Talking Points and Facts about UWM

Last Updated: February 9, 2015

Please note that updates will be made as more information develops.


  • UWM provides great value to Southeastern Wisconsin by graduating students, supplying the talent pipeline, linking research and the local economy, and engaging in community efforts in education, health care, industry, technology, the arts and beyond.
  • 74 percent of UWM graduates remain in Wisconsin, providing the economy with needed talent.
  • Funding to UWM goes far in southeastern Wisconsin because UWM does more research, economy-driving and community engagement in the region compared to peers.
  • If UWM did not exist, Wisconsin would need to invent it because UWM is the only four-year public urban research university in the state.
  • Budget cuts to UWM cause exponential harm to the economic engine of Southeastern Wisconsin because UWM is the most influential public higher education presence in the region.


  • UWM is the only four-year metropolitan public institution of higher education in Wisconsin.
  • 90 percent of UWM students are from Wisconsin.
  • UWM educates more Wisconsinites than any other college or university.
  • UWM’s total student enrollment in fall 2014 was 28,042.
    • Undergraduate: 23,108
    • Graduate: 4,934
  • More veterans attend UWM than any other four-year school in the six-state region.
    • 937 undergraduate and 140 graduate students attended in fall 2014.
    • UWM is one of only 15 Pat Tillman Military Scholar University Partners in the U.S.; the program provides educational scholarships for veterans, active-duty service members and their spouses.
    • UWM is the only university in the state and one of 97 universities nationally with a Veterans Affairs “VetSuccess on Campus” counselor on campus.
    • UWM is one of 50 universities in the country to have a Veterans Upward Bound program, which helps veterans ensure that they are successful when they begin college.
  • UWM leads the state in enrolling transfer students.
    • New transfers in fall 2014: 1,768
    • Total in 2014: 2,587
  • UWM issued 5,609 degrees in 2014.
    • Undergraduate: 3,960
    • Master’s: 1,471
    • Doctoral: 178
  • UWM has 160,000 living alumni of which a remarkable 74 percent remain in Wisconsin.



The Need for College Graduates

  • The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development publication “2013 Milwaukee County Economic and Workforce Profile” states:

The dearth of qualified workers will continue to challenge the state for years to come. Not only is the problem one of worker quality, it is also one of quantity. …

The flattening (even declining) workforce will affect most industries — construction, manufacturing, retail, information, finance, professional services, education, health care and government. …

Attracting and retaining talent should be by now the most critical undertaking of businesses and communities over the foreseeable future. …

Communities that invest in attracting and retaining talent will raise the quality of life in their communities that will perpetuate the further attraction of skilled workers and citizens.” (emphasis added)

  • Wisconsin’s talent shortage:
    • By 2023, there will be 5,000 fewer employees ages 15 to 69 in Wisconsin. During the same period, there will be 95,000 new jobs. (MMAC, January 2015)
    • By 2030, more than half (51 percent) of all new and replacement jobs are projected to require at least an associate degree, with 4 percent requiring a bachelor’s degree or more. Currently, about one-third (36 percent) of working-age adults in Wisconsin have at least an associate degree and one in four has a bachelor’s degree or higher.
      (WI DWD)
  • Value of a degree (and the effects of not having one):
    • College graduates ages 25 to 32 who are working full time earn more annually — about $17,500 more — than employed young adults holding only a high school diploma.
    • College graduates are more likely to be employed full time than their less-educated counterparts (89 percent vs. 82 percent) and significantly less likely to be unemployed (3.8 percent vs. 12.2 percent).


  • UWM issued 5,609 degrees in 2014.
  • 74 percent of UWM alumni stay in Wisconsin.
  • UWM has a track record of providing the labor supply for many employers in the region.
    • 900 alums at Northwestern Mutual (2,000 when interns and current students included)
    • 850 alums at Rockwell Automation
    • 300-plus alums at Johnson Controls


  • Southeastern Wisconsin is home to the state’s largest workforce and concentration of industry and commerce. It also is the transportation and economic hub that determines the health of the state.
  • UWM’s research and economic development strengths align with Milwaukee 7 clusters.
  • Freshwater (aquaculture & water technology)
  • Health care delivery (nursing)
  • Energy systems
  • Advanced manufacturing
  • Biomedical technologies
    • UWM Student Startup Challenge turns student ideas into startup companies that provide solutions and innovation.
      • 3-D printing
      • Cloud-based app to organize, share and archive medical information
      • Device to remotely run research experiments that are faster, safer and less expensive
  • UWM has partnerships with many southeastern Wisconsin companies
      • A.O. Smith
      • Badger Meter
      • Briggs & Stratton
      • GE Healthcare
      • Harley Davidson
      • Johnson Controls
      • Manpower
      • Miller Coors
      • Northwestern Mutual
      • R.W. Baird
      • Rockwell Automation
      • We Energies


  • UWM’s College of Nursing educates and produces more nurses than any other school in the state and impacts the community by having over 180 locations in the county in which our nursing students and faculty care for patients and their families.
  • For the 2014-15 academic year, UWM’s School of Education student teachers and their supervisors can be found in 173 different elementary, middle and high schools across the public and private (charter and voucher) landscape.  In all, 982 individual UWM students are placed within 27 districts.
  • UWM’s Peck School of the Arts students and faculty each year put on or host over 300 live theater, music, dance and other performance events on campus and in the community.

Facts About UWM Budget and Effect of Proposed Cuts

  • UWM is already lean – 2010 Goldwater report found of 198 leading higher education institutions, UWM is:
  • UWM’s total fund balances, restricted and unrestricted, declined from $95.29 million at the end of FY 2013, to $81.43 million at the end of FY 14. As of the end of FY 2014, UWM had only $836,000 in uncommitted cash reserves, and $228,000 in undocumented funds, less than 2 percent of UWM’s total fund balances. UWM has invested its fund balances in significant new commitments, such as the Northwest Quad and Kenwood IRC, the new Zilber School of Public Health and School of Freshwater Sciences, and the Innovation Campus Accelerator and Global Water Center.

See also “UWM Budget in Brief.

Benefits of Public Investment in Higher Education

  • The benefits of higher education include: higher income, lower unemployment, better health, longer life, faster technology creation and adoption, reduced crime, greater tolerance, and increased civic involvement.
  • Because college education leads to higher earnings for individuals, it also leads to more tax revenue.
  • A four year degree gives government $471,000 more in income, payroll, property and sales-tax revenue – more than twice what it would collect in lifetime taxes from a high school graduate without a college degree.
  • Each four-year-equivalent degree leads to lower spending on welfare programs, Medicare, Supplemental Security Income, unemployment compensation, workers’ compensation, prisons, and medical care for the uninsured.
  • The government savings over an average lifetimes is estimated to be almost $85,000 which is about $10,000 more than the cost of a four-year education.
  • Government gets back at least $7.46 for every dollar it invests in a college student.
  • The estimated fiscal return in higher education does not include any economic benefits from publicly sponsored university research, from university public service and extension activities, or from the effect of public college and college education on entrepreneurial activity and job creation.
  • A little over nine years after graduation the government fully recoups its investment in higher education, or another way to look at it is if a student graduates with a bachelor’s degree by 22 the public investment is recouped just after the individual turns 31.
  • Maximum bang per college-education buck comes from getting people into college who would not otherwise be there.
  • At the individual state level, each potential college graduate creates $142,000 in fiscal benefits and only $60,500 in public costs.

Additional Resources