Karen Herzog of the Journal Sentinel has a story about delayed dorm construction at UW-Whitewater. At least, that’s how she’s framed the story, how many will understand the story, and how both UW-Whitewater and Herzog would, no doubt, like readers to understand the story.
Here’s what’s more significant even than the need for additional sleeping space:
This year’s freshman class is expected to be near record in size, boosted by students from nearby Illinois who have been successfully courted in part because the nonresident cost of attending UW-Whitewater is about what those students would pay to attend college in their own state.
UW-Whitewater is about 25 miles from the Illinois border as the crow flies.
Since 2009, the school has doubled admissions applications and enrollment of Illinois students. Illinois residents made up 9% of the freshman class in 2009; now they are about 16% of the freshman class, with the largest number coming from McHenry and Lake counties.
I don’t think a large out-of-state group is intrinsically good or bad – it is, however, significant.
The composition of the class matters, and if sustained will influence the development of both the university and the city.