Best Public Colleges in Wisconsin 2022

Best Public Colleges in Wisconsin 2022

Public colleges and universities account for almost 75 percent of all undergraduate students in the U.S. The best public colleges in Wisconsin provide broad access to reputable degree programs, affordable tuition, and sprawling educational communities.

Colleges and Universities in Wisconsin

Between community colleges, technical schools, and universities, Wisconsin has 30 public schools. All the public schools in Wisconsin have affordable tuitions, ranging from $4,000 to $11,000. The University of Wisconsin - Madison has over 35,000 students in attendance, making it the largest in the state. The tuition runs about $11,000, and the school boasts an 85% graduation rate. Public affairs, veterinary medicine, and human ecology are just some of the fields students can study here.

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Of Wisconsin’s 29 private schools, 18 are religious. With just under 10,000 students, Marquette University is the largest, and tuition for this school is about $42,000. Located in Milwaukee, this Catholic, Jesuit university offers degrees in fields like business, engineering, physical therapy, and law. Also located in Milwaukee, the state’s smallest institution, the Wisconsin School of Professional Psychology, is a private graduate school with just over 30 students, and is geared toward those earning their doctoral degree in clinical psychology. Wisconsin, like many states, also provides a loan forgiveness program to those who are working in the health care field.

When people think Wisconsin, they might immediately crave cheese. After all, the state is home to a museum dedicated to all things cheese, including the annual making of a 90-pound wheel of Swiss. But The Beaver State is also known for its more than 15,000 lakes, including Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. Prospective students looking to earn their associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral degree will enjoy the food, landscape, and educational variety Wisconsin has to offer.

Learn more about Wisconsin’s higher education opportunities by checking out the state’s variety of colleges and universities.


What are Wisconsin’s Colleges & Universities?

Wisconsin’s Best Overall

What is the difference between public and private colleges?

Public and private colleges and universities operate under different business models. Public colleges and universities are owned by the state and receive both state and federal funding to operate. Private colleges and universities are private companies with private funding. If you’re looking at the pros and cons of private vs. public colleges, consider that many public colleges provide diverse course offerings, influential professors, and an excellent return on your investment.

Public colleges are schools that receive most of their funding from tax revenues. As a result, the cost of a bachelor’s degree at a public university is often lower than the equivalent cost at a private college — especially for students attending a public school in their home state. Attending a college in-state is usually the cheapest option. Private universities and colleges can be very competitive with their funding opportunities, so do not simply believe that private colleges are always going to be more expensive. According to National Center for Educational Statistics, the average annual cost (tuition, fees, room and board for full-time students) at a public university was slightly over $20,000. In contrast, private universities cost, on average, nearly $43,000 annually. But in the end, the cost of college comes down to each student’s academic and financial situation.

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This list is composed entirely of public colleges and universities that offer bachelor’s degrees. We’ve identified 13 public universities in Wisconsin. To be included in our list of the best public colleges in Wisconsin, shcools must receive direct funding from the state, be fully accredited, and offer a broad range of bachelor’s degress.

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Best Public Colleges in Wisconsin 2022

  1. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $11K

    Acceptance

    57%

    Graduation

    88%

    Student body

    38K

    Median SAT/ACT

    1390/29

    University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Online Degrees

    BLS Applied Social Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Human Resources
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Consumer Finance & Financial Planning
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Consumer Marketplace Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  2. Other Rankings

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    22K

    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee’s Online Degrees

    BS Applied Computing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Information Science and Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Sociology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Biomedical Sciences
    Degree Concentrations
    • Diagnostic Imaging
    • Biomedical Sciences
    • Health Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Community Engagement and Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of History
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Jewish Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  3. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    7K

    University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point’s Online Degrees

    BS Applied Computing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Business Administration
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Family and Consumer Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Information Management and Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing (RN-to-BSN)
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  4. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    11K

    University of Wisconsin–Whitewater’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Political Science
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Accounting
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Economics
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Finance
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Communication - Corporate and Health Communication
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Early Child Care and Education
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Business
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of General Management
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Human Performance
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Liberal Studies
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    Bachelor of Occupational Safety
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  5. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    6K

    University of Wisconsin–Green Bay’s Online Degrees

    Bachelor of Business Administration
    Degree Concentrations
    • Accounting
    • Finance
    • Human Resources
    • Management
    • Marketing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BAS Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Nursing
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Psychology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BA Organizational Leadership
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
    BS Health Information Management and Technology
    • Required Credits: 120-128
    • Completion Time: None Reported
    • Format: Online
  6. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

  7. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    7K

  8. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    77%

    Graduation

    58%

    Student body

    5K

    What is University of Wisconsin–River Falls known for?

    University of Wisconsin–River Falls’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

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Wisconsin’s Best Public College in Your Area of Interest

2021 Ranking Archive

Many of our 2022 undergraduate focused rankings look considerably different than 2021. That’s because we took a fundamentally different apporach. For 2021 we utiulized our Concentrated Influence algorithm, designed to take away the size advantage larger schools have when we rank their faculty and alumni’s academic influence. Concentrated influence highlights smaller schools that are proportionally as successful as larger universities at cultivating influential alumni and faculty.

  1. University of Wisconsin–Madison
  2. University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  3. University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point
  4. University of Wisconsin–Green Bay
  5. University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire
  6. University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh
  7. University of Wisconsin–Whitewater
  8. University of Wisconsin–Stout
  9. University of Wisconsin–Superior
  10. University of Wisconsin–River Falls
  11. University of Wisconsin–La Crosse
  12. University of Wisconsin–Platteville