Policy Analysis and Research

Nonresident Student Enrollments and Their Growing Role in Paying for Public Higher Education

Author: 
WICHE Policy Analysis and Research
Policy Insights Cover
Description: 

As states and postsecondary institutions confront ongoing concerns about their fiscal health after a brief post-recession respite, colleges and universities across the nation are once again making their recruitment pitches to prospective students. Increasingly, public institutions are aiming these appeals well beyond their home states’ borders, in part because nonresidents (including international students) typically pay significantly more tuition than resident students. Although this has always been true, two converging pressures are giving colleges far stronger incentives to attempt to attract those students: changing demographics that have produced a stagnant or shrinking pool of traditional-age student populations, and the rising importance and predictability of tuition revenue relative to recent patterns of declining per-student state appropriations. As recruitment of nonresident students intensifies, policymakers have devoted considerable attention to the relative proportion of nonresidents in universities’ entering classes, especially the most selective flagships where concerns over the possible crowding-out of residents are paramount. But in spite of a growing awareness of how important nonresident tuition payments are to institutional bottom-line funding, there is little attention given to out-of-state tuition in finance policy. So it is unsurprising that there is not much information available to policymakers to help them better understand just how important residency is in the funds that institutions derive from tuition. This Policy Insights reports on the results of a brief survey of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) states that attempted to gather data on tuition revenue broken out by students’ residency. The survey revealed that few state higher education executive offices in the West have the data necessary for this analysis. Among states that were able to respond, it is evident that nonresidents are an increasingly vital source of unrestricted revenue for some institutions’ operations. This suggests that better information about the sources of tuition revenue can lead to a more complete understanding of institutional funding. That more complete picture can ultimately better inform dialogue that fits with the principle of recognizing all three primary sources of financial support for higher education – appropriations, tuition, and financial aid (ATFA) – as a single set of interrelated tools, rather than as a disconnected set of policy levers. Residency, in the context of ATFA, is an important element to consider as policymakers attempt to find ways to preserve or improve college affordability.

Year published: 
2 017
Month published: 
6
File size: 
345 KB

Fewer Students, More Diversity: The Shifting Demographics of High School Graduates

Publication cover
Description: 

WICHE’s 9th edition of Knocking at the College Door: Projections of High School Graduates, released in December 2016, describes substantial demographic changes among U.S. youth for the next 15 years with critical implications for higher education, including:

  • How might states, colleges, and universities adjust (or reconsider) duplicate or undersubscribed programs as college-aged populations flatten or (as in the Midwest and Northeast) even shrink?
  • As minority high school students move toward being the majority (by the 2030s), are higher education institutions fully prepared to support racial and ethnic diversity, student success, and programming oriented toward shifting populations? 
  • With college-age populations growing in Southern states more than other regions, how might interstate migration and resident/nonresident tuition-setting be affected?
  • Are Western colleges and universities, used to inexorable population growth, prepared for a new reality?

These and other potential implications are suggested by the first edition of a new WICHE report series, Data Insights, titled, Fewer Students, More Diversity: The Shifting Demographics of High School Graduates. This is the first of several 2017 WICHE publications that will drill down on data highlights from the 2016 edition of Knocking on the College Door, the quadrennial WICHE publication that reflects the most complete available snapshot of U.S. college-age demographics.

I hope you find Data Insights valuable as you consider how best to navigate an ever-shifting landscape for higher education. I invite you to visit knocking.wiche.edu for the original Knocking on the College Door report, state-by-state data that allows you to compare your localized demographics with those of peer states and regions, and other WICHE policy and research work that provides valuable insights and distinct context on critical issues facing higher education. 

Year published: 
2 017
Month published: 
7
Print publication number : 
2A5000A
Number of pages: 
8
File size: 
1,431 KB

Tuition & Fees in the West 2016-17

Tuition & Fees in the West 2016-17 Cover Graphic
Description: 

WICHE's Policy Analysis and Research unit has released a new Policy Insights summarizing our most recent survey of published tuition and fees prices in all public institutions in the West in 2015-16, state budget levels, higher education appropriations, state financial aid programs, college affordability and related college finance topics and news.

Download files:
The Policy Insight summarizing the trends (May 2016)
Chart slides

The detailed tuition and fee rate data that are summarized in this Policy Insights brief are available here on the WICHE web site: http://wiche.edu/pub/tf, in PDF and Excel file form.

Year published: 
2 017
Month published: 
5

Student Migration: Relief Valve for State Enrollment and Demographic Pressures

Policy Insights cover
Description: 

Many states confront simultaneous enrollment and fiscal pressures. Some states
have or are forecasted to have too many students while others face the opposite
problem. In the face of these challenges, student migration should be examined as
an appropriate and viable policy tool.

Helping students migrate between states that face opposing enrollment problems
makes sense. Students already migrate between states in large numbers and
several regional and/or national programs exist to facilitate such migration. Such
programs are growing in popularity. Research on student migration points to
several factors that should play an important role in policymakers’ decisions to use
such programs to facilitate migration, particularly given the projected growth in
states with large numbers of underrepresented students.
 

Year published: 
2 005
Month published: 
5
Number of pages: 
6

Knocking at the College Door

Author: 
Peace Bransberger
Knocking at the College Door, Projections of High School Graduates, 2016
Description: 

Projections of High School Graduates, December 2016

After steady increases in the overall number of high school graduates over the last 15 years, the U.S. is headed into a period of stagnation. WICHE’s projections indicate that the number of graduates in each graduating class will average around 3.4 million through 2023, before peaking at 3.56 million prior to 2026. At the same time, the number of high school graduates from private religious and nonsectarian schools is projected to decline.

Additional notes: 

Download the report and projections data, print State Profiles, and learn more at knocking.wiche.edu.

Year published: 
2 016
Month published: 
12
Print publication number : 
2A366
Number of pages: 
160
File size: 
3,546 KB
Weight on Page: 
2

A Tale of Two Economies: 2016 Higher Education Legislative Activity in the West

2016 Policy Insights Cover
Description: 

In 2016, there was an increasingly dramatic divergence between state economies in the West. Most states in the region benefited from an ongoing economic recovery, but states reliant on the energy sector for tax revenues were hit hard by the global decline in oil prices. This resulted in varying budget situations in legislatures across the West – outlined in this Policy Insights – with certain states dealing with significant cuts to higher education while others were in a position to make a wealth of new investments. Despite the region’s varied economic outlook, common themes did emerge. These included a focus on affordability and accelerated learning options, continued support of military-connected students, investing in evidence-based student success initiatives, and proposed solutions for addressing teacher shortages. The brief concludes with a section on issues to watch in the region, ranging from data privacy to guns on campus.

Year published: 
2 016
Month published: 
11
Print publication number : 
2A40016E
Number of pages: 
8
File size: 
237 KB

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