Best Colleges in Wisconsin

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Home to 88 higher education institutions, Wisconsin is a beautiful state with a variety of high-quality options for aspiring college students. However, with so many choices offering different focuses, it can be difficult to decide where to go. Fortunately, we have applied our rigorous methodology to the latest education data to rank the best colleges in Wisconsin, including the top four-year schools.

Wisconsin offers a wide variety of private and public four-year schools for prospective students to choose from. The University of Wisconsin system, one of the premier public institutions in the world, serves 180,000 students on average. Unfortunately, there have been recent budgeting issues within the state government, and higher education is the first to be targeted with a projected $150 million dollar cut in state funding. The bright side is that in-state students will benefit from a “tuition-freeze,” meaning rates will stay the same for at least another two years. However, out-of-state students can expect theirs to go up.

Despite the challenges facing Wisconsin, getting a 4-year degree is beyond valuable. Research shows that the unemployment rate of workers with at least a 4-year degree is 2.8% vs. the standard 5.7%. Beyond that, companies are so desperate for educated hires, they are spending 58% of their training expenses on people with degrees. Given the demand, there is no better time to launch your education and choose the right 4-year program for you. Here’s our comprehensive ranking of the top colleges to help you out.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1University of Wisconsin – Madison 3/583.68%Madison, WI

The University of Wisconsin at Madison is a public university with over 40,000 students, 900 student organizations, and 23 Big Ten varsity teams. The university offers a wide range of academic options, including 200 undergraduate majors and 250 master’s, doctoral, and professional programs. The school also boasts one of the nation’s top online master of engineering programs, and its school of agriculture and life sciences offers areas of study in horticulture, agronomy, and forest science.

A center for first-year experience supports newcomers to campus, and the Wisconsin Involvement Network (WIN) helps others beyond campus through service. Notable alumni include famous aviator Charles Lindberg, renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright, and former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.

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2Beloit College 5/580.42%Beloit, WI

Established in 1846, Beloit College is located on 20 ancient Native American mounds. With small class sizes—the school has a 12:1 student-to-faculty ratio—an initiatives program helps student development socially and academically in the first four semesters of college.

Students can pursue unique studies including critical identity studies, dance, and cognitive science. Aspiring researchers can also take advantage of venture grants to develop personal-, service-, or commercial-related projects. Over 96% of students live on campus and can choose special interest housing to live with others with similar interests. The college is a member of the Yellow Ribbon GI Education Program, which offers full tuition to eligible veterans.

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3University of Wisconsin – La Crosse 2/568.35%La Crosse, WI

UW–La Crosse—set on a 128-acre campus with 34 buildings—offers unique undergraduate majors including sustainable business, at-risk child and youth care, military science, geoarchaeology, and inclusive recreation.

The university also has a master of science (MS) in medical dosimetry—the measurement and calculation of dose for the treatment of cancer patients. Entirely online degree programs are available in health and wellness, and the school offers a master of business administration (MBA), and a master of education (ME). A variety of diversity initiatives such as an access center, pride center, and multicultural services are available to students, as well as academic support services including advising, tutoring, peer coaching, and a childcare center on campus.

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4Wisconsin Lutheran College 4/561.43%Milwaukee, WI

Wisconsin Lutheran College is a small, independent Christian college offering majors in biological anthropology and human social services, among other options. Some courses are available online, and graduate degrees in leadership and innovation and science instruction are available entirely online.

With a strong focus on community service, students and faculty travel within the U.S. and beyond to serve others in countries such as Grenada, Czech Republic, and Hungary. Student life offers a variety of clubs and organizations including urban teaching, culinary club, and even a mariachi band. A student success center provides tutoring, peer mentoring, and a StrengthQuest program that guides students to develop natural talents.

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5Marquette University 5/579.28%Milwaukee, WI

Marquette is a Catholic and Jesuit university with over 85 majors, 80 minors, and 60 masters and doctoral programs. Some areas of study include peace studies, air force aerospace studies, and culture, health and illness. Online options offer accelerated degree completion programs and unique studies such as nurse midwifery, and natural family planning.

With an active campus community, over 80% of students and faculty perform some form of community service. Diversity initiatives on campus include Urban Scholars -- a program dedicated to providing scholarships and academic support to disadvantaged students; and Project Beyond2 -- a program supporting more diversity in the field of nursing.

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6University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire 2/568.23%Eau Claire, WI

UW at Eau Claire is a public university with over 80 majors, including unique offerings like ceramics, American Indian studies, and athletic training. With a special center for material science, over one-third of students partake in focused research experiences, and two Eau Claire students in 10 years have been named Rhodes Scholars.

The Biology Department supports an on-campus 3,500-square-foot greenhouse located on the 230-acre natural campus environment. Students can utilize a student success center offering tutoring, math labs and services, and disability services. Thanks to its strong service learning focus, current Eau Claire students accomplish over 350,000 of community service every year.

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7Lawrence University 5/579.62%Appleton, WI

Lawrence University -- located on a 425-acre estate on Lake Michigan -- is a liberal arts college and conservatory of music. Serving undergraduate students, Lawrence University has a 9:1 student-to-faculty ratio, with over 95% of faculty holding a PhD or other terminal degree.

Unique areas of study include museum studies, Greek and Roman classics, and focus on a multitude of instruments, music education, and music theory. Students can join clubs ranging from badminton to the Bomb Squad, a student group that performs science demonstrations for elementary students. Academic services include a center for teaching and learning, which offers counseling, tutoring, and support for students with disabilities.

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8University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point 2/560.2%Stevens Point, WI

UW-Stevens Point, located near a 280-acre conservancy area, houses a unique College of Natural Resources that promotes hands-on field experience in a variety of disciplines such as fisheries and water resources, forestry, soil and waste resources, and wildlife ecology.

With over 120 undergraduate programs, students enter a general education program that encourages global citizenship through lessons in critical thinking, communication skills, and personal accountability. Accompanying first-year seminars explore a variety of topics in life and society. Several online degree programs include health information management and technology, American studies, and an MS in sustainable and resilient food systems.

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9Maranatha Baptist University 3/544.5%Watertown, WI

Located on an 80-acre riverside campus, Maranatha Baptist University is a small Christian college with over 30 majors, including an ME in teaching and learning. Maranatha also houses a seminary with degree options such as a master of divinity and a doctor of ministry in preaching and leading. All courses are taught through a biblical worldview.

Some online degree offerings include Bible and ministry, criminal justice, technical education and trades, a master of education, and a master of organizational leadership. Maranatha students actively minister at local churches, serving the community and beyond through volunteer work.

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10Saint Norbert College 5/570.06%De Pere, WI

Founded in 1898, Saint Norbert is a small Catholic liberal arts college on the banks of the Fox River. With more than 40 programs of study, special academic centers include a center for Norbertine studies, and a center for peace, justice, and understanding.

The college provides a four-year graduation guarantee for students who remain in good academic standing. Undergraduate research opportunities place students working alongside faculty, and student support services include skill development and assessment, time management training, and disability services.

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11Mount Mary University 4/549.43%Milwaukee, WI

Established in 1913, Mount Mary University is a small Catholic private institution for women sponsored by the Sisters of Notre Dame. With over 30 undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, the university houses a School of Art and Design, a School of Natural and Health Science, and a School of Business.

Unique areas of study include fashion design, sociology and behavioral science, entrepreneurship, and health sciences. Some courses are also offered online. Student clubs and organizations focus on service and range from a gospel choir to a social work club. Academic support services includes tutoring, advising, and career development through a dedicated student success center.

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12Ripon College 5/567.73%Ripon, WI

Founded in 1851, Ripon College is a private liberal arts and sciences college. With over 30 majors and 97% of faculty holding a PhD or other terminal degree, each student is assigned a faculty mentor for academic support.

Unique majors include exercise science, military leadership, and a self-designed major. Ripon also has dedicated academic centers for politics and people, as well as social responsibility and campus sustainability. Ripon offers a four-year graduation guarantee for students in good academic standing.

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13University of Wisconsin – Green Bay 2/550.6%Green Bay, WI

UW at Green Bay offers a variety of unique programs including democracy and justice studies, first nation studies, geoscience, and urban and regional studies. Special centers for food in community and culture, history and social change, and biodiversity immerse students in the latest information on a variety of timely topics.

An American intercultural center provides services and activities for a diverse set of students, and as a military-friendly school, veterans and eligible dependents can take advantage of education benefits. Online degrees are available in integrative leadership studies, human development, data science, sustainable management, and environmental science and policy.

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14Viterbo University 4/548.46%La Crosse, WI

Founded by the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in 1890, Viterbo University is a small institution with Catholic Franciscan values and a focus on faithful service and ethical leadership.
With over 70 majors and an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students can select unique areas of study including creative media design, technology education, music performance, and substance abuse counseling.

Some online degrees include associate of arts or science, criminal justice administration, healthcare management, and management information systems. Academic services available to students include tutoring and advising, writing and math assistance, and dedicated support for first-generation students (those who are first in their family to attend college).

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15University of Wisconsin – Whitewater 2/557.69%Whitewater, WI

Founded in 1868, the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater sits on a nature preserve and offers studies in art education, German, Japanese studies, and supply chain and operations management, among other options. The university has a national reputation for its undergraduate research program, where students and faculty work together on groundbreaking projects.

Online degree programs include an MS in environmental safety and health, an MBA, and undergrad online programs in business, marketing, and liberal studies. An accelerated bachelor’s degree completion program is also available. Intramurals and club sports range from fencing to paintball, and the university has a wheelchair athletics program, including an undefeated basketball team.

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16University of Wisconsin-Stout 2/553.15%Menomonie, WI

Established in 1891, UW-Stout is a designated polytechnic university with a focus on applied learning and liberal arts. A variety of studies are offered, such as apparel design and development, food science and technology, and sustainable management. Graduate degrees can be pursued in hospitality strategy, and marriage and family therapy. Many programs are offered entirely online or through blended programs.

Sustainability is a campus-wide initiative, with projects that include maintaining a campus garden and energy conservation competitions. In addition to traditional student services, the university offers multicultural services with over 100 diverse student organizations such as the Gender and Sexuality Alliance and the Stout Muslim Student Association.

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17University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh 2/554.34%Oshkosh, WI

With 50 buildings scattered across 170 acres and over 14,000 students, the University of Wisconsin at Osh Kosh is one of the largest universities in the state of Wisconsin. The university offers over 70 degree programs and the second-largest nursing program in the state. Students can select unique majors such as anthropology, fine arts, military science, music education, and urban planning.

Through its innovative university studies program, students gain knowledge in sustainability and civic and intercultural learning. Academic support comes in many forms, including multicultural retention programs, American Indian student services, and a women’s center. A dedicated veteran resource center supports active duty veterans, guard members, reservists, and dependents of veterans.

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18University of Wisconsin – Platteville 2/551.63%Platteville, WI

Founded in 1866, the UW-Plateville sits on over 800 acres, and houses three colleges, including Business, Industry, Life science and Agriculture; Engineering, Mathematics and Science; and Liberal Arts and Education. With over 40 majors, unique areas of study include agribusiness, soil and crop science, and forensic investigation.

The university has over 35 years of distance education experience and offers online programs in engineering, criminal justice, project management, and organizational change leadership. With over 200 clubs and organizations, student life aims to be inclusive with a center for non-traditional students and veterans, services for students with disabilities, and a dedicated bias incident team.

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19University of Wisconsin – River Falls 2/554.28%River Falls, WI

The University of Wisconsin at River Falls is a public institution located on the shores of the Kinnickinnic River. Students choose from over 60 degree options in agriculture, chiropractic, dairy science, and equine science through four colleges -- Agriculture Food and Environmental Science, Business and Economy, and Education and Professional Studies.

Academic support services include tutoring, study skills, and designated multicultural student services. Special resources are also available to students with medical, physical, sensory, and brain-related issues. Select courses are offered online, including health and wellness management, and sustainable management. The university has a variety of federal educational benefits through a veterans services center that is staffed by veterans.

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20Carroll University 4/561.07%Waukesha, WI

Established in 1846 in the Christian tradition, Carroll University was the first institution of higher learning in Wisconsin. With over 95 areas of study, students select from programs including aviation science, diagnostic medical sonography, music therapy, and freshwater sciences.

A pioneer core program is at the center of Carroll’s undergraduate education, with a mix of general education and culture studies as an overall theme. Academic support services available to students include a center for academic advising, and SALUD (science and language undergraduate development) -- a program focused on helping nurses learn Spanish to accommodate the growing Latino population.

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21Concordia University – Wisconsin 4/561.19%Mequon, WI

Located on 200-acres on the shores of Lake Michigan, Concordia University at Wisconsin is a traditional Lutheran community. Unique areas of study include biblical languages, environmental health and water quality technology, horticulture, and parish music, with health professions being the most popular area of study.

Available to all Concordia students is a learning resource center offering disability support, peer tutoring, a math drop-in desk, and an online writing lab. Students can also develop spiritual practices through daily chapel services and community service opportunities. Students can take select programs entirely online, including graduate degrees in reading, education, and a variety of professional certificates.

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22University of Wisconsin – Parkside 2/530.61%Kenosha, WI

Established in 1968, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside is a small public institution offering over 35 areas of study, including sustainable management and applied health sciences.

In addition to traditional avenues of academic support, such as an advising and career center and student tutors, the university developed Project Success, where small groups of students, peer mentors, and faculty work together as a "community of learners." Online degrees and courses are offered, as well as a hybrid format of classroom and online learning. Students can get involved in community service through over 100 partner organizations.

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23Northland College 4/545.86%Ashland, WI

Located on the south shore of Lake Superior, Northland College is a private liberal arts college with a strong focus on the environment and sustainability. Unique areas of study include ecological restoration, meteorology, Native American Studies, and forestry.

Based on individual interests and goals, students participate in one of three environmental programs: Superior Connections, Growing Connections, or Natural Connections. The campus houses specialized environmental academic centers for freshwater innovation, rural communities, environmental institutions, and indigenous culture. Dining is unique at Northland, as the campus community composts with every meal, collecting approximately 28,000 pounds of food scraps annually for reuse.

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24Carthage College 5/560.69%Kenosha, WI

Founded in 1847, Carthage College is a four-year private college located on an 80-acre arboretum on the shore of Lake Michigan. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1, students choose from over 40 areas of study including climatology, neuroscience, paleontology, and geospatial science. Some courses are also offered online.

The college houses unique centers of paleontology, astronomy, and children's literature. Academic support services include a center for student success, advising, and tutoring. Much of campus has been renovated in the last 10 years and students can utilize a 65,000-square-foot library. Over 120 clubs and organizations are available including swing dancing, fencing, and a handbell choir.

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25Marian University – Wisconsin 4/555.99%Fond Du Lac, WI

Founded in 1936 by the Congregation of Sisters of St. Agnes, Marian University is a small co-ed Catholic university with an 11:1 student-to-faculty ratio. Students select areas of study from over 40 majors including community health and human services, and expressive and therapeutic arts.

Marian also offers graduate programs including a unique master's in thanatology, the study of death, dying, and loss. Some degrees and courses are also available online. Academic support includes a center for academic support and excellence, a learning and writing center, and math and science academic services. Marian is designated a military friendly school, and offers a variety of veteran services.

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For many, the biggest benefits of two-year colleges are small class sizes, affordability, convenience and a faculty committed to teaching. Graduates also fare well: in 2014, according to the 2014 Graduate Outcome Survey for the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), 92% of graduates are employed within 6 months of graduation, and 76% of them are in a field related to their education. In fact, the average employment percentage of 86% has been the same for sixteen years.

More and more students from all walks of life are taking the plunge into a two-year education. 2014 had 25,848 graduates among the 16 colleges in the WTCS. There were 6,883 more females than males, and minorities represented 14.93% of all graduates. Yet, only 38% of adults 25 years and over have an associate degree or higher in Wisconsin, which offers a big opportunity for new graduates.

Not only is it beneficial to obtain an associate degree, Wisconsin is eager to hire qualified graduates in liberal arts, health and business, according to the NCES. 88% of technical college graduates stayed in Wisconsin for work. Common available jobs include RNs, managers, accountants and diagnostic-related technologists. With so many opportunities, now is the perfect time for prospective students to make the most of this ranking and pick the perfect school.

Rank School Name Ranking Score Relative Cost Graduation Rate Location Description
1Southwest Wisconsin Technical College 1/553.09%Fennimore, WI

Southwest Tech's academic programs lead to degrees and certificates in hospitality and tourism, human services, information technology, and business, management and administration, among other fields. In the individualized technical studies program, students can combine courses from two or more major areas for an associate of applied science degree.

Southwest Tech provides workforce development solutions for local employers or other agencies, numerous continuing education courses, and online classes. Of note are electrical and plumbing apprenticeships combining coursework at Southwest Tech with hands-on training. The school has transfer agreements with nearby universities and colleges.

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2Nicolet Area Technical College 1/530.15%Rhinelander, WI

One of only three state technical colleges offering both occupational training and university-level liberal arts education, Nicolet students have a range of educational opportunities—associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, and apprenticeships.

In addition to associate of arts (AA) and associate of science (AS) degrees, Nicolet offers an AS with natural resources emphasis, an AS with elementary education emphasis, the applied associate of science (AAS) degree, and certificates in areas such as cosmetology and education and training. Of note is the University Transfer Liberal Arts program, which allows students to take their first two years at Nicolet and transfer to another four-year Wisconsin college.

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3Lakeshore Technical College 1/544.95%Cleveland, WI

More than 1,700 students attend LTC every year at its Cleveland campus and learning centers across the district. Students may choose from more than 60 one-year and two-year programs, covering knowledge and skills in areas such as advanced manufacturing, accounting, automotive, and business management and administration.

LTC has online associate degree programs in accounting, business management, human resources administration, IT web development, manufacturing, quality assurance, and supply chain management. Evening programs designed for busy workers, seminars, customized training, and an apprenticeship program are also available.

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4College of Menominee Nation 2/514.29%Keshena, WI

Located on the Menominee Indian Reservation in Keshena with an urban Campus in Green Bay, CMN enrolls students interested in pursuing higher education and acquiring knowledge of First Americans.

CMN offers AA and AS degrees in areas such as biological and physical sciences, digital media, and early childhood education. Students here can earn baccalaureate degrees in public administration and early childhood/middle childhood education. Also available are diplomas in electricity, practical nursing, and business office.

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5Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College 1/551.52%Hayward, WI

An Ojibwe tribal college, LCOOCC provides post-secondary and continuing education to Anishinaabe communities. Among the offerings are associate degrees in nursing, business administration, agriculture, and natural resources and science. G.I.S. technician, hospitality and customer service, medical transcription, and Ojibwe language specialty certificates can be earned in one year.

In addition to general education studies, each student must take at least one course in Native American Studies; LCOOCC serves native and non-native populations. Career counseling and student organizations are available on campus to provide student support and enrichment.

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6Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College 1/550.82%Shell Lake, WI

Part of the Wisconsin Technical College System, WITC has a wide array of programming, including career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, certificates, and customized training. The college offers more than 50 career programs in fields ranging from automotive technology and health care to business management and agriculture.

WITC's apprenticeship programs in cosmetology, plumbing, and maintenance/mechanic provide students with earn-while-you-learn opportunities. The school's cultural exchange programs, semesters abroad, and service learning allow students to expand their educational experiences. WITC Online gives students further opportunities to earn an associate degree from a distance.

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7Western Technical College 1/531.74%La Crosse, WI

Western students seeking programs that lead to an AAS degree have numerous choices in the divisions of business, general studies, health and public safety, and industrial technologies. Focus areas include culinary management, architectural technology, and HVAC technology.

Technical diplomas in areas such as architecture/graphics/design, healthcare and engineering/technology, in addition to numerous certification opportunities, help make Western one of the most accommodating colleges. Of note is the AS transfer degree, a two-year, 64-credit program that provides the liberal arts foundation required for a four-year degree at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and other four-year institutions.

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8Fox Valley Technical College 1/534.79%Appleton, WI

Based in Appleton, FVTC has several programs of study leading to AAS degrees and technical diplomas. Focus areas for associate degrees include communications, aviation, manufacturing, information technology, public safety, and construction.

Technical diplomas and certificates can be earned in areas such as aviation, manufacturing, transportation, health sciences, and human services. Of note is the AAS in aeronautics-pilot training for private pilot, instrument rating, and commercial pilot multi-engine -- an FAA-approved 70-credit program. FVTC also boasts a strong apprenticeship program that provides students with “earn as you learn” workplace training.

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9University of Wisconsin Colleges 2/522.54%Madison, WI

Comprised of 13 freshman/sophomore campuses and UW Colleges Online, the UW college system offers an AAS degree, a bachelor of applied arts and sciences, university transfer preparation, and continuing education.

The associate degree focuses on six areas, including fine arts and humanities, mathematics and natural sciences, social sciences, application performance, ethnic studies, and interdisciplinary studies. Six campuses offer the bachelor of applied arts and sciences, a 60-credit degree that can be earned in two years with an associate degree. Certification offerings vary by campus.

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10Blackhawk Technical College 1/531.66%Janesville, WI

The range of Blackhawk's offerings includes associate degree programs, certificates, diplomas, and apprenticeship opportunities. AAS degrees can be earned in accounting, radiography, human resources, and IT-Web Software Developer.

Certificates are available in areas such as information technology, law enforcement, and business management; diplomas in areas such as accounting, agribusiness, and computer services. The school boasts more than 100 technical training options. BTC also offers online and hybrid courses. Notably, BTC just developed a one-year pharmacy technician diploma program at the school's Beloit Center.

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11Chippewa Valley Technical College 1/531.8%Eau Claire, WI

Serving an 11-county area, CVTC offers more than 80 programs leading to associate degrees and certificates on several campuses. Associate degrees can be earned in accounting, information technology, radiography, business management, and more.

Certificates can be earned in manufacturing, information technology, and health sciences. CVTC also offers apprenticeship programming for electrical line workers, plumbers, electricians, and steamfitters. Adult education services give students GED/high school equivalency diploma preparation and employability training. Veterans services are available, as well as one-on-one transition support for adults returning to college.

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12Waukesha County Technical College 1/534.09%Pewaukee, WI

Nestled in the hills of Pewaukee, WCTC awards associate degrees, technical diplomas, and short-term certificates through its four schools. With more than 150 areas of study, the school has a degree option for all students.

The school offers AAS degrees in architectural drafting/construction technology, health information technology, automation systems technology, and early childhood education. Diplomas and/or certificates focus on many areas, including business, automation, cosmetology, real estate, and health care. In addition to online learning and continuing education is programming for the retired and semi-retired.

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13Northcentral Technical College 1/526.1%Wausau, WI

NTC boasts affordable tuition, high job placement rates, and transfer opportunities to four-year institutions. At its six locations, NTC has 185 program offerings, including two-year associate degrees and one- and two-year technical diplomas.

Associate degrees range in areas such as accounting, business management, and administrative professional to criminal justice, dental hygienist, and electromechanical technology. Certification is available in dozens of areas such as architecture, business, and healthcare, with certificates requiring one to 31 credits. NTC also has numerous diploma offerings. Of note are the school's flexible learning options and a Virtual College.

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14Northeast Wisconsin Technical College 1/5N/AGreen Bay, WI

With three campuses and five learning centers, NWTC is a nationally ranked two-year college. The school offers approximately 200 degrees, diplomas, and certificates for a variety of career paths such as architecture and construction, business, energy, manufacturing, and health services.

Associate and/or diplomas include solar energy technology, global business, gerontology, and digital marketing. High school students looking to earn college credits simultaneously can do so through the school's dual enrollment agreements. Apprenticeships are available in carpentry, construction/electrical, HVAC installation, sheet metal, plumbing, and steamfitting.

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15Gateway Technical College 1/524.36%Kenosha, WI

Serving more than 25,000 students in Southeastern Wisconsin counties, Gateway Technical College offers more than 65 education programs in health, business, manufacturing, engineering, and service careers. The institution offers numerous associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates.

Gateway's online offerings are extensive, with diplomas, associate degrees, and certificates earnable in various fields, from information technology and business to communications and education. Many companies partner with Gateway to offer apprenticeships -- "earn while you learn" on-the-job training. The school boasts cutting-edge labs, study abroad and service-learning opportunities, GED preparation, and help for English language learners.

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16Moraine Park Technical College 1/534.21%Fond du Lac, WI

Through its three campuses and two regional centers, MPTC prepares students with education and training in more than 100 career areas. AAS degrees are available in areas such as accounting, digital marketing, hotel/hospitality management, paralegal, and radiography; certificates or diplomas in fields such as pharmacy technician, metal fabrication, office software, and office assistant.

MPTC offers Flex diplomas, certificates, and AAS degrees in business, child care, education, health, and information technology; these opportunities include online, accelerated, classroom, and blended learning formats.

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17Milwaukee Area Technical College 1/512.1%Milwaukee, WI

MATC has more than 200 programs, providing students with multiple pathways to career success at a reasonable cost. Students can choose associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates in a wide range of careers in health sciences, business, media and creative arts, technology, and applied sciences.

MATC offers students the opportunity to complete the first part of a bachelor's degree in liberal arts or science at MATC, then transfer to a four-year institution. GED and high school equivalency diploma preparation, personal enrichment classes, and opportunities to upgrade occupational skills through certification are also available on campus.

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18Mid-State Technical College 1/530.31%Wisconsin Rapids, WI

For 100 years, MSTC has served Central Wisconsin communities by providing students with postsecondary education and training opportunities. Mid-State awards dozens of AAS degrees, diplomas, and certificates in areas such as business, healthcare, and manufacturing.

Mid-state hosts a strong apprenticeship program in the fields of carpentry, electrician, heavy equipment operation, and ironworking. Continuing education training in fire training and motorcycle riding is available, among others. Distance learning opportunities include online, hybrid, and independent study courses. Students wanting to transfer to a four-year college can begin at Mid-State.

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19Madison Area Technical College 1/523.17%Madison, WI

Madison Area Technical College offers more than 144 career programs. The list of available associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates is extensive, but includes the fields of health care, business, criminal justice, and information technology.

Madison Tech offers accelerated learning opportunities, allowing students to attend classes one evening per week while earning the rest of the degree online. Accelerated associate degrees are offered in marketing, supervisory management, and business management. Numerous non-credit classes are available, as are transfer options to baccalaureate programs. The college notes that 98% of its apprenticeship graduates find employment.

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If you’re thinking about applying to one of the best colleges in Wisconsin, continuing reading to learn more about living in the Badger State.

Wisconsin is beloved for its toll-free highways, cheese curds and huge volume of organic farms and markets. It’s also home to 15,000 lakes and 84,000 miles of rivers. Known as the Badger State, it’s a nature-lover’s dream, with four distinct seasons.

Overall, the cost of living in Wisconsin is 6% less than the national average. Specifically, housing is 13% cheaper, but utilities and healthcare are a little more expensive. State taxes are 27% higher than the national average. While the real median income from 2011 to 2013 rose by 2.7% in Wisconsin to $55,258, while it fell by 1.3% nationwide, to $51,939.


  • Major Cities: Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay
  • Attractions: Land o’ Lakes, Door County, Green Bay Packers, Dells of the Wisconsin River
  • Cost of Living: Madison’s Numbeo Cost of Living
  • Popular Schools: University of Wisconsin ― Madison, Lawrence University, Marquette University

Considering the relatively low cost of living, the natural beauty and the potential tuition freeze for in-state students, now is a great time to consider Wisconsin state residency for discounted tuition. Of course, this process varies depending on whether or not an individual is of legal age (18). Be sure to consult your school of choice for any additional requirements.


If one or both of a student’s parents have been residents of Wisconsin for at least 12 months before the beginning of any semester or session for which the student registers at an institution, they are considered residents. Beyond that, minor students are considered eligible if they have resided in Wisconsin while underage and for at least 12 months before any semester or session for which they are registered at a Wisconsin institution.


Similar to minors, you must be a resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 continuous months prior to enrollment to be eligible for resident tuition. If you move to Wisconsin to attend school, you will not automatically become a resident of Wisconsin for tuition purposes, even after living in Wisconsin for a year or more.

Any adult student who is a dependent of his or her parents is considered in-state eligible if one or both of the student’s parents have been residents of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to the beginning of any semester or session for which the student is registered.