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1725 State St
La Crosse, WI 54601-9959
p. 608-785-8000
w. www.uwlax.edu

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Rating: 3.8/5 (13 votes)

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University of Wisconsin La Crosse (UW La Crosse) is a public university in the University of Wisconsin system. It was first founded as a normal school in 1909. In 1964 the university became part of the Wisconsin State University System. The original campus center, Maurice O. Graff Main Hall, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is still used today to house student services; the departments of Psychology, Philosophy, and Modern Languages; and various other offices.

The campus extends across 119 acres in residential La Crosse. It features artistic, award-winning landscaping. The impressive La Crosse bluffs and Mississippi River are both close to the campus.


UW La Crosse offers nearly 90 undergraduate degrees in 44 disciplines and 26 graduate programs spread across 8 disciplines. There is one doctorate offered, which is in physical therapy. The university is organized into three colleges: the College of Science and Health; the College of Business Administration; and the College of Liberal Studies, which includes the School of Education and the School of Arts and Communication. UW La Crosse is particularly well known for its microbiology, business administration, recreation management, exercise, and sport science programs. The physician assistant program is also recognized for its excellence. UW La Crosse has, in recent years, ranked first in the nation for percentage of accounting students who successfully pass all parts of the national CPA exam.

Classroom Experience

The student/faculty ratio at UW La Crosse is 24:1. The average class size is 29, although since there are several large lecture-style classes, this means that there are also many small, conversational seminar classes as well.

Library Resources

The Eugene W. Murphy Library houses nearly ¾ million print volumes and a wide range of electronic databases and other resources for student use. For students who need a quick refresher in the middle of studying, the library features Murphy’s Mug Café in the building.

Most Popular Fields of Study


Admissions to UW La Crosse are highly competitive. The average GPA and ACT scores of the students at UW La Crosse are second only to those at University of Wisconsin Madison in the state system. Roughly 2/3 of incoming students score a 24 or higher on the ACT, and the majority of students graduated in the top 20% of their class.

Financial Aid

Tuition at UW La Crosse is the lowest of any public university in the Midwest, a draw for many students. In addition to the wide range of state and federal financial aid options available to college and university students in Wisconsin, CVTC offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships.

Student Financial Aid Details

Ranks 3704th for the average student loan amount.
Secrets to getting the best scholarships and financial aid in Wisconsin.


Clubs and Organizations

There are nearly 200 student organizations on the UW La Crosse campus to meet a wide variety of personal and professional interests. Greek life is not a large part of student life at UW La Crosse. Although there are a number of fraternities and sororities, only about 1% of students belong to one of them and only one, Delta Sigma Phi, has its own house.


The student newspaper, The Racquet, has been in continuous publication since 1910. There are several paid positions for student writers and photographers. There is also a satirical newspaper, The Second Supper, at the university. Published by students, it is widely distributed throughout La Crosse and Eau Claire. The Catalyst is a literary journal, produced quarterly by the student body. It consists of short stories, essays, and poetry. Issues of The Catalyst are organized by theme.

Student Enrollment Demographics

Student Graduation Demographics


The athletics department is known as the Eagles. The Eagles compete on the intervarsity level in NCAA Division III and the Wisconsin Athletic Conference. School colors are gray and maroon. The mascot is known as Colbert, a tribute to Stephen Colbert.

Men’s sports include track and field, cross country, wrestling, lacrosse, rugby, soccer, and football. Women’s teams include track and field, gymnastics, lacrosse, rugby, and cross country. Several of their teams have extremely strong records.

Athletics and outdoor activities are a large part of the culture at UW La Crosse. Students may rent a kayak or canoe at the Recreational Eagle Center. Hiking, biking, and rock climbing are also all popular activities, and the La Crosse area is rich in trails and waterways. The university also offers classes in yoga, strength training, and other physical activities.


Perhaps the best known tradition at UW La Crosse is the Hanging of the Lanterns, which dates back to 1913. In 1931, faculty member Orris White began hanging a large lantern on the tower of the main hall to welcome alumni for Homecoming, saying, “We’ll hang the lantern in the old college tower over the south door. You won’t need to look for the key—the door will be open.” Today a large lantern hangs there year round, but is only lit for Homecoming. UW La Crosse students also have a colorful tradition of communicating through chalking the sidewalks.

Local Community

The city of La Crosse is also home to Western Technical College and Viterbo University, allowing the municipality to be a true college town. There are many restaurants, bars, and clubs that cater to students. La Crosse has a rich history of athletics across many sports (including, of course, lacrosse!) which is reflected in the university culture and throughout the town.


Well-known alumni of UW La Crosse include:

  • Major League player Jerry Augustine
  • NFL players Will Berzinski, Roman Brumm, Mike Maslowski, Ric Mathias, Tom Newberry, Bill Schroeder, and Joel Williams
  • Talk show host Mark Belling
  • US National Guard Major General Rodney R. Hannula
  • PGA Tour golfer Don Iverson
  • Food Network star Sandra Lee
  • Wisconsin legislators John L. Merkt and MaryAnn Lippert
  • American Frisco Jazz cornet player Robert Schulz
  • Roman Catholic bishop F. Richard Spencer
  • US Congressman William H. Stevenson


  • About. Library. University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Web. 21 July 2011.
  • Alumni. University of Wisconsin La Crosse. Web. 21 July 2011.
  • Fiske, Edward B. Fiske Guide to Colleges 2011. Chicago: Sourcebooks, 2010. Print.
  • Pope, Loren. Looking Beyond the Ivy League: Finding the College That’s Right for You. New York: Penguin. 2007. Print.

Information Summary

Ranks 5th in Wisconsin and 216th overall
See the entire top 2,000 colleges and universities list

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Campus Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 Students
Aggravated assault 2 0.02
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Rape N/A N/A
Robbery N/A N/A
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary N/A N/A
Larceny N/A N/A
Vehicle theft N/A N/A
Arrest 57 0.55

Local Crime Statistics

  Incidents per 100 People
Aggravated assault 122 0.24
Murder & Non-Negligent Manslaughter N/A N/A
Forcible Rape 18 0.03
Robbery 25 0.05
Arson N/A N/A
Burglary 313 0.61
Larceny 1,435 2.78
Vehicle theft 75 0.15

Demographics – Main Campus and Surrounding Areas

Reported area around or near La Crosse, WI 54601-9959
Surrounding communitySmall city (inside urban area, pop. under 100,000)
Total Population48,702 (44,235 urban / 4,467 rural)
Households19,209 (2.28 people per house)
Median Household Income$34,771
Families9,857 (2.94 people per family)

Carnegie Foundation Classification

Master's Colleges and Universities (larger programs)
UndergraduateBalanced arts & sciences/professions, some graduate coexistence
GraduatePostbaccalaureate with arts & sciences (education dominant)
Undergraduate PopulationFull-time four-year, more selective, lower transfer-in
EnrollmentVery high undergraduate
Size & SettingMedium four-year, primarily residential

General Characteristics

Title IV EligibilityParticipates in Title IV federal financial aid programs
Highest offeringDoctoral degree
Calendar SystemSemester
Years of college work requiredN/A
Variable Tuition
Religious AffiliationN/A
Congressional District5503

Special Learning Opportunities

Distance LearningN/A
ROTC — Army / Navy / Air Force  —   /   / 
Study Abroad
Weekend College
Teacher Certification

Student Tuition Costs and Fees

Ranks 1560th for total cost of attendance
  In District In State Out of State
Effective as of 2014-09-19
FT Undergraduate Tuition $7,585 $7,585 $15,158
FT Undergraduate Required Fees $1,184 $1,184 $1,184
PT Undergraduate per Credit Hour $316 $316 $632
FT Graduate Tuition $7,780 $7,780 $16,911
FT Graduate Required Fees $1,010 $1,010 $1,010
PT Graduate per Credit Hour $432 $432 $940
Total Cost of Attendance — On-Campus $17,993 $17,993 $25,566
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus w/out Family $17,993 $17,993 $25,566
Total Cost of Attendance — Off-Campus with Family $12,043 $12,043 $19,616

Student Tuition Cost History and Trends

Prior year cost comparison
  In District In State Out of State
Published Tuition & Fees $8,329 $8,761 $8,329 $8,761 $15,902 $16,334
  Cost (regardless of residency)
Effective as of 2014-09-19
Books & Supplies $300(N/C)
On-Campus – Room & Board $5,930 $6,000
On-Campus – Other Expenses $2,800 $2,950
Off-Campus w/out Family – Room & Board N/A $6,100
Off-Campus w/out Family – Other Expenses N/A $2,950
Off-Campus with Family – Room & Board N/A $2,950

Admission Details

Effective as of 2014-09-19
Application Fee RequiredN/A
Undergraduate Application Fee$44
Graduate Application Fee$56
First Professional Application FeeN/A
Applicants 6,982 (2,828 male / 4,154 female)
Admitted 5,027 (1,855 male / 3,172 female)
Admission rate 72%
First-time Enrollment 1,897 (729 male / 1,168 female)
FT Enrollment 1,890 (727 male / 1,163 female)
PT Enrollment 7 (2 male / 5 female)
Total Enrollment10,520

Admission Criteria

 = Required,   = Recommended,   = Neither required nor recommended
Open Admissions
Secondary School GPA / Rank / Record  /   / 
College Prep. Completion
Formal competency demo
Admission test scores
Other testsN/A

Admission Credits Accepted

Dual Credit
Life Experience
Advanced Placement (AP)

Athletics - Association Memberships

Sports / Athletic Conference Memberships NCAA
NCAA Football Conference Wisconsin Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Basketball Conference Wisconsin Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Baseball Conference Wisconsin Intercollegiate Ath Conf
NCAA Track & Field Conference Wisconsin Intercollegiate Ath Conf

ACT Test Admission

502nd for 75pctl scores
Applicants submitting ACT results 98%
Verbal scores (25/75 %ile) 22 / 27
Math scores (25/75 %ile) 23 / 27
Cumulative scores (25/75 %ile) 23 / 26

Student Services

Remedial Services
Academic / Career Counseling
PT Cost-defraying Employment
Career Placement
On-Campus Day Care
Library Facility

Student Living

First-time Room / Board Required
Dorm Capacity3,067
Meals per WeekN/A
Room Fee$3,500
Board Fee$2,450

Student Completion / Graduation Demographics

Total 80 16 43 60 7 1,887 14 2,131
Accounting 7 1 3 55 66
Archeology 1 25 1 29
Art/Art Studies, General 17 18
Athletic Training/Trainer 15 15
Biochemistry 1 1 1 18 21
Biology/Biological Sciences, General 1 5 6 1 203 1 218
Business Administration and Management, General 23 1 85 109
Chemistry, General 1 12 13
Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist 1 2 20 23
College Student Counseling and Personnel Services 2 1 1 1 43 48
Community Health and Preventive Medicine 1 1 44 47
Computer Software Engineering 1 1 3 6
Computer and Information Sciences, General 5 21 2 28
Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts, General 14 14
Economics, General 1 1 1 16 1 20
Elementary Education and Teaching 1 2 1 1 125 1 132
English Language and Literature, General 2 42 1 45
Finance, General 19 2 7 65 93
French Language and Literature 1 1
Geography 7 1 8
German Language and Literature 6 6
Health Teacher Education 15 15
History, General 2 1 13 16
International Business/Trade/Commerce 2 4 6
Kinesiology and Exercise Science 3 1 5 3 181 195
Liberal Arts and Sciences, General Studies and Humanities, Other 9 9
Management Information Systems, General 2 1 1 2 17 23
Marketing/Marketing Management, General 5 3 49 57
Mathematics, General 2 30 1 33
Medical Radiologic Technology/Science - Radiation Therapist 1 4 28 33
Microbiology, General 1 3 21 26
Music, General 13 13
Nuclear Medical Technology/Technologist 1 18 19
Occupational Therapy/Therapist 1 2 22 26
Parks, Recreation and Leisure Facilities Management, General 1 1 52 54
Philosophy 7 7
Physician Assistant 1 1 17 20
Physics, General 22 1 24
Political Science and Government, General 1 2 1 23 1 28
Psychology, General 1 8 4 179 195
Public Administration 1 13 14
School Psychology 16 17
Science Teacher Education/General Science Teacher Education 7 7
Social Studies Teacher Education 19 19
Sociology 2 2 1 57 1 67
Spanish Language and Literature 2 1 37 1 42
Special Education and Teaching, General 1 4 5
Speech Communication and Rhetoric 1 3 6 2 2 72 87
Teacher Education and Professional Development, Specific Levels and Methods, Other 1 1 1 1 57 61
Therapeutic Recreation/Recreational Therapy 3 45 48
Women's Studies 3 1 5

Faculty Compensation / Salaries

Ranks 2239th for the average full-time faculty salary.
Effective as of 2014-09-20
Tenure system N/A
Average FT Salary $60,545 ($63,925 male / $55,201 female)
Number of FT Faculty 490 (243 male / 247 female)
Number of PT Faculty 574
FT Faculty Ratio 0.9 : 1
Total Benefits $11,514,497

Elisabeth Bailey+

Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

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