UWO offers free applications

Hannah Scott, Reporter

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From Jan. 27 to Feb. 2, UW Oshkosh conducted its first ever free application week, which applied to undergraduate and graduate students alike across all three of UW Oshkosh’s campuses — Oshkosh, Fond du Lac and Fox Cities — for the 2020-21 school year.

Typically, the cost of the application for undergraduates is $50 and $56 for graduate applicants. While the fee may not seem to be a substantial amount, it adds up quickly when students are applying to multiple different universities and programs. Aggie Hanni, UW Oshkosh assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management, explained the reasoning behind the university’s incentive.

“Having to pay the fee discourages prospective students from applying in the first place, and it is often the final unfinished step in the application process for many who chose to apply — it is simply a barrier,” Hanni said.

UWO does not want to hold students back from applying if they cannot afford to, so the university consistently offers to waive the application fees of students who check off certain financial requirements, Hanni said. This specific attempt, however, is aimed at a broader category of students because everyone is eligible.

Former UWO student Jack Tierney proved some of Hanni’s thoughts to be true, saying he applied to graduate school simply because it was free. “I never really had intentions of going to graduate school but because it was free I thought I could at least submit an application and see what happens,” Tierney said. “I think it was a great idea by UWO and I hope other people took advantage of the opportunity.”

Many students may appreciate this opportunity due to financial reasons, but it may serve another purpose as well.

Some students find themselves completely lost when it comes to searching for the right university, but when one stands out with a free application, it may jump to the top of the list.

Just as it is difficult for a student to choose a college because there are so many options, it is also difficult for a college to stand out amongst students and show all of what it has to offer. While the “free week” was a big help to students, it will also benefit UWO.

According to WHBY Radio, Chancellor Andrew Leavitt said that enrollment rates are expected to continue steadily dropping through the year 2026, and then there will be a very sharp drop following.

WHBY also said that the university’s enrollment rate already dropped 3.4% for the 2019-20 school year. With enrollment dropping, UW Oshkosh campuses are very likely to proceed with this free application week again in the future.