Elizabeth Vierkant –

The University of Wisconsin-Stout recently broke records with number of degrees earned. Stout students in the 2017-18 school year received 1,989 degrees. 1,627 were bachelor degrees.

The last record set was in the 2012-13 school year. That year, students received 1,970 degrees. 1,636 of these were bachelor degrees.

“We believe the record is a result of prospective students and their parents becoming aware of the inherent economic value of a UW-Stout education,” said Mell Douglas, the executive director of communications and external relations at UW-Stout.

According to Douglas, UW-Stout usually has an employment rate of 90 percent. 98.2 percent of Stout graduates in the 2016-17 school year were employed after graduation.

“We also have worked to expand our program array, meaning that the majors we offer will appeal to a much broader spectrum of high school students than a few years back,” said Douglas.

Of the programs offered at UW-Stout, business administration has the most enrollees with 686 new students in 2017. This is followed by management with 360 new students, restaurant and tourism with 333, engineering technology with 310 and mechanical engineering with 305.

“Students and their parents are well aware that coming to UW-Stout will mean they will receive a hands-on, applied education that will give them a tremendous advantage when seeking that all-important first professional position right out of college,” Douglas said.

Synala Smith, a junior in business administration, originally came to Stout for the mechanical engineering program. She liked that it was hands-on. Smith also appreciated the laptop program and Stout’s affordable tuition.

Hannah Bragelman, a senior in the game design and development major, said she came to Stout for the Game Design program. Her parents also liked Stout’s job placement statistics.

Douglas believes that UW-Stout’s number of graduates grew due to the affordability of tuition. There has also been an increase in the number of scholarships offered, including the Blue Devil Guarantee scholarship program.

According to the UW-Stout website, this scholarship program will begin in the 2019-20 school year. The program offers a $1,000 Promising Scholarship for students with a 22-23 ACT or 1,100-1,150 SAT and a 3.0 grade-point average; a $2,000 Polytechnic Scholarship for students with a 24-25 ACT or 1,160-1,250 SAT and a 3.33 GPA; and a $3,000 Chancellor’s Scholarship for students with a 27 or above ACT or 1,260 or above SAT and a 3.67 GPA.

Douglas said, “This is great news for employers in western Wisconsin, because it means that UW-Stout produced a record number of graduates to help businesses and industries meet their significant workforce demands.”