums*

Article Sources: *University of Wisconsin - Madison, **National Center for Education Statistics, ***U.S. News and World Report

Contact Info

  • Address: Office of Admissions and Recruitment, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 702 West Johnson Street, Suite 1101, Madison, WI 53715-1007
  • Phone: (608) 262-3961