Just a generation or two ago, the entire College of Charleston student body could convene in one building.
Today, more than 10,000 undergrads populate the central-city campus. And they share the stage with thousands of students at the Medical University of South Carolina, The Citadel, Trident Technical College and satellite Clemson and USC programs.
The growth of the student population has been so rapid, that many locals scarcely think of the Holy City as a classic College Town.
But it is, and by many accounts, that’s a good thing.
Lest you think this preponderance of young scholars merely signals a surfeit of toga parties, consider this: A recent symposium (hosted by The Chronicle of Higher Education) of scholars focused on higher education found that cities get a real economic boost from the presence of college campuses. And that’s not solely in the categories of pizza delivery and used book sales.
Coverage of the symposium in The Atlantic illustrated a profound relationship between higher education and a higher order of living.
Ultimately, here are the Cliff’s Notes on the discussion: the presence of colleges and universities can help make a region more competitive. They can provide jobs and education which, in turn, attracts people and businesses from all over the world.