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Affordability No. 1 reason for choosing a university

Published February 7th, 2013

UW-River Falls has approximately 6,551 students on campus and, according to statistics, a deciding factor on what college a student decides to attend can be tuition cost.

In an article by USA Today, a survey showed 66.6 percent of students surveyed said that the economy significantly affected their choice of college. While cost may be a significant detail in regards to choosing a college, there are other important details to take into consideration such as the programs that are offered.

“The dairy science program at River Falls has more connections in the dairy industry than other schools,” said sophomore Tawna Pogreba.

Pogreba said although she took tuition into some consideration, her main focus was to choose a school that would best suit her future plans. UWRF ended up being the school that fit her perfectly.

“This is a stepping stone for entering the job market. This is a small school so you get more one-on-one time with your professors,” she said. “I have a guaranteed spot in vet school because I heard from the school about applying for it. I might not have heard about it if I was at a bigger school.”

The UW System schools are close in tuition prices. According to the UW System website, for the 2012-2013 school year the standard UWRF tuition is $3,850.23 a semester for a Wisconsin resident and $4,028.07 for a Minnesota resident, because of reciprocity. This is compared to UW-Madison tuition, which is about $5,189.29 a semester for a Wisconsin resident and $6,582.60 for a Minnesota resident. UW-Eau Claire is listed as $4,342.79 a semester for both Wisconsin residents and Minnesota residents for the standard tuition.
These tuition prices are comparable to other colleges across the country. In order to catch potential students’ attention, college recruiters must focus on what their college has to offer compared to another.

“Some of our programs are pretty unique such as animal science and equine, as well as dairy science. Not many schools have that focus,” said Yunge Dutton, the visit coordinator for admissions.

Dutton explained that when speaking with those interested in attending UWRF, she focuses on what the campus has to offer that other campuses do not. She agreed that although tuition is a deciding factor for some future students, location also has a big impact on why a student would choose to go to a certain school.

The three main reasons that Dutton said sets River Falls apart from other campuses is its location, the programs and four colleges it has, as well as affordability.

Junior Alexander Toftness also added that choosing a school closer to your hometown as well as near the cities has its benefits.

“I’m most familiar with this school because I live in River Falls and the departments I was interested in had high ratings,” Toftness said. “The cost also had something to do with it.”

For sophomore Evan Bohman, UWRF is the second college he has attended and this is his first year here.

He transferred from a Minnesota college and said that it was double of a drive back home and it was not what he was looking for in a campus.

“The location was the biggest thing, and the atmosphere,” Bohman said about deciding to transfer to UWRF. “This is a smaller town and it’s quieter.”

Dutton said that UWRF is also unique in the sense that the programs we offer are highly accredited and have a high success rate. She went on to explain that in the communicative disorders program going through an undergraduate to a graduate level has had 100 percent job placement success since 1974.  Programs such as communicative disorders help make UWRF even more appealing.

“It’s important to have a well-balanced and well-rounded school and UWRF offers that,” said Dutton. “From academics, to student life, to location and to affordability.”

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