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Last updated:

November 11, 1999

Students of Color Enrollment Up at UW-River Falls

More and more students of color today are choosing UW-River Falls to further their education. New student enrollment for students of color is up some 6 percent this fall.

This increase is attributed to several things, said UW-RF Admissions Director Alan Tuchtenhagen, but most notably to UW-RF's location, strong academic reputation, and faculty expertise.

"River Falls is in an ideal location," Tuchtenhagen said. "We have a beautiful campus in a beautiful town, and this is a very supportive community for our students."

On campus, parents and students are impressed with a 19-1 faculty-to-student ratio and the apparent close mentoring relationships between students and teachers, he said.

Enrollment numbers also are impacted by the campus' location within the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Tuchtenhagen said.

UW-RF draws students of color from all across Wisconsin and Minnesota but the biggest draw is from St. Paul, Minn., he said. UW-RF is a desirable option for Twin Cities high school graduates because of its location and its affiliation within an internationally recognized University system, he added. UW-RF has an excellent working relationship with St. Paul public schools and their programs, which are encouraging more students to attend college, he said.

"Our hope would be to continue to have this kind of success enrolling students of color," Tuchtenhagen said. "We have every reason to believe we'll continue in this direction."

With refocused recruitment efforts and additional programs for students of color, UW-RF will continue to see a steady increase in its number of multicultural students, according to UW-RF Admissions Counselor Carolyn Brady, who coordinates multicultural outreach for prospective students and their families.

"The entire campus and community is richer because of the diversity of our student population," Brady said. Diversity makes all students more well-rounded and employers are seeking graduates who can adjust and thrive with people of all backgrounds, she said.

UW-RF's commitment to diversity is outlined in the University's "Plan 2008: Educational Quality Through Racial and Ethnic Diversity," which is part of the University of Wisconsin System's commitment to diversity on all 26 of its campuses.

With the increased students of color enrollment this fall, UW-RF is on track in meeting its 2008 planning initiative, Brady said. Brady visits area high schools as part of a recruitment process to encourage prospective students to think about college and consider UW-RF. She works with community organizations to assist with translations and tries to involve students of color in her presentations.

Such an outreach program has been successful at UW-RF where 60 percent of its 5,674 students are the first in their family to attend college.That commitment to access is well above the national average of 40 percent.

Two federal grants worth nearly $400,000 were recently awarded to UW-RF to help economically disadvantaged students attend college and to prepare economically disadvantaged UW-RF students for graduate school.

The two grants, Upward Bound and the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program, are part of the federal TRIO suite of grants for disadvantaged students.

Founded in 1874, UW-RF began its 125th academic year on Sept. 2. It is a coeducational, public university with strong programs in the arts and sciences; education; business and economics; and agriculture, food and environmental sciences. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 715/425-3500 or e-mail Tuchtenhagen at

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