When the Wisconsin Territory became the 30th state in 1848, it also became a center for abolitionist activity. As the nation inched toward war, Wisconsin aggressively declared itself on the side of the Union, an act which initiated a long history of progressive politics for the Midwestern/Great Lakes state. Today, that history is best represented in the tradition of excellence that permeates its system of higher education. In spite of the dominant role played by dairy agriculture in the state, education has been a critical priority for the state, even during its days as a territory.
In 1846, Carroll College emerged from the ashes of the Prarieville Academy. The private liberal arts school located in Waukesha has operated continuously since that time, with the exception of a brief suspension of operation during the Civil War. Today, it routinely ranks among U.S. News & World Report's Top 50 Midwest Regional Colleges. Carroll is one of 31 private non-profit liberal arts schools in the state.
Another top performer, Beloit College opened its doors in 1846 as well. With 1,300 students enjoying an average class size of just 15 students, Beloit is recognized by U.S. News & World Report as offering the best value among National Liberal Arts colleges.
Wisconsin's public postsecondary sector began just as the territory achieved statehood, with the 1848 founding of the University of Wisconsin, Madison. A picturesque campus flanked by a pair of lakes, the university is home to roughly 43,000 students, who have the opportunity to choose from among 750 different student organizations. The University of Wisconsin doesn't just rank high among public universities. In fact, Times Higher Education recently named it the 31st best school in the world!
In addition to a six-year graduation rate that exceeds the national average of 56% by 4.4%, 2010 saw the state graduate 31.3% of students from its two-year institutions within three years, good for the sixth best mark nationwide.
- See who ranks as the best college and university in Wisconsin today.
- The University of Wisconsin ranks among The 100 Best Universities in the World.