Wisconsin is a name that you might have heard in any of your favorite English shows or American movies. If not, it’s a beautiful state bordering Lake Michigan, known for its cheese production and stunning natural beauty. But beyond its cultural significance and scenic beauty, Wisconsin also has a strong reputation for quality and affordable higher education. Public universities lead the charge in offering in-state students excellent value for their investment, with many private institutions following suit through scholarship opportunities.

Therefore, this article will help you explore the affordability factor across various Wisconsin universities, helping you find the academically best and financially sound university in the “Badger State.”

Affordable Schools in Wisconsin for International Students

1. Madison Area Technical College

Madison Area Technical College, also known as Madison College, was founded in 1912 and is recognized for its comprehensive vocational and technical education offerings. Located in Wisconsin’s capital, it offers a wide array of programs in health, technology, and applied arts.

For American students, tuition typically ranges from $5,000 to $7,000, while international students can expect to pay slightly higher fees, ranging from $5,700 to $7,400. However, considering the valuable job-ready skills gained at Madison College, the return on investment remains significant. With its focus on practical training and affordability, Madison College allows students to acquire the qualifications needed to enter the workforce with confidence.

2. Northwood Technical College

With its two campuses in Wisconsin’s Ashland and Rice Lake, and originally named Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Northwood Technical College offers practical and career-focused education in STEM fields with quite affordable costs.

However, the value proposition of Northwood Technical College extends far beyond affordability. Northwood Tech boasts an impressive job placement rate, with a staggering 95% of graduates finding employment within six months of graduation. This translates directly to earning potential, as graduates go on to secure jobs with an average starting salary of $43,000 annually. This high salary combined with the College’s low tuition fees makes Northwood Tech an investment that pays off quickly.

3. Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University

Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe University (LCOOU), founded in 1982, stands out as a distinctive institution focused on preserving and promoting Ojibwe culture and language. Located in Hayward, Wisconsin, this tribal community college offers a unique educational experience that integrates Ojibwe traditions with academic learning, making it an intriguing option for international students seeking a culturally enriched education. Following this, the university also promotes sustainability initiatives and community engagement, providing an environment that respects and honors native traditions.

Among one of its most accessible programs for international students at LCOOU is the Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, which is designed to provide a solid foundation in a variety of academic subjects while incorporating Ojibwe cultural perspectives. However, International students will find LCOOU appealing not only for its affordable educational offerings starting at $6,030 but also for its warm, community-focused environment that supports learning about and participating in local culture.

4. University of Wisconsin- Parkside

  • Admissions | Tuition Fees
  • Tuition Fees: $7,900-$9,700 (In-State) | $16,500-$19,700 (Out-State & International)

The University of Wisconsin System (UW System) is a network of prestigious public universities across Wisconsin, with one of the prominent institutions being the University of Wisconsin-Parkside (UWP). Established in 1965, UWP distinguishes itself with its hallmark of small classes and one-on-one faculty attention, ensuring a personalized learning experience and a close-knit community for students. Notably, UWP also cultivates a diverse student body, with over 30% consisting of underrepresented minorities and over 50% females, fostering a healthy and inclusive academic environment.

With diversity and inclusivity, UWP offers reasonable costs for international students, around $16,500 for undergraduate and approximately $19,700 for graduate students. The pricing can fluctuate with additional housing or international registration fees.

5. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

After UW-Parkside, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UWEC) exemplifies the UW System’s vision of exceptional education at a reasonable cost. To maintain the standard set by other universities in the UW System, UWEC offers over 200 programs across its four colleges: Business, Human Sciences, Health Sciences, and Arts. This wide range of program offerings has also led UWEC to appear in Forbes America’s Top Colleges of 2023 and U.S. News Ranking of top undergraduate research universities.

Despite these points of pride, UWEC is notably more affordable than others in the UW System, offering education within the range of $9,800 to $19,400, attracting students from around the globe.

6. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Moving to the eastern side of the state, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) continues the UW System’s tradition of top-quality education and affordability. Similar to UWEC, UWM also offers a vast array of undergraduate and graduate programs, with alumni like Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and actor Willem Dafoe showcasing the diverse career paths UWM can empower.

In-state tuition fees range from $10,000 to $12,300 for different levels, making UWM an attractive option, with its location in Milwaukee offering an environment full of cultural festivals, historical architecture, and internship and research opportunities.

7. Rasmussen University

While our focus has been on public universities in Wisconsin, private institutions like Rasmussen University can also be financially accessible. Founded in 1900, Rasmussen University offers career-focused bachelor’s degrees and certificates with a strong emphasis on practical skills and knowledge.

Their tuition fees are around $11,300 annually, which might seem higher than some public universities. However, Rasmussen compensates through its flexible learning options, including online programs, allowing you to potentially balance work or family commitments with your studies. They also offer scholarships and financial aid programs to help manage costs.

8. Maranatha Baptist University

Maranatha Baptist University, located in Watertown, Wisconsin, is a private institution that intertwines a rigorous academic curriculum with Christian evangelical values only at $20,100 annually for an undergraduate degree.

Known for its focus on spiritual education alongside professional and liberal arts studies, the university offers a unique environment for students who seek both academic growth and spiritual development. This combination attracts international students who value a community that supports both their career aspirations and personal faith practices. The university’s small class sizes ensure personalized attention, while its dedicated faculty are committed to student success, making Maranatha a nurturing place for international students to thrive academically and spiritually.

9. Lakeland University

Lakeland University, established in 1862, is another private Christian university with a beautiful 240-acre campus in Herman, Wisconsin. Lakeland offers a unique Cooperative Education program, allowing students to gain valuable work experience and potentially earn scholarship money to reduce college debt. This program, along with Lakeland’s relatively small size and focus on undergraduate education, creates a supportive environment where international students usually like to go.

10. Edgewood College

Edgewood College, founded in 1927, is a private Dominican college nestled in Madison, Wisconsin. This scenic 55-acre campus overlooking Lake Wingra offers a strong liberal arts education with a focus on social justice and ethical leadership. With a student-to-faculty ratio of 12:1 and over 82% of classes capped at 20 students, Edgewood fosters a personalized and engaging learning environment, perfect for international students seeking a supportive community.

While tuition fees at Edgewood College are listed at $35,900, which may seem higher than other public and private institutions, the college offers a range of scholarships and financial aid options to help cover the costs. Notably, Edgewood College was also recently awarded a gold ranking in the 2024-2025 Military Friendly® Schools list, demonstrating their commitment to veterans and international students alike.

FAQs: Studying at a University in Wisconsin

What Are the General Requirements to Study in Wisconsin?

To study in Wisconsin, students generally need to provide transcripts showing completion of secondary education, standardized test scores (such as SAT or ACT), and proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, or equivalent). Additionally, letters of recommendation and a personal statement are often required. International students must also provide financial documentation to prove they can cover tuition and living expenses, and they may need to apply for a student visa.

Are International Students Eligible for Financial Aid and Grants in Wisconsin?

In Wisconsin, international students are eligible for various types of financial aid and scholarships. For example, the University of Wisconsin offers the International Student Services (ISS) Scholarship, while Maranatha Baptist University provides the Maranatha International Scholarship.

What is the Cost of Living in Wisconsin?

The cost of living in Wisconsin is generally affordable compared to the national average. However, monthly expenses for a student can vary, with accommodation costing approximately $500-$800, food around $150-$300, and transportation, such as a bus pass, typically about $50-$100. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provides a detailed breakdown of living expenses on its official website, offering a useful resource for prospective students to estimate their budget. These costs can fluctuate based on lifestyle and location within the state.

Summed up, Wisconsin offers not only a great lifestyle but also the opportunity to study in cost-friendly colleges that provide top-notch education. With UW System’s quality affordable public institutions, to generous scholarships available at private colleges such as Edgewood and Lakeland, this American state emerges as the prime destination for those seeking a cost-effective yet promising educational experience!

 

We hope that this article on the cheapest universities in Wisconsin was helpful! Make sure to also check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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