UW–Madison Faculty and Staff

Launching for summer 2022, the Online Only (UNOL) classification of Special students was created to provide an opportunity for non-Wisconsin residents to take online courses through UW–Madison at a lower tuition rate. Students eligible for this classification are nonresidents of Wisconsin, not in a UW–Madison degree program, and planning to only take online classes. Advisors in ACSSS will review applications to ensure that applicants are an appropriate fit for UNOL. Admitted UNOL students will be required to meet course requisites, enroll after all degree-seeking students, and held to 6 credits per term.

UW–Madison online classes have not typically been sought out by nonresidents, unless tied to another program, due to the high cost of nonresident tuition. The lower fee associated with the UNOL classification would allow nonresidents of Wisconsin to fill empty seats in online classes giving them access to the high quality, world-class education provided by our university.


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What is the new UNOL classification and why was it created?

This is a new Special student classification for nonresidents of Wisconsin planning to enroll only in online courses. UW–Madison would like to have more nonresident online students enrolled at UW–Madison to take a quality, affordable online classes for nondegree credit.

How is this classification determined for a student?

For the UNOL classification, *ACSSS admission advisors will admit only students who are not more appropriately admitted into other existing classifications and tracks (such as Capstone certificate programs), and who are only interested in studying completely in an online format—students cannot mix an online class with an in-person class. Students in degree-seeking status at UW–Madison will not be eligible.

*Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admissions, advising, and deans office for UW–Madison’s nondegree students who are admitted in 15 different Special student classifications, and who enroll in credit classes across the campus each term.

Who will monitor UNOL students to ensure they are enrolled in only online classes?

ACSSS advisors will be regularly auditing enrollment in this new classification.

Does a department have to allow UNOL students in their classes?

A UNOL student’s ability to enroll in any online class (like all other Special students currently) will depend on the requisite controls placed on classes by each department. Therefore, instructors and programs will always have the option to not allow a UNOL student to enroll in their online class.

How many UW–Madison Special student classifications are there?

There are 15 distinct Special student classifications. These students enroll in credit classes, on a space-available basis for most classifications, across the campus each term.

What is the tuition rate for UW–Madison Special students?

Tuition rates for most of the existing Special student classifications are based on a student’s Wisconsin residency status with most residents of Wisconsin paying $477 per credit and nonresidents paying $1639 per credit as of the 2021-2022 academic year.

This new classification of online-only Special students (UNOL) will allow qualified nonresident students to consider applying for admission and enrolling in an open and available UW–Madison online class at a rate of $500 per credit for a total of $2000 for a 4-credit course vs. the typical Special student rate of $6440 for 4 credits (2021—2022 academic year rates).

Will my department receive the tuition for these online, nonresident students?

Tuition from this new classification is designated as pooled campus tuition and will flow to campus schools and colleges via the summer and regular fall and spring budget models.

Is admission and enrollment for UW–Madison Special students restricted?

Each Special student classification, such as high school (UNHS), professional development (UNDS), international exchange (UNIS), capstone certificate (UNCS), and Senior guest auditors (UGSR), has different admission requirements as well as different enrollment restrictions on what classes they may take.

How many UW–Madison Special students are there on campus?

ACSSS supports the enrollment of over 5000 nondegree students each year through its cross-campus collaborations with many departments and programs seeking to expand their educational reach and impact to those not currently in UW–Madison degree programs.