Thursday, May 11, 2006

A short article in the Peoria Journal Star today (May 11, 2006, page B3) reveals why it is important to read the complete story.  The headline is “U of I chancellor wants to enroll nonresidents.”

The first two paragraphs of the story declare “The University of Illinois chancellor is defending the school’s decision to try to get more undergraduates from out of the state, saying the goal is intended to make the school stronger—not shut out Illinois students.

‘Let me be clear about one thing: We are trying to create the best education for the students you send us,’ Richard Herman told a group of Chicago-area high school counselors Tuesday.  ‘This is why we are trying as hard as we can to attract the best students we can and those who give us as broad an experience as possible.’”

The article also explains that at the present time 10% of the students are from out-of-state.  The university’s goal is to increase that figure by 50% to a total of 15% of students who are nonresidents.  Furthermore, according to the story, the U of I has the lowest percentage of out-of-state students of any of the Big Ten schools.  The high school counselors rightly understand that any increase in out-of-state students means that those out-of-state students are taking the place of in-state students who will not be able to attend the university.

Then the last two paragraphs seem to reveal the true reason why the university wants to increase the percentage of out-of-state students.  “Herman defended the decision to attract nonresidents, saying out-of-state students pay about $15,000 more in tuition per year than Illinoisans.

‘Multiple that by 100 and what do you get?’ he said.”  There you have it!  Out-of-state students are more valuable as a commodity than in-state students!  Each nonresident student is worth about $15,000 more to the bottom line of the university than each in-state student is.  100 more out-of-state students are worth about $1,500,000 more to the bottom line.  It is money they want.  

If the state is not paying enough to cover the bottom line, an easy way to increase that bottom line without increasing costs is to substitute one out-of-state student for one in-state student.  Presto!  One substitution increases the bottom line by about $15,000.  1,000 substitutions increase the bottom line by fifteen million dollars.  Not a bad increase in revenue without any great increase in costs.  

Too bad it harms the chances of in-state students to get accepted by the university!  It seems the real goal is to increase revenue!          


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