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New pathways for new people.

We embrace students typically overlooked by universities – for example, those who stopped out, are place-bound or are incarcerated. Across the state and around the world, these students enrich the UW–Madison community as well as their own families and communities, helping us embody the Wisconsin Idea.

Christine and her daughter sitting on a bench with her wife standing behind them, all smiling

Returning adult students overcome obstacles to earn awards – and degrees.

Odyssey of 2023 standing on a stairs

UW Odyssey Project celebrates 20 years of transformation through education.

Dan Barry on his phone

Community college transfer student proud to be a business Badger

Points of Pride



Adult Career and Special Student Services enrolled 5,310 non-degree special students, ages 14-90, in credit courses in FY22.



UW-Madison Online enrolls learners from 31 counties across Wisconsin, 14 different states and 3 countries and 8.6% have veteran status.


In Gifts

The Odyssey Project secured more than $4.8 million in gifts, grants and sponsorship revenue in FY22 with an additional $1.36 million of commitments made for FY23-25.



The Prison Education Initiative received a $5.6 million Department of Workforce Development grant to partner with UW-Green Bay and UW–Madison campus units to offer degree and certificate programs for incarcerated learners.

From the Learners

The numbers are there about how higher education stops recidivism. Not just that but it makes us better people. I am a better person because of the education that I received when I was in prison.

Dominee Meek

Odyssey Beyond Bars student
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We offer educational access to a growing population of nontraditional learners.

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We help learners and staff flourish, no matter where they are on their lifelong learning journey.

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We support people in the workforce and employers across the state – and beyond – with vital tools and knowledge.