Friday, November 12, 2010

I Never Considered Myself Xenophobic, And I Am Not, But...

New Jersey colleges are piggybacking on a federally funded project to gain more international students. The Study New Jersey website provides information about the state's colleges and the forms needed to attend school here. Officials describe it as a way to add all-important diversity to campuses and to create "lifelong friends for the United States."

Before I read further into the story, I knew another critical reason: these students pay the full, out-of-state tuition -- about double what New Jersey students would pay. No wonder we want them. And indeed, that is one reason given for this program.

But that begged another question -- would students paying retail receive preference over New Jersey kids, whose high-property-tax-soaked parents were counting on a break, finally, from the Garden State? In a news article, the Rutgers admissions director "dismissed the suggestion" and said it wouldn't happen since the school has gotten increasingly selective. Not sure that was a real answer to the question. And it seems to me that public colleges need to be sensitive to the fact that they will be receiving more applications from in-state during this tough economy.

Maybe I am shortsighted. Maybe I just don't get it -- after all, I can't believe how much is spent on the Rutgers football program. It will be interesting to see how many international students are attracted to New Jersey's schools.

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