Out-of-State Students

In the news today: student leaders at the University of North Carolina's flagship campus in Chapel Hill say they oppose a plan to allow more out-of-state students in state universities.  And they are right. Currently, the number of non-North Carolinian freshmen is capped at 18 percent.

Some want to raise that to 22 percent. They justify it by saying it would broaden cultural diversity on campus. And there is a ring of truth to that. They say it would probably enhance the academic standing since it would attract students from school systems rated better than the national average. Maybe.

But, what they are really looking at is the bottom line—more out-of-state students mean more money in the till. Out-of-state students at UNC-W pay almost four times what in-state students pay; in Chapel Hill , it's a shade higher than that. They should brush aside those visions of dollar signs, and leave the ratio the way it is.

The North Carolina Constitution is pretty specific: "The General Assembly shall maintain a public system of higher education, comprising the University of North Carolina and other institutions…." Also: "The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of the University, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the state free of expense." That's the dollars they should be concerned about.