EAU CLAIRE (WQOW)- Across UW System schools, overall student enrollment is dropping, but the number of students of color on campuses is rising, including at UW-Eau Claire.
School officials say UW-Eau Claire saw a 1% increase of incoming students of color this year, raising the number of underrepresented students to roughly 12% of the student population. Hispanic and Hmong students are the highest populations of minority students on campus.
The university has been vocal about creating a more diverse campus community in recent years, and officials believe determination to make that happen has attracted more students of color to Eau Claire.
"The steps that we've taken in regards to having a strategic plan around EDI, which incorporates intentional practices around evaluating staff and faculty to make sure that they are embracing this concept in the work that they do, I think that speaks volumes," said Billy Felz, interim Executive Director of Enrollment Management at UW-Eau Claire.
UW-Eau Claire says 18.7% of all faculty in classrooms are of color. The university says they've already received 400 more applicants from students of color for the fall 2021 semester, and school officials hope the number of students of color will grow to 20% by 2024.