University News

UW-Whitewater lauded for its affordability as a College of Distinction

June 16, 2023

Written by Kristine Zaballos | Photos by Craig Schreiner

For the seventh consecutive year, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater has been named among the Colleges of Distinction — a national honor that recognizes campuses for exceptional teaching and dedication to student success. UW-Whitewater is one of just four public universities in the state to receive this distinction.

This year, the university is one of only two colleges in the state to be awarded a badge in affordability, one that focuses both on an institution’s costs and student outcomes as it aims to assist cost-conscious students and parents in navigating the complex landscape of college financing. The tuition at UW-Whitewater is among the lowest in the of the four-year colleges in the UW System, and the university is the least expensive when housing and meals are factored in.

“This designation affirms that UW-Whitewater offers affordable world-class academic programs that strengthen our region and state,” said UW-Whitewater Chancellor Corey A. King. “For example, we have the largest accredited business college in Wisconsin, and it ranks in the top 2% in the world, yet it is accessible to more students and families thanks to its affordability. That kind of access will benefit our students, their families, and the state of Wisconsin for generations to come.”

Tyson Schritter, chief operating officer at Colleges of Distinction, emphasized the significance of addressing today’s cost of higher education. "For new students, the ability to finance their education is a very reasonable concern. UW-Whitewater has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring manageable student debt and empowering career opportunities."

Schritter further emphasized, "Our Affordable Colleges of Distinction are not just about a low price tag; they epitomize a significant return on a student's investment. UW-Whitewater exemplifies that an engaging, real-world education can be accessible without a hefty financial burden."

The new badge rounds out existing badges that highlight UW-Whitewater’s excellence in business, education, equity and inclusion and as a public institution in Wisconsin. And it continues to be the only university in the UW System to earn the career development badge.

To be named a College of Distinction, UW-Whitewater demonstrated excellence in undergraduate education in such factors as student engagement, teaching excellence, outcomes-based learning, and community involvement. This evaluation process differs from those of popular college rankings publications, whose formulas grade institutions based on things like faculty salaries, endowment size, and peer opinion.

The Colleges of Distinction selection process consists of a review of each institution’s freshman experience and retention efforts alongside its general education programs, alumni success, strategic plan, student satisfaction, and other criteria. Schools are accepted on the basis that they adhere to the four distinctions:


Distinction 1: Engaged students

A student presents their research in front of a board that says Milky Way Galaxy.

Kaitie Davis, a biology major from Salem, presents her team’s research on star-forming regions on the far side of the Milky Way galaxy at the 2023 Spring Undergraduate Research Day.


Distinction 2: Great teaching

Nick Gulig teaches in front of a whiteboard.

Wisconsin Poet Laureate Nick Gulig, an associate professor of languages and literatures, works with advanced writing students during the spring 2023 semester.


Distinction 3: Successful outcomes

Hollyn Peterson hugs three students.

Hollyn Peterson, an art and art education student, shares a hug with students at Meadowbrook School in Waukesha as she completes her student teaching requirement before heading to graduate school in art at Syracuse University in New York.


Distinction 4: Vibrant community

Two students spread mulch outdoors.

Tyrone Williams, a student from Newark, New Jersey, who is earning his associate degree on the Rock County campus, and Darrin King, a marketing student from Milwaukee, spread mulch at the Children’s Center during Make a Difference Day, where students give their time to service.

For more information on the Cost of Attendanceclick here.