Eye on Education

Former Miami University President: Recruiting Too Many Rich, Out-Of-State Students Can Be Bad for Your College

Miami University Upham Hall

Billy V / Flickr

Former Miami University President James Garland is credited with helping start “the college arms race.”

He led successful efforts to recruit more out-of-state students, who typically pay higher tuition, to Miami University by marketing the public college as “a kind of elite public university:”

Garland oversaw extensive construction plans, facility upgrades, and a major change in the tuition model that raised in-state tuition to match the higher prices paid by out-of-state students. (That plan eventually fell by the wayside, but the same concept is still floated at some public universities — including, most recently, by a planning group at the University of Virginia.)

But now he’s warning other colleges about the consequences of doing the same.

Gardner says to fix the the problem of rising public college tuition, schools and state governments need to “rewrite the fundamental relationship between the two parties.”

And he tells WOSU’s Steve Brown that recruiting U.S. students from outside of Ohio isn’t always a good thing:

I think that one has to make a distinction between domestic out-of-state-students from, say, Michigan or Illinois, and international students many of whom these days seem to come from China.

I think that the international students if they’re properly integrated into a campus…bring an educational benefit to the campus in terms of the different kinds of lifestyles and social experiences and outlooks that they have.

Domestic students who are non-residents do tend to be more upper-income and affluent students. That has a particular type of influence on a campus which may or may not be desirable depending on one’s point of view.

Listen to the full interview here.


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