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Waukesha County Technical College sees enrollment jump for fall 2023 semester

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PEWAUKEE, Wis (UPDATED: Friday, Sept. 8 For the fall 2023 semester, Waukesha County Technical College has seen a double-digit increase in enrollment, thanks to expanded programming, new College initiatives and other factors.

The College is projecting a total headcount increase from 18,024 in 2022-23 to 18,650 in 2023-24. Additionally, as of Sept. 5, WCTC reported an 11 percent increase in the total number of credits (full-time equivalency or FTE) that students are taking. This increased from 1,289 for fall 2022 to 1,434 for fall 2023.  One FTE equals 15 credits per academic semester.

“We are really emerging as a comprehensive, regional college because we offer an unbelievable curricular array of programs,” said WCTC President Richard Barnhouse, Ph.D. “We’re growing at a rate that is allowing us to pull ahead; and with a growth mindset, commitment to campus culture and thriving academics, it can be felt throughout the entire region.”

This increase includes nearly 1,600 new program students to WCTC, said John McGreal, WCTC’s dean of Enrollment Services.

“As an integral part of the community, WCTC helps ensure our industry partners have a diverse, educated and talented workforce,” McGreal said. “WCTC’s strong enrollment this year means we are connecting with more students and their stakeholders to help them go beyond the classroom to fulfill their career and educational goals.”

Dual Credit on the Rise

In the area of dual credit – which provides a number of options that allow high school students to earn high school and college credit simultaneously – numbers are on the rise.

“The Dual Enrollment Academy, which allows for cohorts of high school students to attend WCTC for four hours a day during the entire school year, continues to see annual growth with over 250 students attending this year,” said Sandra Maylen, executive director of Early College Opportunities at WCTC.

For 2023-24, there are 10 academies: four with multiple cohorts -- including Firefighter/EMT, Welding, Building Construction Trades and Pre-Nursing -- due to demand.

This year marks the second full academic year of WCTC’s Excelerate initiative, which is designed for qualified high school juniors and seniors ages 16 and older and welcomes them to apply to a full College program, just like any other student. This also enables them to earn an associate degree, technical diploma or certificate -- even before they graduate from high school.  In the first year, 11 students earned a technical diploma and nine students earned a certificate. With more students now entering their second year of Excelerate, many are on track to earn their associate degree later this academic year, Maylen said, and the initiative continues to gain momentum.

New Programs Boost Enrollment

Other new WCTC offerings, some of which started during the last academic year and others this fall, are helping to drive enrollment.

In January, WCTC welcomed students into its two new liberal arts transfer degree programs: Associate of Arts and Associate of Science. In partnership with the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, WCTC students can seamlessly transfer into UWM to earn a Bachelor of Arts or a Bachelor of Science degree.

In August, the College added a technical diploma program in Mechanical Systems Technology; an associate degree program in Substance Use Disorder Counseling; and certificates in Foundations of Data Analytics, Foundations of AI (artificial intelligence) and AI Technician – all of which have been garnering attention from students, community members, and business and industry partners alike.

“We are very excited about the three new IT certificate programs,” said Alli Jerger, WCTC associate dean of Information Technology. “Foundations of Data Analytics is a stepping stone for those who want to dip their toe into this exciting field. Foundations of AI and AI Technician are some of the first certificates being offered in the field of AI at a certificate level in Wisconsin.”

Additionally, an AI associate degree was developed over the past year. It is awaiting the approval from the Wisconsin Technical College System Board, and it is slated to begin in fall 2024.

Because of this marked growth, the College has had to reevaluate space and facility needs -- at both the Pewaukee and Waukesha campuses -- to accommodate the increase in students, prioritize their education and ensure their time at WCTC reflects a first-class learning experience.

>> For more information about the many new programs, offerings and initiatives at WCTC, visit

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 170 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit