MADISON, Wis. (AP) – University of Wisconsin System President Ray Cross is proposing merging the state’s two-year schools with its four-year campuses in effort to boost enrollment.

System officials said in a news release Wednesday that Cross’ plan calls for keeping the two-year schools open but making them essentially regional branches of the four-year schools. Students would still earn associate degrees but they would come from the four-year schools.

UW spokesperson Stephanie Marquis said as the population is generally getting older, the number of students at UW’s two-year campuses is falling.

“On our two-year campuses here in Wisconsin, we see those demographic shifts already beginning to happen. Our enrollment is down about 32 percent since 2010. We are really trying to get in front of this,” she said.

Marquis said the merger will make more classes available to students at two-year campuses, make their degrees more attractive and ease transfers to the four-year schools.

Cross will present the plan to the Board of Regents next month.

(CBS Chicago and The Associated Press contributed to this copy. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Watch & Listen LIVE