Try 3 months for $3
UW-Madison Commencement

The University of Wisconsin-Madison commencement was held at Camp Randall Stadium last May.

The number of students of color graduating from University of Wisconsin System campuses increased 75 percent over the past decade, reaching a record of 4,919 graduates in the 2017-18 academic year, according to UW System figures released Wednesday.

About 2,800 students of color graduated from the UW System in 2008-09, data show.

The overall number of students graduating from the UW System also continues to climb, mirroring a national trend that’s been in place since at least the mid-2000s. The 36,825 total graduates last academic year represent an 11 percent increase from 2008-09, when 33,044 students received degrees.

“Students and parents recognize that Wisconsin’s public universities are accessible and affordable, and these graduation numbers indicate that UW System faculty and staff are doing a great job helping students progress toward a degree,” UW System President Ray Cross said in an announcement.

Officials say the numbers show campus strategies, such as incorporating undergraduate research and internships into a curriculum and providing more intensive advising, are helping students move toward college completion.

Degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) accounted for 28 percent of all degrees awarded. Degrees in the health field represented 10 percent, according to the System.


Kelly Meyerhofer covers higher education for the Wisconsin State Journal. She can be reached at 608-252-6106 or