WCTC Graduates Gain Guaranteed Admission to UW-Milwaukee

January 23, 2024
Photo courtesy of UW Milwaukee Leaders of MATC, WCTC, UWM, MPTC and Gateway sign transfer agreement.

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has reached new agreements with Waukesha County Technical College and three other regional technical colleges to guarantee admission and credit transfer to their associate degree graduates if they wish to continue their education. 

The agreement guarantees a seamless transfer of at least 60 credits toward a bachelor’s degree at UWM after completing a brief intent form – free of charge – instead of the formal admissions application that is required of most new students. The new process begins in the summer of 2024 and is open to all graduates with at least a 2.0 grade point average. 

“UWM has been a longstanding partner to WCTC and our graduates,” said WCTC president Richard Barnhouse. “As we all work toward bringing higher education together in the state of Wisconsin, this new agreement opens another pathway for WCTC graduates to earn a four-year credential.” 

The other technical colleges that are part of this new agreement with UWM include Milwaukee Area Technical College, Moraine Park Technical College and Gateway Technical College. 

Building on Lakeland University Partnership 

This follows the 2023 creation of the Lakeland University-Waukesha Center partnership in which Lakeland relocated its Milwaukee campus to WCTC’s main Pewaukee campus. This partnership also focuses on making it easier for students to achieve their educational goals through streamlined pathways to a bachelor’s degree. 

According to the WCTC website, this partnership offers more than a dozen bachelor’s degree programs as well as four master’s degree programs, which are available online, in person, or through the flexible hybrid format. 

Lakeland and WCTC also signed a transfer agreement for current students and graduates in 2023 to enable easy credit transfers, and Lakeland offers a discount on undergraduate classes for WCTC students and graduates. 

UW System Changing with the Times

The University of Wisconsin System is undergoing strategic changes under President Jay Rothman designed to enhance the student experience and improve access to higher education. Traditionally, students in both technical colleges and extensions like UW-Waukesha had a difficult time getting credits to transfer to the system’s four-year colleges, often resulting in the student being required to take – and pay for – the same courses a second time to complete their bachelor’s degrees. The new agreement with UW Milwaukee appears to be a step toward removing these barriers to educational attainment. 

“We believe that education should be accessible to all,” said UWM Chancellor Mark Mone. “Our goal is to ensure that every student with an associate degree from one of our partner colleges has the opportunity to continue their educational journey at UWM. These agreements reaffirm our commitment to student success and provide a clear path toward earning a bachelor’s degree.”  

Enrollment at UW-Milwaukee in the fall of 2023 was 22,703, continuing a steady decline over the past six years. This includes enrollment at UW-Waukesha, which has declined to only 686 students in the 2023-24 school year. UW-Milwaukee announced in the fall that its other satellite campus in Washington County would be closing in May 2024 due to low enrollment. Conversely, WCTC enrollment increased to 18,650 for the 2023-24 school year thanks to a number of innovative programs that have boosted enrollment over the past several years.

This shifting enrollment landscape may be a sign of other interesting strategic shifts that will benefit students throughout the UW System in the future.