Online textbook sales and rental company ValoreBooks recently took a look at data from the Institute of Education Sciences, highlighting which states were the top importers and exporters of higher education students.
Staying in-state for college comes with significant tuition savings for students choosing state schools, and it provides a level of comfort for those not quite ready to leave the safety net of family and friends. Yet at least two-thirds of first-time, degree-seeking undergraduate students at nonprofit four-year colleges in three states were from a different state.
“While the majority of students stay in-state for college, there are still many who venture across state borders,” report authors said.
Not surprisingly, the District of Columbia pulls 98% of this student population at schools, with at least 2,000 students from out of state. Rhode Island and Vermont follow with 74% and 66%, respectively. New Hampshire (63%) and Delaware (59%) aren't far behind. Notably, all five locations are mostly in the northeast, where going out-of-state is easy to do without going too far from the comforts of home.
In the other direction, Alaska, Texas, and California have the highest percentage of students in the study’s target population staying in-state. In Alaska, fully 94% of first-time, degree-seeking undergrads at nonprofit four-year colleges with at least 2,000 students were from Alaska. In Texas, the percentage was 92%, and in California it was 90%.
State schools in California have turned to recruiting more out-of-state students to bring in additional tuition revenue, and they’ve been criticized for it. The University of California System reported at the start of this school year that 3,400 more out-of-state students were admitted than the prior year, along with 1,000 fewer in-state applicants. But the state’s higher education system overall still shines compared to its peers. Seven out of the 10 colleges with the fewest out-of-state students in the ValoreBooks analysis are California schools.
Colleges with the greatest number of out-of-state students include the following:
1. The University of Alabama
2. New York University
3. Indiana University-Bloomington
7. University of Arizona
8. University of Colorado-Boulder
9. Arizona State University
10. University of Michigan
When it comes to international students, the ValoreBooks analysis looked at a smaller slice of students than the more comprehensive annual report from the Institute for International Education. The ValoreBooks dataset put Michigan State at the top for international student enrollment, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Purdue, New York University, and ASU.
The latest IIE data has NYU at the top, followed by the University of Southern California, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Columbia, and Purdue.
In many cases schools that do well in the US News and World Report annual rankings have the international visibility to pull in high numbers of foreign applicants. Tara Tiantian Cheng, founder of AIE International Inc., which helps international students apply to U.S. colleges, said the academic rankings are, in fact, the most important factor in their college search.
“Their knowledge about American university is quite limited,” Cheng said. “The ranking is the most simple and direct way to help them to know a college.”
High rankings also give international students confidence future employers in their home countries will respect the foreign degrees, Cheng said.
Demographic trends mean U.S. high schools will graduate fewer students for colleges to even consider, forcing administrators to re-think long-term recruitment plans. The ValoreBooks analysis at least highlights the broad trends in student movement.
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