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UWM dorms available to MATC students

By Aaron Cleavland, Times Staff Reporter
On October 25, 2012

With this year's nationwide drop in college enrollment, universities are forecasting a downward trajectory in dorm occupancy as one of the side effects. While this is a fact of life that most universities have to deal with, UWM is compensating by being both neighborly and innovative. For the first time in the history of the two schools, UWM and MATC are coming together to collectively fill empty beds in the two newest UWM residency halls.

Unlike other UWM dorms which are state owned, River View Hall and Cambridge Commons are owned by the UWM Real Estate Foundation, a subsidiary of the nonprofit UWM Foundation, whose main function is to develop and hold real estate for the benefit of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The two facilities were built, respectively in 2008 and 2010, to answer to the overwhelming need for more housing for first year students; as it stands currently, it's at about 90 percent occupancy. Kelly Haag, Director of University Housing for UWM says, "High school demographic rates are down and we've just been on a little bit of a downward [slant] which is somewhat comparable to other universities. In the meantime, if the yield to the university is down we get an even smaller number [of occupancies] and it's incredibly vital that we have our beds filled." So the President of the UWM Housing Foundation, Dave Gilbert, suggested they reach out to MATC. Archie Graham, Director of Student Life at MATC, expressed that he had received multiple requests over the years from parents and students for a dorm-like experience. It was a logical step forward.

Although most students who go to MATC are from the Milwaukee area and thus may not need to live in dorms, there are programs at MATC that aren't offered anywhere else in the state; so someone from Superior, for instance, who is enrolled for a semester and needing a place to live for that duration can have that option. But this could also be an essential key to success for those who live in a home environment that's not conducive to studying or, sometimes, even living.

Beyond people who may need the dorms, Haag believes very strongly in the importance of the dorm experience in general, "People who live in the residence hall do better academically, they're better connected, they're more likely to stay until graduation and they get a little bit of extra help and a little bit of extra love during a time that's really vital. They're just becoming independent; they're figuring out what it's like to be on their own and developing an identity that is their own. When you are confronted with new experiences that's when those things are going to happen. If you're just living at home or even in an apartment with a brother, sister, or friend, it's very easy to escape from people who are different from you or experiences that are different than ones you'd normally have. We create a challenging, supportive, and stimulating environment that ties what happens in the classroom with what's outside of the classroom."

Currently, UWM requires all first-year students to live in the dorms. In order for an MATC student to be eligible to live in a dorm, the student needs to be enrolled in at least six credits; they're also required to be 18 years old and must have finished high school, meaning high school seniors attending MATC need not apply until next year.

For an academic year, prices for living in the dorms range from $587 to $720 per month, which may be off-putting to some, but these rates are quite comparable to prices of surrounding neighborhoods; throw in the added safety measures, partially furnished apartments and full kitchens with full-size refrigerator and range with oven, basic cable TV, internet, all utilities, and free parking for each resident included in rent, it's going to be hard to find a more hassle-free way for a  first time student to be on their own. Haag further explores the benefits of dorm life by saying, "It's not only about the physical space, there's a whole community and program for you to help you enhance your education. You have a lot of the staff who live here in the residence halls who are supporting our students. I also love the idea of getting to expand who we serve and be able to provide that kind of experience to MATC students."

For students who are interested in living in a UWM dorm: go to, call  UWM's housing office at (414) 229-4065 or email

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