It’s application season for high school seniors looking to attend University of Wisconsin institutions next year. It’s also a time when students and parents have to think hard about the cost of higher education. Average student loan debt in Wisconsin is now $29,000.
Here are some tips and tricks to applying and to keeping costs and debt down.
Tuition and fees vary a great deal between UW schools. You can save thousands of dollars and years of debt payments by making a smart choice right at the start. Tuition alone varies from $4,750 for an academic year at UW-Marinette and up to $9,274 and more, depending on the degree, at other institutions. Average UW tuition outside of the UW Colleges for an academic year is $7,104.
Applications opened Sept. 1, and in general the earlier you apply, the better. Application deadlines vary by institution, and you will have to visit the admissions web page of each institution to find these out — but there is no reason to delay. UW-Marinette has no deadline, so that is easy.
You have to apply separately to each UW institution you wish to attend. But, if you attend UW-Marinette first then, once there, you can lock in your choice of where to earn your UW bachelor’s degree through “Guaranteed Transfer” (and you don’t pay a new application fee).
If you wish, download a copy of an application form at https://apply.wisconsin.edu/ and fill out multiple copies if you are applying to more than one school. But it’s easier to apply electronically through the web page because it will store your basic information for 30 days to repeat each application. The videos and FAQs on this page will be a real help too; look these over before you begin and remember, if you apply online, once you have registered, you can stop and re-start your applications anytime within 30 days.
You will have to submit an “applicant statement” to each institution as part of your application. Faculty at UW-Marinette would be happy to help and review your statement.
Online, once you have completed each application, you will be given the option to pay the application fee by credit or debit card. Application fees are $50 ($60 at UW-Madison). Remember, when you transfer from UW-Marinette there is no new application fee.
You will need to arrange to have high school transcripts sent to each campus after you have completed your application. Your high school counselor would be happy to help you with that.
And then, you will need to submit your ACT scores to each campus. You should have taken the ACT test as a junior in high school, but you can take it again as a senior. At the time your register for the test, you can choose where to send your scores, but you also have the option to delay submission and later direct ACT to send your best score. If you are applying to UW- Marinette you do not have to submit a separate ACT score if it’s already included on your official high school transcript.
Applying for admission is not an application for housing. You will have to do that separately. Housing and meal costs are extra and vary considerably. But if you can attend UW-Marinette and stay at home for one or two years, you can save up to tens of thousands of dollars on housing and meals.
For more information, people may call the UW at 1-800-442-6459. Or, locally, people may call Milissa Kloida at 715-252-9944 or send her a note at: milissa.kloida@uwc.edu.
Students who are concerned about student debt but are still looking for a UW experience, are encouraged to check out UW-Marinette.
Keith Montgomery is dean and the regional executive officer  at UW Colleges North Region. Various University of Wisconsin faculty and staff will submit a column about college-related subjects on a regular basis. It will appear on the Community Page.