The State University of New York is offering a tuition discount to students from 8 states

Between eroding state support and declining enrollment, public college and university budgets have been hit hard over the past decade. Federal pandemic financial support for colleges has helped, but that money is ending. As a result, many schools are looking for new ways to attract more students and the tuition that comes with them.

In what appears to be an effort to bolster enrollment after a decade of decline, 22 of 64 colleges in the State University of New York (SUNY) system are offering to match tuition and fees at flagship universities. public from eight states.

Attending a public college or university in another state is usually much more expensive than attending one in your home state. State taxes support public colleges, subsidizing tuition, so students pay lower tuition in their home state than someone enrolling in another state. As funding for higher education dwindled, particularly after the Great Recession, public colleges looked to increased numbers of out-of-state students (OOS) to bolster their budgets. Some public colleges, including the University of Vermont and the University of Alabama, enroll more students from other states than their own.

The program uses the state’s flagship institutions as a tuition benchmark to determine what students will pay if they attend one of the participating campuses. The tuition match offer is available to students from the following states based on the tuition and fees of the respective flagship university:

Connecticut: University of Connecticut-Storrs

Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University-University Park

New Jersey: Rutgers University – New Brunswick

Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Vermont: University of Vermont-Burlington

New Hampshire: University of New Hampshire-Durham

Illinois: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

California: University of California at Berkeley

SUNY schools typically charge OOS students significantly more for tuition and fees, but the total varies widely by campus. The quality of the offer for OOS students depends on the SUNY campus on which they enroll. For example, SUNY University on the Albany campus charges over $28,308 for tuition and OOS fees, so a student from Pennsylvania would receive a discount of over $9,000, to bring the tuition at $19,286 that Pennsylvania State University-College Park charges for entry. state undergraduate tuition. The tuition agreement is quite different for a student who wants to attend a place like SUNY’s Oswego campus, where the OOS tuition is $18,679. In this case, a student from Pennsylvania would pay standard OOS tuition because Pen State tuition is higher than Oswego.

SUNY is likely using the tuition match offer to attract students who can’t secure a place in their state flagships, which typically have fairly low admission rates for public institutions or other schools. public and might be tempted to come to a SUNY school even if the tuition reduction is negligible. Matching tuition will also likely attract students who wish to move away from home and who have the financial resources to do so.

SUNY has faced declining enrollment for more than a decade

Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a drop in enrollment as fewer students have chosen higher education for a variety of reasons, including a boiling job market and uncertainty about what to what a college experience will look like, given the COVID restrictions. The declines accelerated existing enrollment declines and were concentrated in schools without the prestige or brand recognition that comes with being a state flagship or an affluent private school.

The total number of SUNY enrollments fell from 468,006 in 2011 to 375,620 in 2021. COVID undoubtedly played a role in these declines but is not the only cause. Population decline in rural areas and fewer high school graduates also play a role. Many campuses participating in the tuition match are in more rural areas of New York, making it more difficult to meet their enrollment needs with students from their declining populations.

Given these challenges, attracting students from other states might be the easiest way to improve enrollment trends on sparsely populated SUNY campuses. God knows senior enrollment managers have a tough job. Another strategy colleges have used in the past is to recruit international students, although COVID has complicated this. However, there are more innovative ways for colleges with declining enrollment to improve their enrollment.

More than 39 million Americans took college courses but did not graduate or graduate. Many colleges have started working on re-enrollment programs to bring students back to college so they can complete their education. These programs benefit schools with increased enrollment and tuition revenue and students who can graduate and increase their earning capacity.

It’s understandable that SUNY is trying to lure out-of-state students with a tuition match, but thinking more creatively about the issue might yield better results. There are only a limited number of students with the financial resources to attend an out-of-state college, and all other colleges and universities try to attract these students. It would be nice to see an institution like SUNY do as much to attract students who never graduated as they do to attract wealthier international students.

About Marilyn Perkins

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