Enrollment at Wisconsin’s state universities fell by around 1 percent compared to last fall, according to new estimates from the University of Wisconsin System. While three schools saw more students enrolling this fall, nine reported declines of between 3 and 6 percent, and one reported steady enrollment.

Initial enrollment estimates from the UW System, released Thursday, show another year of mixed news for the state’s 13 universities. Official fall figures won’t be released until November, but estimates from last year were within 1 percent of the final tally.

Even with overall declines at most state schools, UW System President Jay Rothman was optimistic about increased freshman enrollments. UW System data show 26,442 new freshman enrolled at four-year universities this semester, representing an increase of more than 2 percent. That’s the most first-year enrollments since 2018. During a briefing with reporters, UW System President Jay Rothman said that’s important amid a fierce competition for talent among Wisconsin businesses.

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