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

    $9K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    46%

    Student body

    22K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee known for?

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

    • Social Work
    • Criminal Justice
    • Physics
    • Engineering
    • Nursing
    • Computer Science
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology
    • Business
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  2. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    84%

    Graduation

    65%

    Student body

    10K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Economics
    • Religious Studies
    • Social Work
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Mathematics
    • Nursing
    • Sociology
    • Literature
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  3. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    87%

    Graduation

    59%

    Student body

    7K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Philosophy
    • Economics
    • Physics
    • Mathematics
    • Biology
    • Literature
    • Sociology
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Earth Sciences

    Most Influential Alumni

  4. Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    75%

    Graduation

    71%

    Student body

    10K

    What is University of Wisconsin–La Crosse known for?

    University of Wisconsin–La Crosse’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Physics
    • Chemistry
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Medical
    • History
    • Political Science
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Biology

    Most Influential Alumni

  5. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    80%

    Graduation

    62%

    Student body

    11K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Whitewater known for?

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

    • Political Science
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Business
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  6. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    57%

    Student body

    6K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Green Bay known for?

    University of Wisconsin–Green Bay’s faculty and alumni have been influential in:

    • Business
    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • History
    • Nursing
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Literature

    Most Influential Alumni

  7. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    79%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    10K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh known for?

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

    • Earth Sciences
    • Physics
    • Communications
    • Computer Science
    • Business
    • Biology
    • History
    • Literature
    • Nursing
    • Mathematics

    Most Influential Alumni

  8. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    81%

    Graduation

    56%

    Student body

    7K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Platteville known for?

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

    • Chemistry
    • Engineering
    • Criminal Justice
    • Computer Science
    • Biology
    • History
    • Education
    • Philosophy
    • Sociology
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

  9. Tuition + fees

    $7K

    Acceptance

    66%

    Graduation

    39%

    Student body

    4K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Parkside known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Communications
    • Sociology
    • History
    • Biology
    • Criminal Justice
    • Mathematics
    • Chemistry
    • Economics
    • Education

    Most Influential Alumni

  10. #11

    University of Wisconsin–Stout

    Menomonie , WI

    Tuition + fees

    $9K

    Acceptance

    90%

    Graduation

    60%

    Student body

    7K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Stout known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Engineering
    • Philosophy
    • Education
    • Psychology
    • Mathematics
    • Medical
    • Sociology
    • Earth Sciences
    • Business

    Most Influential Alumni

  11. 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:

    • Communications
    • Literature
    • Computer Science
    • Social Work
    • Physics
    • Biology
    • Education
    • Engineering
    • History
    • Economics

    Most Influential Alumni

  12. Tuition + fees

    $8K

    Acceptance

    86%

    Graduation

    43%

    Student body

    2K

    What is University of Wisconsin–Superior known for?

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

    • Computer Science
    • Economics
    • Chemistry
    • Education
    • Mathematics
    • Philosophy
    • Biology
    • Medical
    • Literature
    • Psychology

    Most Influential Alumni

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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