- The number of out-of-state students enrolled at the University of Minnesota fell by one-quarter amid two years of tuition increases of roughly 15%, which raised their published rate to nearly $29,000 annually, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune reported. The increase doesn't apply to states with reciprocity agreements.
- Higher tuition for out-of-state students means more revenue to help offset the cost of attending the flagship university for state residents amid a decline in international student enrollment, but competition is increasing among colleges nationally and that's making nonresident students more difficult to attract.
- To address those competing interests, President Eric Kaler has proposed lowering the annual tuition increase to 10%. The university slashed nonresident tuition a decade ago in the hopes of raising its national standing, which worked to triple enrollment of out-of-state students. Its nonresident tuition rate is still relatively low, ranking No. 12 of the 14 Big Ten institutions.
Finding the right balance for nonresident tuition has been a challenge for public colleges and universities nationwide as they seek to maintain enrollment levels and raise their revenue while remaining competitive nationally and affordable locally.
Meanwhile, at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, another Big Ten institution, the number of out-of-state students reached its highest level in 10 years, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. There are about 642 more out-of-state freshmen this year than there were a decade ago, as well as 310 more international freshman and 207 more in-state freshman. The significant difference is due to a strong emphasis by the university on recruiting out-of-state and international students. During the 2015-16 academic year, it began a plan to raise nonresident tuition by $10,000 over four years.
Other colleges are lowering their posted tuition rates to attract nonresident students. Starting next year, Atlanta's Oglethorpe University, for example, will offer out-of-state students the same tuition rate they'd pay in their home state. And several are lowering posted rates for international students as well.
The University of Illinois System is facing a different but bigger problem that shows the effect of these turf battles: decreasing numbers of out-of-state students along with an apparent loss of its own students to colleges in other states that offer more competitive financial aid and scholarship packages.
Illinois recorded a net loss of 3,000 students leaving the state to attend college elsewhere in 2008, a number that swelled to more than 19,000 by 2016, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
A 2015 report by New America concluded that public universities were unfairly attracting middle- and higher-income out-of-state students to "increase their prestige and raise their revenue" by providing them with merit aid that some argue should be supporting students with greater need.