In other words, my serious unserious recommendation is that our self serving college leadership should be required to tell it like it really is.
College has become largely unaffordable because college costs are too high. Government "assistance" in the form of direct and indirect government subsidies via state and federal aid, student loans and Pell Grants are the biggest contributors to the ever escalating costs of higher education in America.
And it's getting worse as states have reduced funding due to severe budget problems. But not to worry --- the self serving and ingenious bureaucratic officials who govern our state universities have discovered an additional way to avoid cutbacks in their bloated cost structures.
Here's the deal. To pay for rapidly rising costs in the past, colleges simply did two things: (1) they continuously raised tuition and fees, which (2) in turn resulted in greater state and federal grants and subsidies, and ever higher taxpayer sponsored student loans and federal Pell grants, too.
But now that these institutions of higher learning have been confronted with reduced state subsidies and grants, their straightforward financial solution is to deny admission to qualified in-state students in favor of higher paying out-of-state and foreign enrollees. Administrators, bureaucrats, stadiums and water parks aren't cheap, and cost containment and reduction aren't part of the college leadership's lexicon.
As a result, good old State U. isn't what it used to be.
Tuition and fees for college attendees have long been at least 50% lower for in-state residents than for out-of-state and foreign students. The variable pricing has been due to taxes collected from the families of in-state enrollees. In other words, the state's taxpayers support in-state universities and colleges with their tax dollars. Thus, it makes sense to give in-state students a lower price than out-of-state attendees. But due to the need for additional funds and these higher charges, out-of-state and foreign applicants have become attractive candidates to help good old high cost State U. keep its excessively high cost structure intact. Money talks.
Let's look closer.
Colleges' Wider Search for Applicants Crowds Out Local Students is subtitled 'State Schools Look to Higher-Paying Out-of-State Students to Fill Budget Holes:'
"Last spring, Nicholas Anthony graduated as co-valedictorian of Malibu High School with a résumé that included straight A’s, top marks on nine advanced placement exams, varsity quarterback and baritone horn in the wind ensemble.
But Mr. Anthony didn’t get into the top two public schools in his home state: the University of California, Berkeley or the University of California, Los Angeles. . . .
Mr. Anthony’s experience is an example of an aftershock still reverberating across higher education in the wake of the recession: Qualified residents are getting crowded out of their state universities by students paying higher tuition from out-of-state and foreign countries. . . .
State funding for public universities fell by 23% in real dollars between 2008 and 2013 . . . .
To backfill the billions that evaporated from their budgets, public schools around the nation raised tuition and fees. When public outcry forced them to moderate those increases, scores of universities turned to out-of-state students who pay two to three times as much in tuition as their in-state counterparts.
But that out-of-state windfall is coming at a cost that is now being paid by people like Mr. Anthony: fewer seats for in-state students, even the most highly qualified. . . .
The phenomenon was most prevalent at flagship universities. Nearly 600 fewer Californians enrolled as freshmen at Berkeley last year than in 2008. At the same time, the number of out-of-state and foreign students each climbed by about 500. . . .
To find those out-of-state students, universities are investing heavily in recruitment. In 2002, the University of Alabama employed six recruiters in all. Today, it has 30 looking for out-of-state students alone.
Last year, the freshman class included about 600 fewer students from Alabama than it did five years earlier and well over 1,500 additional students from out of state. This year, the percentage of students from out of state ticked past 50% . . . .
In-state low-income and minority students are two of the biggest losers when flagship public research universities increase out-of-state enrollment . . . .
In California . . . the number of international freshman at UCLA grew to more than 1,000 in the fall of 2012 from just 138 in fall 2008. Last year, the number of freshmen students from other states was more than double what it had been in the fall of 2008. . . .
Even though the number of in-state slots didn’t fall at UCLA, the number of California students applying to the school has been soaring amid a growing population and more students graduating from high school. Resident applications topped 55,000 last year, up from under 47,000 in 2008."
The root cause of college unaffordability today is that its costs are far too high. They need to be reduced dramatically.
For that to happen, government subsidies need to be replaced by student vouchers. Let free choice and the free market decide.
Taxpayers and indebted college students are being taken for a ride by the "educators" and government knows best "leaders."
In-state residents need to be given priority for enrollment at taxpayer supported colleges and universities.
Then if there are remaining slots left to be filled, let the out-of-state and foreign students pay up and attend.
In fact, out-of-state and foreign students' tuition and fees should be raised much higher as fewer available slots will be more valuable. Scarcity rules apply.
That's my take.