Wisconsin’s private college leader to retire after 3 decades


MADISON, Wisconsin (AP) – The group leader of private colleges and universities in Wisconsin plans to retire after three decades at the helm.

Rolf Wegenke, 73, became president of the Wisconsin Association of Private Colleges and Universities, also known as WAICU, in 1992. The Madison-based organization represents 23 private nonprofit schools and their nearly 54,000 students.

“I think we are in a very good position,” said Wegenke, who resigned after the school year. “The Presidents were very enterprising during the pandemic and the last recession and recession before that. “

Wegenke has spent much of his time convincing people that private colleges are affordable, compared to public universities. He focused on promoting many sources of financial aid, the Wisconsin State Journal reported.

The average annual sticker price for a student attending a WAICU school is $ 33,422, he said, but the average financial aid program is $ 29,007. This means that the average cost for a student is $ 4,415.

“How do we tell this story and get people to listen is difficult,” he said.

Grants are part of this story. Almost a third of students attending WAICU schools are eligible for a Pell Grant, the federal grant for students from families with the greatest financial need, and 27% are students of color.

Across the University of Wisconsin system, a quarter of students received a Pell Scholarship and about 18% identified as students of color last fall.


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