Wisconsin university system to end Richland degree programs

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) – University of Wisconsin system president Jay Rothman on Tuesday ordered UW-Platteville’s chancellor to stop offering degree programs at the school’s Richland campus in the face of declining enrollment.

Rothman sent a letter to UW-Platteville Acting Chancellor Tammy Evetovich stating that only 60 students are currently pursuing studies at the Richland campus and that starting next academic year, all programs leading to a degree offered on the branch campus will transfer to the main campus in Platteville.

“While the University of Wisconsin system remains committed to branch campuses and provides as wide access as possible for students, there comes a time when financial pressures and low enrollment make in-person college education more sustainable,” Rothman wrote.

He ordered Evetovich to develop a plan by January 15 for the transition of current students to the Platteville campus or the Baraboo branch campus. He called on her to make “reasonable arrangements” for them, suggesting they could continue to pay Richland’s tuition if they transferred to Platteville or another school in the UW system. He added that the plan should also cover faculty and staff, but did not give details.

He also said the plan should include ideas for maintaining a presence on the Richland campus, suggesting the school could offer enrichment programs and classes for adult learners or meet other broader community needs. .

“The decision to request the plans outlined above was not easy for obvious reasons, but I have ultimately concluded that the status quo is no longer sustainable,” Rothman said in the letter.

Voicemails left with UW-Platteville and Richland campus officials Tuesday morning were not immediately returned.

The Richland campus was once one of 13 free-standing two-year schools in the system. Rothman’s predecessor, Ray Cross, merged the system’s two-year schools with its four-year campuses in 2017 in a bid to keep them open despite declining enrollment. Cross believed the merger would make two-year colleges more attractive to students because degrees would come from four-year schools, transfers would be easier, and coursework would be more convenient.

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