Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Enrollment cap at UWM

Mike Affholder
The University of Wisconsin Milwaukee is a college campus stuck between a rock and a hard place, as cliché as that sounds. It is a university that strives for growth, both in diversity and education, but the campus’ physical location is literally preventing this from happening. Think about it. UWM is landlocked; it is surrounded by urban areas. The city’s refusal to tear down buildings to help make room for more UWM facilities is causing a problem, not only for the university, but for its neighbors as well. There are too many students to be contained in so small a campus. However, for every problem, there is a solution. In this case, the solution needed is an enrollment cap on incoming freshman.
Crazy, right? Not really. UWM doesn’t really have any room to grow anymore. It’s already outgrown itself in a sense with over 23,000 undergraduates, and an average freshman class of 3,400, attending the university. How else can we accommodate for this lack of space than to limit the number of people who attend the school?
UWM’s non-student neighbors are also a factor. Limiting the number of incoming freshman could lessen the number of students living off-campus, which is a major complaint of non-student residents living near UWM. They claim that UWM students cause typical college student trouble where they don’t belong. If UWM started admitting incoming freshman in accordance to dorm capacity, this problem would be lessened.
UWM’s image is also a factor. An enrollment cap would mean stricter admittance prerequisites. Making UWM a harder school to get into would boost the school’s image past its current one as the poor man’s Marquette. UWM is the kind of school where only its students and faculty know how great its programs really are, so an enrollment cap would definitely help make others realize that it is a college that deserves being grouped with others like UW-Madison and Marquette, rather than just be considered a safety school.
An enrollment cap would be hard to put into action, since it is possible it could interfere somewhat with the university’s policy of catering to students from urban backgrounds or lower-income families. However, this is a problem that could be worked out, to the benefit of the university, its students, and its neighbors. UWM needs an enrollment cap. Otherwise, Shorewood had better make way for next year’s freshman.

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