Friday, May 7, 2010

Pressure on State Colleges to Serve Their Own

In many ways it is good news that 70 percent of the high school class of 2009 nationwide went on to college. It is causing undeniable capacity issues, however, in the schools long thought to be the good safe choice for students: in-state public colleges.

What's a public state college to do? There are constant reminders -- in the media, by counselors and others -- that out-of-state public schools are worth considering. And they are. Good facililties at a fair price. Also, bringing in students from the outside provides a more diverse experience, different perspectives -- all the things that are a valuable part of the college years. The other important benefit is out-of-staters are charged considerably more, helpful when state governments are cutting education budgets.

But if you read this, you'll understand the flip side issue. Bringing out-of-staters in means in-state kids who'd planned on attending can't get a slot. According to this opinion piece, the University of Maryland reserves a third of its freshman class for non-Maryland students. Towson University, the second largest state school in Maryland, gives 28 percent to kids who hail mostly from New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

That's a blow to parents paying taxes that support these state schools, and to the teens who thought that if their applications were reasonably competitive that they would get in. The upshot is that these teens might be forced to go to a private school (or ironically, an out-of-state public school), at greater financial hardship for the family.

It's ugly out there.

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