UW System changes admission policies to make it easier for undergrads to enroll


The University of Wisconsin System announced Monday a series of changes to admissions policies that will make it easier for students to enroll this fall at UW Oshkosh and other System schools.

“We know this is a challenging time for our high school seniors,” said UW System President Ray Cross. “We want to do everything we can to ensure that students who want to enroll in our universities this fall can enroll.”

The changes include reducing the undergraduate application fee to $25 effective immediately, accepting unofficial high school transcripts for admission consideration, and holding students harmless for changes in admissions testing, grading formats and other standard requirements.

“As students navigate the multiple facets of the COVID-19 disruption, the barriers to moving forward with their plans are exacerbated. System’s announcement about making applying to a UW institution less challenging is a deliberate effort to offer an increased level of support in a very challenging situation for all,” said Aggie Hanni, UWO’s assistant vice chancellor for enrollment management.

The measures are meant to foster a greater sense of control over educational opportunities for prospective students and their families, she said.

“Taking these steps allows us to increase access in a time when uncertainly overshadows much of daily life,” Hanni added.

Facing an extraordinary pandemic, the UW System has made the safety and health of its students a top priority while remaining committed to providing a quality education so students can continue their path toward graduation. Now the UW System will work tirelessly to afford every opportunity to every student in Wisconsin who was looking, or will be looking, for a university degree as a stepping stone to success.

The UW System also recognizes that, in this time of uncertainty, prospective students will have a lot of questions. The System is expanding efforts to ensure students have resources available to help guide them now and into the fall semester. Students seeking to learn more about the 13 universities that comprise the UW System and get up-to-date information on campus admissions practices can visit the UW HELP website. UW HELP will also be offering a variety of virtual services to students such as virtual one-on-one consultations and online office hours to help students complete their applications.

“We have always sought to provide students with the kind of support they want and need,” said Chris Navia, UW System associate vice president for student success. “Now more than ever we will be available to help.”

In response to recent educational disruptions, UW universities are also taking the following steps to provide even greater access for students:

  • An immediate reduction of the $50 per university undergraduate application fee to $25 for summer 2020 and beyond (with the exception of UW-Madison).
  • Making application fee waivers available for students experiencing financial hardship due to COVID-19. Students who need a fee waiver simply need to contact the UW university to which they are applying and request one.
  • Acceptance of unofficial transcripts for admission consideration and additional flexibilities in submitting other application materials.
  • Holding students harmless for circumstances out of their control such as the cancellation of ACT or SAT testing dates, or a high school or college moving to a pass-fail grading system.
  • Taking campus visit programs online and providing virtual tours.

Many UW universities are still accepting applications for the summer and fall 2020 terms. Consistent with the long-standing UW System admissions policy, UW universities will continue to review each student’s application individually through a holistic and comprehensive review.