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Wisconsin has a strong economy and excellent colleges and universities. The average tuition rate for four-year colleges and universities there is slightly less than the national average, meaning Wisconsin offers a quality college education at an affordable price.
This guide can help you determine whether an online college in Wisconsin is right for you. It explores the economic situation and job outlook in the state, as well as average tuition rates, growing sections of the job market and popular online majors. It also includes links to scholarships, grants, and other resources to help you find a school that fits your needs.
Job Outlook for Students with College Degrees in Wisconsin
Wisconsin's unemployment rate is one of the lowest in the country, which is good for those thinking of moving there. It also means the state's economy is not only doing well but is reasonably stable. Getting a degree from an online college in Wisconsin can help improve your chances of starting a career in the state. Workers with college degrees tend to have higher earning potential and more job security than those who do not.
While the unemployment rate in Wisconsin is lower than most of the country, the state's annual mean wage is slightly lower than the national mean. At first glance this may seem like people in Wisconsin don't make enough money, but the national mean is skewed by states with higher pay and larger populations, like California or New York. This indicates pay rates in Wisconsin are normal, especially when looking at neighboring states. Having a degree in the right field can help you secure a career with higher earning potential.
Unemployment Rate, November 2018
Annual Mean Wage, May 2017
Search, Compare and Research Online Wisconsin Colleges
Cost of Online Colleges in Wisconsin
College can get pricey, and those in Wisconsin are no different. Two-year colleges cost more in Wisconsin than the national average, by almost $1,000 per year. Tuition rates at public universities cost roughly twice as much but are less than the national average by almost $1,200. Bear in mind these rates are averages, which means there are both cheaper and more expensive schools in the state. If you're planning to get an associate degree or certificate which can be awarded by a community college, Wisconsin won't be your cheapest option, but if you're looking for a bachelor's or graduate degree, you will likely save money.
Most online colleges in Wisconsin charge similar tuition rates. Online courses cost about the same as their on-campus counterparts, without the costs associated with living on campus or commuting. Sometimes online courses have additional fees, but not having to go to campus can make up for that, especially if you live far away.
Average Price for In-State Tuition and Fees by Institution Type, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
In-State vs. Out-of-State Tuition in Wisconsin
Most public colleges and universities charge higher tuition rates for nonresidents. This is because public schools receive funding from the state in which they operate, and nonresidents don't pay taxes which go toward that funding. This results in higher tuition rates for out-of-state students, sometimes as much as three times higher. While out-of-state rates in Wisconsin are lower than the national average, they're still far more expensive than in-state rates. Studying online can often help avoid these higher costs, as online courses are usually based on in-state tuition rates, and do not cost more for nonresidents.
Average Tuition and Fees, 2018-19
|Public Two-Year||Public Four-Year|
Source: The College Board
Financial Aid in Wisconsin
While college is expensive, financial aid is available. This includes scholarships, grants, work-study programs, and student loans. Grants are awards from the government which do not have to be repaid except in rare circumstances. They tend not to be very large but can often be renewed annually. As you can see from the table below, Wisconsin provides less in state grants each year than the national average.
When you're looking at colleges and thinking about costs, make sure to submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). This document allows the Department of Education to determine how much money you need in order to pay for school, which determines which grants you can receive. Many scholarships and colleges require this information as well, so it is important to submit even if you don't want federal student loans. Federal loans have lower interest rates and more generous repayment option than private loans and are a much better choice for covering tuition.
State Grant Aid per Full-Time Equivalent Undergraduate Student, 2016-17
Source: The College Board
Scholarships and Grants for Wisconsin College Students
Below are some scholarships and grants available to students attending online colleges in Wisconsin. Many of these are only offered to Wisconsin residents, but this is just a sample of the scholarships you'll find. Use this list to get you started in your search.
Who Can Apply: This scholarship is for graduating Wisconsin high school seniors who are actively involved in snowmobiling. Applicants must submit high school transcripts as well as a 300-word essay answering one of two questions about the sport.
Amount: Up to $2,000
Who Can Apply: The Great Lakes Hemophilia Foundation offers several scholarships to Wisconsin residents with bleeding disorders. Each scholarship has unique requirements, but all require the applicant or a family member be living with such a disorder.
Amount: Up to $5,000
Who Can Apply: Korean American students living in Wisconsin or one of 11 other Midwestern states who have a 3.0 GPA or higher and can prove financial need may apply for this scholarship.
Who Can Apply: High school seniors in Wisconsin or another state where Andeavor does business can apply. They must have a 3.0 GPA, demonstrate financial need, and submit a 500-word essay.
Who Can Apply: Residents of Marathon County, Wisconsin, who have been through the county's juvenile corrections within the last seven years, and who can demonstrate an education plan leading to a career and a change of attitude may apply for this scholarship.
Who Can Apply: Wisconsin high school seniors or graduates may apply if they have the highest GPA in their class, are enrolled in college during the academic year following high school graduation, and are attending a college or university in the state.
Who Can Apply: Wisconsin high school seniors who demonstrate a high proficiency in technical education subjects may apply. The scholarship can only be applied to schools in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
Who Can Apply: Primary care physicians or psychiatrists who will complete their medical degree at a Wisconsin university and subsequently intend to practice in an underserved area of the state may apply for this grant.
Who Can Apply: Wisconsin residents who have demonstrated involvement in the state's dairy industry and intend to remain in or return to the industry after earning a degree may apply. The scholarship can be applied to a Wisconsin Technical College or a dairy-related program in the University of Wisconsin system.
Who Can Apply: Wisconsin students who are interested in pursuing a career in the baking industry can apply. There are several scholarship options available to students who demonstrate a dedication to a baking career.
Best Majors for Online Students in Wisconsin
Six major industries in Wisconsin are growing: agriculture, energy, finance, healthcare, manufacturing, and trucking. We've outlined three related majors which will help you succeed in these industries, all of which are offered online in Wisconsin.
Sustainable ManagementFocused on balancing people, profit, and planet in order to help companies succeed, this major teaches ways to manage and reduce waste while still keeping companies productive and profitable. It is a good fit for any of the state's growing industries.
Health and Wellness ManagementWith Wisconsin's increased focus on healthcare, a this degree puts students in a position to build lucrative, stable careers. Graduates often go on to be wellness coordinators, educators, community healthcare workers, health services managers, and coaches.
Business AdministrationAll industries need managers and administrators who can keep companies within these focus industries productive and profitable.
Resources for Online College Students in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board : In addition to offering information on scholarships, grants, and loan forgiveness programs, HEAB offers resources to help Wisconsin students make sense of financial aid options. HEAB is also responsible for administering financial aid programs.
Distance Learning Authority Board : DLAB is the part of the state government that deals with higher education compacts and distance learning reciprocity agreements. This site can help you determine the tuition you might be expected to pay if you aren't a state resident or are studying online.
WisConomy : This website, maintained by the state government, contains information on the economy and workforce of Wisconsin. You can find job boards, articles, and information on training, insurance, and other issues, and the site is a great place to start when thinking about a career in Wisconsin.
UW High School Student Resources : Presented by the University of Wisconsin, this website contains information on planning for college. It is intended to help high school students plan for their academic future.
Wisconsin Students GO 2 College : WSG2C is part of the American College Application Campaign, which aims to increase the number of first-generation and low-income students who apply to college to improve the chances of those applicants being accepted and successful in college.
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