UWM announces plans to close Washington County campus, expand partnership with Moraine Park Technical College

Responding to the closing directive from the Universities of Wisconsin, UWM will design options to meet the needs of students and employers

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee today announced plans to close its UWM at Washington County campus by June 30, 2024, following a directive from Universities of Wisconsin President Jay Rothman. UWM is exploring options to meet the needs of students and employers in the county while ensuring the university’s long-term success.

Although UWM at Washington County will stop accepting new student applications, new students can still apply to UWM’s main campus, to UWM at Waukesha or to one of UWM’s online programs.UWM at Waukesha will remain open and is an affordable option for students interested in starting or completing a bachelor’s degree. UWM will work with current UWM at Washington County students to help them complete their degree or transfer to the school of their choice.

“Student success is at the core of every decision we make,” UWM Chancellor Mark Mone said. “That’s why we are investing in ways to help our students attend and graduate college through programs like the Milwaukee Tuition Promise, and expanding offerings to meet the needs of employers, like our master’s degree in data science. But as we build new pathways for students, we must let go of others that are no longer sustainable.

“We know that it will feel like a loss to alums who earned their degree at the Washington County campus,” Mone said. “We remain committed to students in Washington County, which is why we plan to strengthen our partnership with Moraine Park Technical College based on demand and interest.”

“Our mission at Moraine Park is to grow minds, businesses and communities through innovative learning experiences, and our unique UW partnerships allow us even more opportunity to achieve this,” Moraine Park President Bonnie Baerwald said. “We look forward to working alongside UW-Milwaukee to continue serving the Washington County area, building upon the robust transfer agreements we have already created and providing seamless opportunities for Moraine Park graduates who desire the completion of baccalaureate degrees.”

The campus at UWM at Waukesha will continue serving students seeking a degree closer to home in Waukesha County. The university will also continue to work with Waukesha County Technical College and other regional partners to strengthen opportunities for the community’s students and stakeholders. 

This difficult decision follows nearly a year of community and UWM study of the Washington County campus, the degree options requested by current and prospective students, and ongoing budgetary challenges. Additionally, it’s part of a larger move by the Universities of Wisconsin to ensure long-term success after nearly a decade without tuition increases and several years of stagnant or decreased state funding.

UWM’s Washington County Work Group issued a series of recommendations in August. The work group’s findings included a 55% drop in enrollment since 2018, largely due to demographic changes.

Students at the Washington County and Waukesha campuses have been served by UWM’s College of General Studies. Moving forward, UWM will integrate the College of General Studies into the College of Letters & Science and other colleges.

UWM will work as quickly as possible to evaluate how the pending changes will affect personnel needs in Washington County and Waukesha. UWM also will maintain a dialogue with students, employees and community stakeholders as the process continues and as more information becomes available.