Upper Iowa University closing six regional centers in Wisconsin

Upper Iowa University, 620 S. 76th St., STE 100 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Upper Iowa University, 620 S. 76th St., STE 100 in Milwaukee, Wis.

Upper Iowa University is closing seven of its 22 regional education centers, including six in Wisconsin.

The private university, based in Fayette, Iowa, about 100 miles west of Platteville, said declining enrollment and other headwinds challenging higher education institutions led to the decision.

The school's Milwaukee site was across from the Wisconsin State Fair grounds. Other Wisconsin centers were in Madison, Janesville, Wausau, Prairie du Chien and Racine/Kenosha/Elkhorn.

Altogether, 217 students were enrolled at the Wisconsin locations, Upper Iowa University spokesperson Susan Scott said. All but the Milwaukee site were already operating fully online and Milwaukee offered "very few" in person classes this year. Staff are assisting students in the transition to fully online courses.

Upper Iowa plans to maintain partnerships to continue to enroll new students from the region despite the absence of a physical office space, she said.

The Rockford, Illinois, location is also closing. The shuttering of the seven regional centers affects about 15 jobs, according to The (Cedar Rapids) Gazette, which first reported the news.

Upper Iowa University enrolled 5,000 students as recently as 2015, according to federal education data.

By fall 2021, the school reported about 2,000 students enrolled, with three-fourths of them learning at a location other than the main campus.

Faced with fewer students to fill seats, small institutions across the Midwest are struggling to balance their budgets. Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant closed last week.

In Wisconsin, Cardinal Stritch University will celebrate its final commencement Sunday. The University of Wisconsin-Platteville Richland is ending in-person degree programs after this spring semester.

Contact Kelly Meyerhofer at kmeyerhofer@gannett.com. Follow her on Twitter at @KellyMeyerhofer.

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Upper Iowa University closing all regional centers in Wisconsin