Ohio’s Aggressive Recruitment of Out-of-State Students–Due to Population, or Price?

In Midwest on July 15, 2011 at 11:10 am

Ohio's Report Card: "F" in affordability

Today’s Dayton Daily News has an article on how Ohio colleges are recruiting more out-of-state students. The article explains that universities are pursuing this strategy due to a predicted drop in home grown high school graduates (a 9.3 percent decline) during the next ten years.  I don’t doubt that a reduction in population definitely plays a part in this decision. But I would be curious to hear how much of this push is driven by economics. The article briefly notes that non-native students bring in higher tuition, but otherwise does not explore the issue of cost.

What the Dayton Daily News fails to note is that according to the 2008 National Report Card on Higher Education (the most recent report card), Ohio receives an “F” for affordability of in-state colleges and universities.

Ohio families on average contribute 39 % of annual income for in-state tuition

In fact, Ohio families pay more for higher education than the most states, and “[p]oor and working-class families must devote 57% of their income, even after aid, to pay for costs at public four-year colleges.

Seriously, think about that. More than half of your income to support your child going to college. Unbelievable.

I have nothing against Ohio universities recruiting out-of-state students. But I think they should be entirely honest about their motives. It is unfortunate that administrators are not taking this opportunity to educate the public about how our state’s policies are hurting higher education.  They might note, for example,  that in 1978 over 17 percent of the share of the Ohio budget went toward higher education, while in 2005 it was only 11.7 percent.2  

Slashing revenues has consequences. And you have to wonder if perhaps maybe the decline in population would not be so large if the state invested in institutions that families value–and want to be able to afford–such as higher education.

1The National Report Card on Higher Education, Measuring Up 2008: Ohio (last visited July 15, 2011).

2Policy Matters Ohio, Wendy Patton and Kiel Albrecht, College Bound at 1, August 2005, available at


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