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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Ind. Gov't. - More on: "A boom in foreign undergrads is shoring up the finances of America’s flagship universities, but at a price" [Updated]

Updating this ILB post from June 1st, this lengthy, absolutely fascinating story today by Joesph Paul, in the Lafayette Journal & Courier, is headed "Purdue tuition freezes squeeze out IN students." Just a few quotes:

Since tuition rates were frozen at 2012 levels, 1,228 fewer undergraduates from Indiana attend the West Lafayette research institution, while 336 more non-residents attend the campus, according to the university’s data digest.

Over the past decade, the land grant university has transformed from a majority-resident campus to one that now enrolls more out-of-state and international students. * * *

It’s no secret that out-of-state and international students pay much more to attend Purdue — think the equivalent of private university or Ivy League tuition. And as those applications grow, Purdue can select from the wealthiest, most talented students across the globe. Meanwhile, in-state students have ended up competing for fewer spaces on the prestigious West Lafayette campus. * * *

In the past seven years, Purdue slashed 4,614 spots for resident undergraduates and added 2,108 spots for non-resident undergraduates. At the same time, Indiana University increased the number of residents and non-residents seeking undergraduate degrees by nearly 200 and 1,000, respectively, according to the university’s enrollment reports from 2008 and 2014.

During that time frame, Purdue reduced its share of in-state undergraduates by 10 percentage points, from 65 to 55 percent. IU’s share fell 1.7 points, from 63.2 to 61.5 percent, said David Johnson, IU’s vice provost of enrollment management.

In June, IU’s Board of Trustees voted to freeze undergraduate tuition for the next two years, according to the Associated Press. Johnson said in an email that he doesn’t anticipate the tuition freeze to significantly affect enrollment.

“At IU Bloomington, we are looking to hold relatively flat the number of non-residents we are seeking to enroll this fall,” Johnson said in an email.

Public universities are increasingly becoming “bastions of privilege,” Stephen Burd, a senior policy analyst for the New America Foundation, said in a report titled “The Out-of-State Student Arms Race.”

In a study of 424 public four-year colleges and universities, Burd found nearly half — including Purdue — provided merit aid to at least 10 percent of freshmen who had no financial need. He also found the institutions most entrenched in the practice tend to enroll more non-resident students than residents.

In other words, universities are using money that traditionally went to those with a financial need, Burd said, to entice their highest paying prospects to attend their school. The practice is becoming more and more pervasive nationwide, he noted.

“The search for additional money and the search for more prestige has led to schools looking for more out-of-state, for more affluent students,” Burd said in a phone interview. “And so my big worry with all of this is that you’re not only disadvantaging in-state students but probably the most vulnerable of them with fewer seats left over for lower-income, working-class students. ... (Universities are) spending huge amounts of merit aid on these affluent students so there’s less money for students from lower-income backgrounds.” * * *

Non-resident students comprise the majority on Purdue’s campus as a whole, accounting for 52 percent of the combined undergraduate, graduate and professional student population. In fact, Purdue enrolls more international students than any other public university in the country, according to a report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. * * *

“Purdue is becoming an institution of first choice for a lot of non-resident and international students,” said Teresa Lubbers, Indiana commissioner for higher education.

Purdue’s trend is one Lubbers has watched closely as Indiana attempts to build a highly skilled state labor force. Although about 65 percent to 70 percent of Indiana students who apply to Purdue are admitted to the West Lafayette campus, they have had more trouble getting into some of the university’s most selective, sought-after programs, such as engineering.

[Updated 8/4/15] See the chart in this summary from the Indiana Economic Digest.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 2, 2015 04:34 PM
Posted to Indiana Government