5/10/2011 5:32 PM ET|
'A' average isn't enough for college
Some state schools are rejecting in-state applicants in favor of less qualified out-of-state students for one reason: Money.
Today's college applicants are in for a shock: Not only do their state universities cost more than ever before, but some are now turning away even some of the best local students.
The reason: budget cuts. With government funding slashed, state schools are increasingly favoring out-of-state students, who pay two to three times more in tuition than students from in the state.
This is coming at a time when, for many students, state universities represent the last chance at an affordable education.
"Unfortunately, I think the trend will continue," said Daniel J. Hurley, the director of state relations and policy analysis for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. "It is one of many, many strategies that public universities have been engaging in" recently to generate revenue.
Brandon Stover, a Seattle high school senior, figured he was a shoo-in for acceptance to the University of Washington, the state's flagship college in his backyard.
He had maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average, added rigorous International Baccalaureate courses to his schedule and been named class valedictorian. Still, he got the slim envelope, The Seattle Times reported.
But Stover's shock turned to resentment when he learned that the UW had cut 150 state residents from its freshman class to replace them with nonresidents -- students whose parents had not been paying Washington state taxes and who, in some cases, had weaker grades than Stover's. That was in addition to the 150 out-of-state students the university already had added.
Cutting the resident allotment wasn't an easy decision for the UW to make, administrators reported. But the state of Washington, facing a $5 billion shortfall, had sliced its contribution to the university in half, by $217 million over the next two years.
By boosting the number of out-of-state students, who pay $25,300 in tuition compared with the $8,700 residents pay, the university will generate an additional $6.3 million in the next school year. Nonresidents pay so much more, in fact, that they essentially fund the schooling of residents, who will still constitute 68% of the freshman class in the fall.
"That's just good business sense, that we need to squeeze more revenue yield out of nonresident students," said UW spokesman Norm Arkans.
Indeed, it is a perfectly rational and wise decision -- for a boardroom. But when corporate thinking prevails, what's next? The UW, founded with a mission to serve its state, still receives 45% of its core funding from taxpayers.
"If you're going to tell higher education to act more like a business, and you give them flexibility, and you offer them customers who are willing to pay three times as much for that education, it's an unsurprising choice what they're going to do," said Quinn Majeski, a senior in political science at the UW and the director of the Office of Government Relations for the Associated Students of the University of Washington. "They're going to take the customers, the out-of-state students, that are going to pay three times as much."
Dramatic shift in California
The UW is hardly alone. The University of California system, renowned worldwide for its commitment to higher education for its residents, is boosting out-of-state enrollment again to help compensate for a projected half-billion dollars in state aid cuts.
The current reduction follows $637 million in cuts two years earlier, the greatest since the Depression. After that hit, campuses practically halted faculty recruitment, raised tuition, dropped courses and enlarged classes to the point of overflowing. Educators warned that the state's economic growth was in jeopardy.
Most of those faculty members could recall when the state of California contributed 78% of a resident's education -- as recently as 1990. In a dramatic shift, students will now contribute more money to the university system's core funding than the state will, for the first time since the first campus was founded in 1868.
"For those who believe what we provide is a public good, not a private one, this is a sad threshold to cross," Mark Yudof, the president of the University of California system, told the Board of Regents in January. "But in California it's been a long time in coming."
To historians, public higher education is an American ideal and one that made America great. While higher education was once reserved for the privileged few, college doors were flung open after the Morrill Act of 1862 provided land grants for state universities, "in order to promote the liberal and practical education of the industrial classes."
The GI Bill, which arrived late in World War II and paid veterans to attend college, fueled the economic boom and middle-class prosperity that defined America's midcentury. A year after the Soviet satellite Sputnik led to fears that our Cold War enemies would win the arms race, millions of federal dollars tucked into the National Defense and Education Act spurred the generous student aid of the 1960s.
State pays less, students pay more
In 1970, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan imposed tuition for University of California students for the first time (to conform to state law prohibiting tuition, it was called an "education fee"). And in the 1980s, when a shift toward reducing government aid took hold, federal and state funding for higher education began a 30-year-slide, aside from a period in the 1990s.
By 2008, a majority of public four-year universities in the U.S. had crossed the line that the University of California system now faces: Students and their families were contributing more than the states. In the preceding decade, average resident tuition at public research universities had risen 46%, while state appropriations had decreased 5%, according to the Delta Cost Project, an independent research foundation in Washington, D.C., that analyzes higher-education costs and spending. The percentages were adjusted for inflation.
"In inflation-adjusted dollars, we're spending today almost exactly what we were spending 20 years ago to educate a student," said Arkans, the University of Washington spokesman. "However, 20 years ago the state paid 80%, and the student paid 20%. Today the state pays 45%, and the student pays 55%. Next year, it'll go to 35% and 65%."
In Massachusetts, another pioneer in public education, the flagship UMass Amherst announced in 2009 that over 10 years it would double its number of nonresident undergraduates, to 6,500, while maintaining its in-state numbers at 16,000, all to generate revenue. At the current nonresident annual tuition of $23,628, adding 3,250 students would eventually generate $76.8 million a year.
"It's an important shift, one we haven't really done in the past," Chancellor Robert Holub said at the time, according to The Boston Globe.
Most schools are careful to avoid publicly stating that additional nonresident students will translate into fewer resident students, said Donald Heller, the director of the Center for the Study of Higher Education at Penn State.
But in practical terms, that's the outcome. "It's a zero-sum game," Heller said. There are only so many slots. Courses fill up. Students need housing.
At UMass Amherst, for example, first-year students must live on campus. The university knows it will need to build new dormitories. Faculty members -- already battling a staffing shortage -- say additional teachers will be needed.
University of Arizona President Robert Shelton publicly reasoned that nonresidents would add diversity to the student body. But the numbers speak louder: Nonresidents pay $24,596 in tuition; Arizona residents pay $8,238. Even the lower number is becoming out of reach for many. At the three public universities in that state, incoming freshmen will pay 45% to 72% more in tuition than their counterparts did in 2008.
Most college students in the U.S. today attend public institutions of some form: universities, state colleges or community colleges. But tuition at four-year schools has risen more than 320% over 20 years, far more than private college tuition, income or goods and four times the overall rate of inflation, according to research by the Delta Cost Project, which tracked spending from 1988 to 2008.
When schools have raised tuition, it has not translated into more spending by universities and has offset only losses in state appropriations, the study said.
Graduates of public universities now take, on average, $20,500 in student loan debt along with their degrees, according to the Project on Student Debt, an initiative of the Institute for College Access & Success, an independent research nonprofit.
Amid the day-to-day budget battles, legislative discussions about a university's public mission can be overlooked, with little to no objection to efforts to recruit additional private funding in the form of nonresident students.
"The governors and legislators are just backing off and saying, 'Yes, we understand why you're doing it. What options do you have left?'" Heller said. "It's become a much more accepted practice."
In Arizona, the state's three public universities won legislative approval this year to raise their caps for nonresidents to 40%, up from 30%, in response to a proposed $235 million state budget cut. The reduction was more than the past three years' cuts combined and dropped per-student funding to 1967 levels.
Studies indicate that when tuition is raised during a recession, it does not go back down once the economy picks up. In fact, once a new income stream is realized, states feel comfortable making additional cuts, experts say. Universities raise tuition again. More resident slots go by the wayside.
"It can get to be a downward spiral," Heller said. "It gets to where the universities in essence become de facto privatized institutions."
When nonresidents fall short
But here's a kicker: Attracting and accommodating those high-paying out-of-state students costs money in itself. Universities now invest millions of dollars in recruitment efforts, often disbursing partial scholarships to top-performing nonresidents instead of to needy state residents.
And what happens if the university can't attract enough nonresidents?
This year, the University of Rhode Island learned that 260 fewer out-of-state students than expected had signed on for the fall and found itself staring at a $6.9 million shortfall.
The university's solution: It raised tuition for in-state students. Resident tuition at the university will increase 8.5%, to $10,476. Nonresident tuition, meanwhile, will rise just 1%, to $27,182.
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What's ironic is that the Boomer generation that enjoyed decent, affordable education is now calling the shots in jacking up tuitions and limiting options for the very programs from which they, themselves, benefitted. We appear to be returning to the old aristocratic methods of richer people can achieve higher learning while the rest remain poor and uneducated. The elite will pass on jobs and positions to others of their cohorts as entitlements; effective oligarchy and socialism for the rich.
Sure! A poor kid from a working class family can apply to college and earn a degree upon graduation... but, he'll "earn" a crushing debt that he might never be able to repay because there are no jobs available. Even worse, wages will likely decline and he, [and others like him] will be in debt for as long as he's alive... then, that debt will be passed onto his kin. What a wonderful system! Welcome to the new indentured servitude... economic slavery!
But, hey! Why are we complaining?
Take education out of the hands of government... hand it over to the private sector and watch the magic happen! They'll be more money... more money... and more money! Just don't ask whose paying and whose receiving the money! Taxes are bad because everyone pays a little to get a piece of the pie... Privatization is great because those who pay more get the whole pie!
Socialism is evil! Capitalism is great!
Just let it go! If you're poor... don't bother to get a degree... we have plenty of low-wage, low-skilled jobs available for you. But, be sure you're cheaper than the illegal immigrants we'll hire- under the table, of course! They're virtually free! And when we solve the pesky immigration issue... they'll vote for whom ever will let them stay and keep you from working!
Isn't unchecked, immoral, and askew capitalism is wonderful?
As dumb as the man is, one thing Bush did right as a Governor for Texas is making it a requirement that Universities have to accept good In-State students. If you were in the top 10% of your high school class, not on a state level but your high school, then any state university had to accept you, period. UT was becoming a small foreign country instead of a state school before that was in place. Even to this day their post graduate programs, masters or PHD are pretty much only either the 'well connected' or out of state/foreign students because the law didn't cover those programs.
This should be made a requirement across the board at all State Colleges and Universities. Natives FIRST. You're there in large part because of their tax dollars, you service your local community before farming your services out to others.
I agree with some the the points Vorratus stated. But my friend, the Capitalism you described, is not REAL CAPITALISM. That's "Pirate International Bankers" Capitalism. Capitalsim is TRUE Pioneer FREE MARKET, not manipulated by Pirate Street Gangsters even some in the Obama Adminsitration. Capitalsim is free opprotunity, not The Good Ole Boys Network Manipulation. Capitalism is finaincal freedom, not Mega-Corporations using the Federal Political Governemnt to make laws to crush small business and other competitors, ask John D Rockerfeller.
Socialism exist in the US. We are 51% Socalist, and that is needed. What gives Socailism a black eye is not the collectivism, but the squelching of the welfare system by illegals and con-artist. When you have illegals on welfare, that makes socalist policies look bad. When you have over 49% of the US population that pays NO taxes and gets ALL the Public Treasurey benefits, that would make the taxpayers be Up In Arms. Or people who cheat on taxes by claming children they never fathered to get extra money and the mothers go along with it. Or illegals get paid under the table while the woman makes a bunch of anchor babies and get on welfare, yes even the muslims do the same thing. Get rid of the illegals and the force the con-artist child-support ducking bums to work and pay taxes, Socalism would not be a bad label.
This country needs both Capitalism and Socalism to balance the Nation.
this is tragic. not only is this going on but states are starting to approve financial aide for illegal immigrants?! utah, california just for starters. this leaves american citizens w/less financial aide.
95% of american citizens are against illegal immigrants yet we have to battle our own politicians, schools, govnt, etc., & they work for us!
How many times do we have to vote them out? I don't care if they were born here. If their parents are illegal in my eyes they are illegal.
Wow, the bleeding heart liberals are at it again. The USA does NOT owe anybody a college education!!! It's not an entitlement. Can't pay for it? Do something else!!!You say that the nation does not owe anybody college education? That's not the argument... it never was an entitlement issue. What the issue is now is that all what used to be available to all people are now being stripped bit-by-bit from the people. Like everything else!
What we have is a spin and play on words... semantics. It was totally unacceptable to deny anybody access to education at the college level based on income outright. By first privatizing education and hiking the tuition rate, only the well-to-do can afford to attend.
Now, college boards are effectively shutting out in-state student because they won't be able to take in larger revenues. Now! We're talking denying college education! The system is being rewritten to ensure indebted graduates right out the gate.
And in a bad economy... where jobs are scarce domestically due to shifts to overseas... many newly-minted Middle Class college graduates find themselves gazing into poverty already. College institutions today are nothing more than money-making machines that prey on the youths' hopes for a better life earned through hard work and just rewards... and you call that "entitlement".
It was liberal ideals-coupled and balanced with conservative values- that built this nation... the Interstate Highway System, the National Rail Road, Space Program, Social Security, Public Education, even police and firefighting departments!
If you hate liberal ideals so much... then I'd invite you to never draw a Social Security check... stop using the roads... never call on the police or fire departments for assistance... because those are "entitlements" you do not require- if you believe in the true tenets of capitalism. Take care of yourself!
Though, I believe your hypocrisy will kick in eventually. You'll need the road, the police... You'll even need the public water utility! And let's not get started on energy! You'd think true "non-entitlement" seekers would demand energy independence and put their homes off the grid out of principle! But, nope! Again! Hypocrisy!
The high-and-mighty who wish not to share their "entitlements" while demanding those below work for scraps that fall from above. They would be wise to firmly understand that they rest on the backbone of the people... weaken and break that backbone... and we all fall. Of course, the worst of us will seek refuge in foreign harbors... traitors to the core.
I suppose the whole "give a man a fish... teach a man to fish" concept is too revolutionary for the likes of you. It seems that we're being told to fish without any tools whatsoever... and it's our fault.
Bleeding liberal hearts again, ay? If you sit back smug, self-absorbed, devoid of compassion and kinship of your fellow countrymen... Remember, that bleeding heart in time could very well be your own.
Very good point, Shalyse17! Why should we pay for kids of illegals to go to college. My daughter's boyfriend's roommate is getting a full ride to UCR and his parents are illegal. Why are we paying for someone who's parents aren't paying any taxes and the parents are ILLEGAL!
I know colleges have to accept more out of state students. But, if a student is in the top 10% of their class, they should be able to go to any public college they want to in their state.
Wow, I found out, at UCSB, if you are an out of state student, the tuition alone is over $34000 a year! That's not including room and board and books.They have to pay $22,000 more per year than in state students do! OUCH!
4.0 GPA, class valedictorian, International Baccalaureate courses he should be going to Harvard or Yale. Could probably get a free ride on a scholarship, no matter what school you go too.
Unfortunately, the credentials you mention are a dime a dozen. There must be 10s of thousands of students every year with those credentials. I had a daughter with a GPA above 4.0 who was 60th in her class. Grade inflation has made a 5-point grading scale necessary. The I.B. and "honors" classes give you 5 points for an A in many schools.
I suspect that the student in question went to a school that not only had a 5-point grading scale, but also named EVERY student with a dumbed-down 4.0 valedictorian. (It's pretty common these days.) The article doesn't mention SAT scores, either. I'll bet they weren't that good.
Also, a good liberal arts education helps consumers make better informed decisions, wise economic choices.
Presumably, it helps them figure out that $50K in student loan debt to get a degree in underwater basket-weaving was a really big financial mistake.
But..but..but..football coaches need 4 million a year and..and..
Funny, cut teacher's salaries and raise coache's salaries. That should do the trick.
I don't understand why so many people here and in society push a college education or say stuff like college is what high school used to be. Unless you are in a career that requires a degree, for example an engineer or teacher, they just don't pay. People don't see that it is experence and drive that makes people excel. Yes on average college grads make more than high school grads. But the reason is about skill and motivation not about the degree itself.
I live in the midwest I am 32 years old and I make then most all college grads my age. In fact in my career choices(management and sales) a degree is a true waste since experience matters so much more. I also know a high school drop out who makes six figures. But for every person like us there are 10 in low paying jobs so our group's average is lowered. Would either of us be making more with a degree? I doubt it.
Right now too many college grads go and get a useless degree and come out of college with culture shock when they can not get a good paying job. They have in many cases massive debt and yet they are getting jobs that pay the same as I made when I was in my early 20's(I had my first job at 19). They basically are no better off than a motivated high school grad would be. Some of them are even far worse off thanks to the extreme debt they have. Debt that cab't be removed by bankruptcy.
In my years as a manager I had so many college grads under me making basically nothing who could barely make their student loan payments. And that was in a good economy. I can only imagin how bad it is now for the kids getting out. Even people with real degrees now have problems finding jobs.
Get rid of the state college administrators who operate an admissions policy on the premise that insufficient profit is sufficient reason to deny admission to qualified in-state applicant.
State universities exist to serve the residents of THEIR state. If they are having too hard a time doing that, perhaps they need administrators who are more capable and a governor who will remedy that deficiency before the next election.
Lose the bromide that out-of-staters provide "diversity." They provide cash. Cash can also be provided by paying staff who educate no one.... administrators and coaches.... a heck of a lot less than they think they're worth.
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