Will some of the nation’s top flagship universities turn private?
This question isn’t as wacky as it sounds. Some flagships, including the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia, have explored the idea of becoming private universities.
Sure it would be shocking if state universities ditched their public mandates to serve as educational beacons for their own residents, both rich and poor. And yet, according to an article in The New York Times yesterday, some state flagships are exploring this possibility.
No schools have forsaken their public affiliation yet, but some of the most prestigious flagship universities are turning away more of their own residents. Instead they are accepting an increasing number of out-of-state and international students, who are willing to pay an exorbitant tuitions.
Here are three examples:
University of Michigan: 35% of its students aren’t Michigan residents. The outsiders pay tuition of $35,126 versus $11,848 for residents.
University of Vermont: 74% of students are outsiders. They pay $31,410 compared to $13,554 for Vermonters.
University of Virginia: One out of every three UVA students is from elsewhere. The in-state tuition is $9,627 versus $31,230 for everyone else.
Why are flagship schools favoring out-of-state students? They crave the cash. With state funding shrinking at alarming rates, it’s tempting for state universities to accept more out-of-state kids whose parents won’t hesitate to write big checks.
It’s no surprise then that the University of California, Berkeley has announced that it will be taking more outsiders for its next freshmen class. This was not welcome news out here because students and parents were already freaked out about UC-Berkeley’s low acceptance rate of 22%.