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Community Corner: UWPlatteville's rate of return
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It was wonderful to visit with so many UW--Platteville alumni and community members during Homecoming in October. Celebrated since 1924, Homecoming is one of the university’s most memorable, lasting traditions.

This year, thousands of alumni, family, friends, students, faculty and staff participated in Homecoming Week. I hope that you were able to enjoy the parade, football game, lighting of the M and other activities.

Academic programs and services are always the university’s first priority, for they are the heart of this institution. We continue our tradition of providing exemplary, affordable and accessible education in high growth fields; cutting edge technology; hands-on, experiential training; academic advising and career counseling; and assistance with securing a position following graduation.

Keeping our priorities in line clearly makes a difference for our students. A recent study conducted by PayScale, a Seattle-based, compensation data company that maintains salary profiles, indicates that UW–Platteville graduates can expect a positive rate of return on their investment into higher education. In fact, UW–Platteville is the highest-rated UW school in the survey except for UW–Madison. Given the concern nationwide about the increasing costs of a university education, it is refreshing to learn what we have known all along: UW–Platteville graduates can expect a great reward for their investment, both in knowledge and in compensation.

According to the 2012 study, UW–Platteville ranks 429th out of 1,248 institutions nationwide regarding the rate of return on in-state tuition and ranks 483 on out-of-state tuition. When comparing public universities nationwide, UW–Platteville ranks 134th out of 395. The rate of return, according to PayScale, is 7.9 percent annually for in-state tuition and 6.5 percent annually for non-residents.

The study also noted that the typical starting salary for a UW–Platteville graduate is $47,300. All data used to produce PayScale’s results was collected from employees who successfully completed its survey, and only employees who possessed a bachelor’s degree, not any higher degrees, were included.

The quality and success of our academic and athletic programs has drawn much media attention. Over the past few months, UW–Platteville has received increased local, regional, and national media coverage, which indicates that people regionally and nationally are starting to take notice of the many great things that the university students, faculty and staff are accomplishing.

A few examples of recent media coverage include a U.S. News and World Report article about our International Pal Program, a WMTV Madison special consulting our experts at Pioneer Farm about the drought, and a Wausau Daily Herald story about our Engineers Without Borders organization.

There has also been much publicity about our Forensic Investigation Crime Scene House, including an article in Forensic Magazine. An article written about the Horrific Crime Scene Re-Enactment at FICSH was picked up by the Associated Press and was used by various television stations online across the state and beyond, including WLUK-TV in Green Bay, and WXOW-TV in La Crosse; San Francisco, MSNBC. com; and WBAY-TV in Green Bay. KCRG-TV in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, aired a feature on FICSH this month.

In addition, the Associated Press picked up a story about the 75th anniversary of the M, and it appeared in several media outlets throughout the country. Other coverage includes a Wisconsin State Journal story about the North American Manx Museum, and there will be a Channel 3 TV in Madison story on our Cheer and Stunt Team’s new Sparkle Effect Squad, the first-ever, all-inclusive collegiate cheerleading squad. There have also been numerous radio interviews, articles posted on media websites and articles printed in newspapers and magazines that highlight the success of our students, professors, and programs.

Pioneer athletic teams have received national recognition and student–athletes have received weekly recognition from national media outlets such as and and on the conference level from the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in various sports.

I have great pride in the students, faculty and staff of this university. I am also thankful that the university is closely connected to so many people, businesses and organizations in Platteville as well as the surrounding communities. Together, we are making a name for ourselves in the region, the state, and the nation. Together, we are making every day a great day to be a Pioneer.

The Community Corner is a weekly column of opinion written by guest columnists UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis Shields; Platteville School District Superintendent Connie Valenza; Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Kathy Kopp; Main Street Program Director Jack Luedtke; Common Council President Mike Dalecki, Platteville Recreation Coordinator Jordan Burress, State Rep. Travis Tranel, Platteville City Manager Larry Bierke,m and Police Chief Doug McKinley.