Getting the Right Mix of Students: Finding a Balance between In- and Out-of-State Students

Michael T. Miller, Samuel M. E. Fincher


Public higher education institutions in the United States were founded on the principle of providing low-cost postsecondary educational opportunities to the state’s citizenry. For a variety of reasons, including stagnant and declining funding from many state legislatures, these public institutions have actively sought the enrollment of citizens of other states, sometimes offering deep tuition discounts, and at other times relying on higher out-of-state tuition fees to help balance budgets. The motivations for these behaviors can be viewed differently based on who is looking at the institution, but there are also consequences to these behaviors. The current study was designed to explore the trends and outcomes of this out-of-state student enrollment. Study findings revealed that a number of public institutions have held consistent their out-of-state enrollment percentages over the past decade, but that there are three times as many institutions who have increased out-of-state student enrollment, and that some of these increases have been dramatic. Despite growing out-of-state student enrollment, institutions were found to have no better academic qualifications of their entering classes, and institutions that decreased their out-of-state student enrollment were actually found to have increased the diversity of their enrollment. The findings suggest a strong need for institutions and state policy makers to collaborate in defining what is expected from the contemporary academy and the best way for institutions to be efficient and effective in meeting this defined goal.

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Global Journal of Educational Studies  ISSN 2377-3936


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