University of Wisconsin Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

A public research university located in Madison, WI, the University of Wisconsin is a highly-esteemed school offering more than 600 different undergraduate and graduate degree programs. 

It was established in 1848, and over the course of its 175-year-long history, it has become among the best public universities in the nation.

Over 160,000 students across the 13 universities and 26 campuses make up the University of Wisconsin school system, making it one of the largest higher education organizations in the United States. 

The school has a network of nearly 475,000+ alumni across the country and all corners of the world. 

University of Wisconsin’s urban campus occupies 936 acres and includes a total of 21 student residence halls. 

Although students are not required to live on-campus for any amount of their undergraduate experience, a 90% majority of incoming first-years choose to do so regardless. 

Outside of the classroom, University of Wisconsin students can occupy their time by joining any of the school’s 126+ athletic teams, 59 Greek life organizations, or one of the many other clubs and extracurriculars offered at the school. 

In addition to being an internationally-acclaimed research institution, the University of Wisconsin prides itself in its commitment to public service. 

More than 80% of U Wisconsin students are involved with volunteer organizations, with the school boasting association with 3,369 Peace Corps volunteers. 

If you live outside of Wisconsin but are interested in attending this excellent school, the following article is for you. 

Here, we have compiled some of the most important things to know about attending the University of Wisconsin as an out-of-state student, such as acceptance rates and tuition fees.

University of Wisconsin Out-of-State Acceptance Rate

University of Wisconsin Madison
Public domain photo via Wikimedia Commons

The out-of-state acceptance rate at University of Wisconsin is 54%, as of the fall of 2020 admission cycle. 

For comparison, the acceptance rate for students who are residents of Wisconsin that same year was 73% — nearly 20% higher. 

The main reason for the difference between acceptance rates for in-state and out-of-state students is that the school is openly committed to admitting a 2/3 majority of Wisconsin applicants. 

More precisely, since 2015, University of Wisconsin has maintained its dedication to ensuring that at least 3,600 students in each incoming first-year class are from Wisconsin. 

With the school’s first-year classes generally being made up of around 7,300 students, it can be said that a maximum of roughly 3,700 seats are available for out-of-state applicants.

In addition, University of Wisconsin has also seen a considerable increase in out-of-state applications in recent years, causing acceptance rates for these students to drop even further. In fact, the school has received more out-of-state applications than ever before in university history for the past nine years and counting. 

On top of that, the total number of applications the school receives has also been steadily increasing in recent years, making admission to the school even more competitive due to the limited number of spots available. 

In 2020, a record-breaking 45,941 students applied for admission to the first-year class of 2024 at the University of Wisconsin — 4.6% more than the previous year. Just 7,306 applicants from that pool ended up enrolling at the school, the majority of whom were Wisconsin state residents.

Prospective out-of-state applicants need to consider that these figures do not represent the likelihood of acceptance for any particular student. 

In other words, students with solid academic credentials can rest assured that their odds of being offered admission to the school are higher than 53.8%. 

University of Wisconsin Out-of-State Tuition

For the 2023-2024 academic year, the cost of tuition for one year of study at the University of Wisconsin as an out-of-state undergraduate student is $39,428. Tuition has increased by just $74 since the 2022-2023 academic year.

Compared to the state average of $20,789 for one year of tuition at a four-year college or university, it can be said that the University of Wisconsin is a moderately expensive school. 

It is worth noting, however, that according to Niche, U Wisconsin is the #1 college in the state; thus, one might consider the school’s prestigious reputation as justification for its high tuition fees.

Considering the cost of housing, required educational materials, meals, transportation, and all other personal expenses, the cost of attendance for out-of-state students comes to $57,728, according to estimates by the school.

Wisconsin residents, on the other hand, enjoy far lower tuition fees at just $10,798 a year. Adding other expenses to that figure, the annual cost of attending the University of Wisconsin as an in-state student comes to about $28,498. 

On top of tuition, there are a few additional fees that students are required to pay. 

For one, there is a $306 new student fee for all incoming first-year students, regardless of if they are in-state or out-of-state. For transfer students, the new student fee is $230.

There are program-specific fees as well, such as the School of Business tuition differential, which entails an additional $1,000.08 fee. The College of Engineering also charges a tuition differential, a fee of $1,399.92.

Although the cost of tuition may be prohibitive for some students and families, financial aid is available. During the 2022-2023 academic year, 46.1% of first-year students at the University of Wisconsin received grant aid to cover some or all of their tuition expenses.

Some factors that influence a student’s eligibility for financial aid include their family’s financial circumstances and the level of available government funding. 

University of Wisconsin Requirements and Tips for Out-of-State Students

In order to be considered for admission to the University of Wisconsin, all students — regardless of their state of residence — are required to fill out an application online, either through the Common Application or the UW System Application. The school does not prefer one application over the other. 

The application will ask students to select a first- and second-choice major program. 

If a student cannot be admitted to their first-choice major because their credentials do not meet program-specific requirements or because of lack of available seats in their desired program, the admissions committee will consider their second-choice program instead.

Some programs are much more competitive than others, with dance, music, engineering, and business being among the more highly-coveted majors. 

Thus, students who are interested in one of these programs would be wise to select a second-choice major that is less competitive in order to increase their likelihood of admission.

The application process also includes two required essays, one of which will ask why the student has chosen to apply to the University of Wisconsin. 

This essay is an excellent opportunity for out-of-state students to describe their interest in the school, including specific details about why they feel they would be a great fit. 

To write an excellent essay, it is crucial to spend time brainstorming about what you will write and creating an outline to ensure that your writing is organized. 

Another tip for writing a fantastic essay is to start as early as possible. This will allow you to develop your thoughts, carefully proofread, and revise your work. 

Although the school is currently test-optional, students are permitted to submit their standardized test scores for consideration. This is an excellent idea for anyone with solid ACT or SAT scores, as this data will reflect positively upon your academic ability.

Is University of Wisconsin Right for You?

There are many different factors to consider when selecting which college to attend out of the thousand great schools out there. 

This process can be overwhelming and anxiety-inducing for many students, and there is no foolproof method you can use to determine the perfect school for you. 

That being said, there are many reasons that students choose to attend the University of Wisconsin. 

For one, it is one of the best public universities in the United States. According to US News and World Report, UW is tied for #14 among public schools, a prestigious status for which it has been dubbed a “Public Ivy.”

UW has also been ranked among the top universities in the country for its graduate programs, making it a great choice of college for students who are considering continuing their education after their undergraduate experience.

As of 2020, University of Wisconsin ranks #8 in the nation in terms of highest research expenditure. Because of this high degree of funding, U Wisconsin is a particularly excellent choice of school for students interested in undergraduate research.

The University of Wisconsin is also an excellent school for medical science students. 

Home to one of the top hospitals in the state of Wisconsin, UW offers unparalleled opportunities for getting real-world experience treating patients, engaging in groundbreaking medical research, and protecting public health.

UW has a strong reputation for producing highly successful graduates, with no less than 20 Nobel Prize laureates and 41 Pulitzer prize winners among its alumni network. 

Another reason to consider applying to the University of Wisconsin is that the school has an excellent first-year retention rate, a widely-recognized indicator of how content students are. 

At an impressive 95.2%, nearly all first-year students return to the school for an additional year of study, showing they are pleased with what the school offers.