The idea of attending a public research university is becoming a case of survival of the richest.
In the past, the advantage of staying in-state at a public research university came with saving money while getting a competitive edge in higher education. This is an opportunity that many low-income and students of color were able to take advantage of.
But now the increase of enrollment of out-of-state students, who have the money to pay the higher fees and tuition, are pushing in-state students out of opportunities at public universities. And as state-funded appropriations decrease, public universities are doing what is necessary to keep their doors open.
A report presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association by Bradley R. Curs, a professor at the University of Missouri, and Ozan Jaquette, an assistant professor at the University of Arizona, found this trend is having a significant impact "on racial and socioeconomic diversity at the institutions."
Inside Higher Education reports:
The paper builds on a previous paper by the two that found that declines in state financial support led to increases in the number of out-of-state students at public research universities, a trend that has been widely documented.
“Therefore, declines in state financial support may negatively affect the state policy goals of socioeconomic and racial diversity through their effects on non-resident enrollment,” the paper’s authors wrote. “Therefore, declines in state support compel public universities act to against state interests of educating resident students.”
The paper’s authors say the finding has significance for state policy makers. “States seeking to increase socioeconomic and racial diversity should increase state support to higher education,” they write in their paper. “Because increased financial support is not feasible for many states, caps on non-resident enrollments may be a means of retaining socioeconomic and racial diversity.”
While most public research university presidents would love to see increased state appropriations, few seem likely to support the recommendation that institutions cap their out-of-state recruitment. In recent years, administrators have argued that given the decreases in state funding and market and political pressure on resident tuition prices, growing out-of-state enrollment is one of the few strategies they have for growing revenue and maintaining institutional quality.
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