UWM students at graduation

Knowing our UWM students is central when teachers and programs make instructional and curricular decisions that can impact retention and graduation. As it stands, only 44.1% of students graduate in six years.  While this is comparable to many other urban campuses, we must do more to be successful with our population.  The good news is that road maps do exist. Georgia State University, for example, has a similar student profile and has essentially closed the achievement gap and greatly increased the success rates of their students.  Tim Renick from Georgia State recently spoke at UWM. Please check out the video of his presentation; it’s inspirational.

As of Fall 2019,

  • 36.4% of main campus undergraduate students are first-generation students
  • 34.3% of our branch campus students are first-generation students.


  • 25.6% of main campus undergraduates are from underrepresented groups, including students reporting as African American, American Indian, Latinx, Southeast Asian American, and multi-ethnic.
  • 18.6% of branch campus students are from underrepresented groups.


  • 33.8% of main campus students are eligible for Pell Grants. Pell Grants are federal, need-based grants that take into account a student’s family’s Estimated Family Contribution, which includes income, household size, number in college, parent and student income, and other assets.
  • 25.2% of branch campus students are eligible for Pell Grants.


  • 53.8% of first-generation main campus students are eligible for Pell Grants.
  • 41.5% of first-generation associate students enrolled in Fall 2019 at the branch campuses are Pell-eligible.

Like Georgia State’s population, UWM’s students can benefit from high impact practices that may especially impact first-generation students, Pell Grant recipients, and students from underrepresented groups. Our weekly posts highlight a steps to increase success rates.  Our list so far includes the following; if you’d like to recommend a focus on specific strategy, please share here.