Skip to comments.Legal Question About "In-state" Tuition Rates
Posted on 02/10/2003 12:45:28 PM PST by ml/nj
I was just reading an article about in-state tuition rates for "illegals" in the UVa CavDaily. Can you believe the author argues for in-state rates for "illegals"?!! UVa usually produces sounder minds, and today one of those replied.
Some may be interested in this exchange for its own sake. But it brings to mind a question I've never seen a good answer for. That is: How is it legal these days for a State to charge one tuition rate for in-state students, and another rate for students from other states? Before you make the knee-jerk answer that the in-state resident has paid taxes that helped to fund the State University, consider:
Do you think it would be legal for the New Jersey Turnpike to charge a higher fee for out-of-state vehicles that use the road than it does for NJ registered vehicles? How is tuition for Rutgers any different?
The overwhelming majority of persons who attend a State University are young people who have paid virtually no taxes because they have had no significant lifetime income.
Well, duh. They don't usually pay their own tuition, either. It is their parents that pay...and it is their parents that have paid the taxes (in general.)
Actually more kids pay their own tuition than you might think. But it hardly matters whether I pay my kid's tuition. His/her name is on the bill. He/she benfits, and I do not believe I have any legal obligation to pay the bill.
(And thanks for avoiding the Turnpike part of the question.)
No, actually, if it was up to me, the in-state drivers would pay more because they will USE it more.
Instead of looking at out of state students getting stiffed by attending state schools, look at the tuition disparity as an incentive for local students to stay in-state for higher education.
New Jersey spent a lot of money (for better or worse) educating the children of New Jersey, and would like to see a little return on that investment. In theory, students who get educated in New Jersey would be more likely to find jobs in New Jersey and start contributing to the economy and tax base of the state, so the state partially subsidizes the tuition of New Jersey students to entice them to stay local and get a college education. If that child leaves New Jersey, chances are less that he'll come back to New Jersey (Lord knows I wouldn't). I don't know if that is the actual reasoning, but it makes sense to me.
Do you have any idea?
I do. My daugther graduated from UVa a couple of years ago. I still go back to visit and sit in on classes. I hear what the kids are saying. I read the paper pretty regularly. (Sometimes the stuff is so good I post it here.) The first Prof there I met (before my daughter started) was the advisor to a libertarian group and I asked him about political correctness there. His answer was that it existed, but that it was much less of an issue than at most other top ranked schools. My own observation would indicate to me that he was right on the mark.
I know it's not your opinion, but didn't states have a (very) "legitimate state interest" in maintaining residency requirements for providing benefits such as welfare payments?
One, that rears its head in the West where private colleges are scarce and competition keen among state universities, is that admissions officers come under intense pressure from financial officers and Boards of Regents to accept more out-of-state students. It costs exactly the same to let a student from in-state sit in class, but the out-of-state student pays twice or three times the tuition. That's more funding for salaries, hiring more TA's, sending out catalogues to high school seniors in Michigan, etc.
The infallible logic that often accompanies answers to questions such as you raise goes along the lines of, "This is a state institution of higher learning intended to benefit the residents of the state. Everybody gains when our population is educated, so it stands to reason that we need to make our tuition affordable to all who live here. To keep tuition low, we have to charge more for students from out-of-state who, when they graduate, will likely go back home and not boost our economy."
I believe from the way you've answered other challenges on this thread you are capable of seeing the holes in that piece of Swiss cheese.
The reality is state universities (less so, junior colleges and community colleges) are money-making enterprises whose dedication to teaching our kids is secondary to their desire to build an academic empire whose budget grows even as student population shrinks. They for the most part absolutely love out-of-state students who they see as an exploitable resource. And to think, their parents can't vote for regents or members of the legislature, so registering a complaint won't go very far.
My solution is a bit radical, but altogether practical. Sell off the so-called land-grant colleges, along with the teachers' and "A&M" colleges, and let them raise tuition to the level of the competion. These colleges are no longer acting in the best interests of the majority of the population, who couldn't afford even the housing and meals if the tuition were waived. Giving in-state students a break is false economy, since it has to be made up somewhere else. They are basically elitist institutions anyhow, so go the rest of the way and privatize them.
Leave the community colleges, where faculties don't demand sabbaticals and administrators don't get six-figure salaries. These are the schools where I would send my kids if I were doing it over again. No sports, no fraternities, none of the temptations that sidetrack up to 1/3 of students in their freshman year and who consequently don't finish. Their costs are low and most students appreciate that, even if the parents do pay the bills.
Probably the greatest advantage of community colleges is the quality of instruction, which in certain fields (business, for instance) can be superior to universities whose teaching faculties are largely inexperienced in the real world.
Well, almost whatever they want.
I am certainly in favor of letting states charge whatever they want, and to have different fees based upon almost any criteria they want to use. But given the gang that is in charge I don't understand how they get away with it.