Monday, July 18, 2011

Should Mississippi lower out of state tuition fees?

Interesting story in the Wall Street Journal this weekend about North Dakota's success in attracting college students. It seem leaders of that state noticed a drop in population and made a concerted effort to attract out of state college students. The result is a rise in population as 39% of them stay in North Dakota. Read on.

"But college students are flocking here in ever greater numbers. Out-of-state students account for about 55% of the 14,500 enrolled at North Dakota State University, as well as at similarly sized University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. Nonresident students at North Dakota's 11 public colleges constitute a higher ratio than in almost every other state.

High school juniors and seniors scouring online college guides find North Dakota universities are inexpensive and well-regarded, with modest-sized classes typically taught by faculty members rather than adjuncts or graduate students

"I found it online, showed it to my Dad and he was impressed," says California resident Samantha Carlson, who graduated in May from North Dakota's Valley City State University, where her younger brother is now enrolled. For California residents, North Dakota colleges cost about $10,000 a year in tuition and fees compared to about $12,000 in the University of California system.

Many students hail from states far beyond the region. Floridians numbered 182 in 2010, up from 37 in 2000. During the same period, international enrollment rose to 1,600 from 1,125....

This isn't happening by accident. A dozen years ago, a years-long decline in the number of state high school graduates was accelerating. Faced with the prospect of closing academic departments or entire schools, university leaders instead moved to attract more students, particularly from beyond state borders.

The state poured money into improving academics. In the National Science Foundation's rankings by federal research expenditures—a key measure of prestige for research universities—North Dakota State and University of North Dakota each jumped ahead of more than 30 other institutions over the past 11 years, to the 147th and 143rd spots, respectively

However, oil did help:

"While improving its schools, North Dakota kept tuition low. In recent years, state revenues gushing from an oil boom in western North Dakota have given the state more resources to lure nonresidents.

The result: Even as the number of North Dakota high school graduates fell below 7,400 in 2010 from 9,058 in 2000, enrollment at public colleges surged, climbing 38% in the decade ended in 2010, to 48,120. Leading that growth was a 56% jump in nonresident students.

Out-of-state students who have stayed after graduation have helped reverse a decades-long population decline, with North Dakota now on the verge of breaking its 1930 record of 681,000 people.

"For anyone who wants to be at a place on the rise, this is it," says NDSU President Dean Bresciani, the former vice chancellor of student affairs at Texas A&M University. He sees other cash-strapped states as ripe for raids on students, faculty and administrators. "Not to be a vulture about it," he says, "but this is a fantastic opportunity.

A key to attracting out-of-staters was undercutting other states on price.

"The highest-priced public colleges in North Dakota—UND and NDSU—officially charge nonresident students about $17,000 in tuition and fees. That's half what nonresident students pay at many public colleges elsewhere. And it's less than some in-state rates at public colleges in places like Illinois and Pennsylvania.

But as it happens, few nonresidents at UND or NDSU pay anywhere near that rate. That's because North Dakota belongs to consortiums in which it and about 20 other states agreed to charge each other's students no more than 1.5 times in-state rates.

As others raised tuition, North Dakota held its price down. In many cases, North Dakota waived the premium, enabling out-of-staters to enroll full-year for about $7,000, lower than resident tuition in most other states.

Traffic charts of higher-education consortiums in this region show heavy student migration toward North Dakota. In a Midwest student-exchange program in 2009, North Dakota enrolled 557 students from Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska and three other neighboring states, while losing only 39 North Dakotans to the bunch of them.

The payoff:

"The influx of out-of-state students to the school has benefited Fargo's economy. North Dakota research indicates that about 39% of nonresidents remain in the state at least one year after graduation. The city's population has risen to 105,000, 16% higher than in 2000, and an array of defense, medical, computer science and other firms have sprouted along the Red River corridor stretching north to Grand Forks and UND. City leaders say that its image finally is recovering from the Oscar-winning 1996 film "Fargo," which described it as "the middle of nowhere." Article

By the way, only six states have a higher percentage of in-state students than Mississippi (86%). Maybe its time our legislature started seeing out of state students as a potential investment in Mississippi instead of tourists to gouge. Chart. Oh wait, they are too busy trying to run off out of state schools looking to invest here instead of actually bringing in more students. Here is what Ole Miss charges:

Undergraduate Tuition (and Fees) $5,790.00
Housing/Food $8,390.00
Books $1,200.00
Additional Fee for Nonresidents: $9,006.00


Shadowfax said...

Is Kingfish suggesting here that Mississippi should do the same? Jackson State and Tougaloo already attract quite a few out of state/country students to their campuses in the Metro. They are here for several reasons, including free tuition, lower entrance requirements and the demographic recruitment requirements of Ayers. I assume many of these students make a decision to remain although I have no survey to support my assumption.

While here, these students learn a certain historical version of the ills of Mississippi and her 'meanness' and her proclivity toward discrimination and her bad behaviors of the past and present. That's simply part 'n parcel of the education process of all 'historically black colleges and universities'. (If you've ever listened to a professor from either of these campuses for more than five minutes, you know that.)

When I was a freshman at MSU, decades ago, there was a very large contingent of middle eastern students brought into the program through a variety of grant and outreach efforts.

I wonder how many of these out of state/country students have settled here and what, if any, benefit Mississippi has realized.

Frugal Gal said...

Shadowfax, if unwillingness to remain in Mississippi long-term or permanently is to be a standard by which we judge students' deserving of breaks on tuition, then we ought to be cutting WAY back on what we offer the Mississippi kids who score well on the ACT and SAT.

Actually, a lot of people might be happy if we did that very thing. Let's start requiring a minimum "live here" commitment from all students to whom we offer any kind of scholarship or tuition break. It'll be a great way to weed out all those snot-nosed "smart kids" with all their ideas of "doing things differently." Anyone who doesn't want to stay here FOR-E-VER shouldn't get a dime -- let places like Tennessee, Virginia, California, Florida, etc., benefit from those kids' smarts.

(Obviously, this rule would not apply to anyone receiving a football scholarship, because with those kids we prefer to just use 'em up and throw 'em out, anyway.)

Let the inbreeding begin (or, continue)!

bill said...

I think out of state college students are numerous beyond the HBCU campuses, and a lot of them stay here after graduation. However, when you balance that number against the number of Mississippi kids who go elsewhere and stay there after graduation, I'm guessing it evens out some. If we want net growth in population from college graduates, as we should, we need to work just as hard on keeping our kids here as we do on recruiting others. Bill Billingsley

Bill Dees said...

Should we reduce out of state tuition in order to attract more out of state students? Like North Dakota? Here's the telling quote from the cited report: "The state poured money into improving academics." Think that's gonna happen in Mississppi, with its antipathy to public education? No way, Jose'.

Anonymous said...

The University of Alabama gives in-state tuition rates to all residents within 50 miles of UA including Mississippians in Lowndes County and Noxubee County. The University of Memphis waives out-of-state tuition to Mississippians in some North Mississippi counties including DeSoto.

Anonymous said...

Jose' says he likes your public schools muy mucho.

Anonymous said...

Mississippi colleges already do that. Ole Miss has more out of state students than in state.

Anonymous said...

11:27- wrong.

Andrew Newcomb

Anonymous said...

Closer to 60% Mississippi/40% out of state.

Anonymous said...

Out-of-state students have helped Ole Miss' bottom line in light of the declining IHL appropriations. However, a very large majority of those students do return to their home states when they finish at OM. While they are enrolled, they do help support the university & the local community.

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss and State get a lot of students from Texas and other states whose state universities only accept the top 10% of their high school seniors. The others have to look elsewhere. It may be a good idea in the long run to waive out-of-state tuition, but for the here and now, the schools just couldn't afford it without the state kicking in a lot more. That ain't gonna happen. Frankly, my kids go out-of-state just so they'll have a better shot of going elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

11:13. Alabama is freakin expensive for in state. Look it up. Out of sight high.

Anonymous said...

The University of Alabama is $4300 per semester for undergraduate in-state tuition according to Don't know how that compare to MS Schools.

Anonymous said...

I am in the LLM program at University of Alabama now... its the same price for in state and out of state students. Pretty good deal! Of course, I would have gone to an in state program, but there are no LLM programs in State to go to.

Anonymous said...

I am from Alabama and I attended MSU. MSU was closer to me than any university in Alabama. I grew up three miles from the Mississippi state line.

I received a 90 percent out of state tuition waiver for my ACT score, and MSU was cheaper than the University of Alabama for me, but MSU could really attract a lot of the type of student that they like by offering in-state tuition to border counties.

Like a previous poster commented, the Alabama schools have been doing this for a few years. And if Mississippi schools did this, some would stay - I did.

Kingfish said...

I posted the article because I wanted to generate discussion about this idea. If it can stop or reverse brain drain, might be worth looking at and apparently, its working for that state.

Shadowfax said...

Rather than discuss the elusive and often boring concept of 'brain drain', I chose to concentrate on which state is giving away the farm, attracting out of country students for the wrong reasons and simply adding to the number of liberals among us. That would be Mississippi. If, as we are told, it costs a state (tax) money to operate a land grant institution, why should we make it easier on out of staters and out of country students to gain from our largess? Have we discussed the cost of educating illegals yet? (I'll open the floor now to those who only want to sling around words like racist and bigot.)

Anonymous said...

The real crock on all of this is that if O'Bama and Congress pass the DREAM Act, illegal aliens can attend a state school and pay the in-state rate!!

Anonymous said...

Well, we could do alot of things if we'd consolidate and stop duplication. It works. It doesn't change the schools sports rivalry or hurt any institution. The facts one can gather from consolidation in other states is one sidely in favor.
What consolidation DOES do is help IHLs take advantage of economies of scale in purchasing and end duplication so they CAN lower tuition to be competitive. That doesn't mean a state can't have two law schools IF having two is needed.
And, the competition in the junior/community college system is outrageous with campuses within 8 miles of each other. There should , at least, be a 45 mile distance between campuses. A student in Hinds Co has a choice between three junior colleges and multiple campuses. A student in northeast Mississippi has one choice and too far to drive. And, we have tax without representative as a junior colleges board of trustees who are appointed can raise your taxes 17mils a year.

But, school loyalty trumps fiscal responsibility even when doing it wisely wouldn't hurt the schools but would make them better.

Anonymous said...

Wow. I'm a Texan, non-native, who grew up in Illinois and have seen just about all of the US. I have a daughter who is a Senior here who really wants to attend Ole Miss to pursue a Forensics degree. I would say the biggest barrier is the extra fee imposed on non-residents. Risking some more race based comments, I will say I am caucasian and my wife is hispanic. My daughter looks white but is a national hispanic scholar who scored a 30 on her ACT and a 1960 on her SAT. She is being recruited by two other Texas colleges, much smaller than Ole Miss, but have similar Forensic programs. They're also $10000 a year more affordable. One has already given her $24000 in scholarships, making all the more difficult to encourage her to go for Ole Miss.

Programs such as Forensics, I think the graduates go where the work is, rather than blindly return to their home states.

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