Out-of-state students drive revenue

Some say it’s for moneymaking, others say it’s to diversify. Just in the past few years, UVM, along with other public institutions around the nation, has been gearing up to increase the number of out-of-state students.According to Chris Lucier, vice president for Enrollment Management, the current ratio of undergraduate students is 35 percent in-state to 65 percent out-of-state.However, more than 600 freshmen who have been enrolled over the past six years are Vermonters, an impressive number given the declining graduation rate in Vermont, Lucier said.The remaining incoming freshmen come from out of state, and their tuition accounts for 50 percent of general fund revenue for the University, according to a 2010 sourcebook report from the Office of Institutional Studies. The report also said only seven percent of general fund revenue comes from in-state tuition.Although UVM accepts more out-of-state students, Lucier does not agree that the only objective is to draw revenue from non-Vermonters.”Our model is heavily tuition-driven and out-of-state enrollment is important to us, but it’s also about the type of students enrolled who can endure the academics this University has to offer,” Lucier said.The University also looks for students who provide diversity demographically, ethnically and geographically, he said.Freshman Drusilla White, who came to UVM from an inner-city school in the Bronx, N.Y., feels that UVM is trying to expand its diversity by donating money to out-of-state high schools.”I feel that our school attracts out-of-state students not just to boost their revenue,” she said. “UVM gave my high school a lot of money for me to come here, and I think they are definitely making an effort to diversify.”Like all schools, Lucier said that UVM has a necessary revenue requirement that enrollment relies on for financial aid. Although it is not the University’s solitary objective to draw in out-of-state students, it does have to attract them to support its financial model.According to a 2010 sourcebook report from the Office of Institutional Studies, 67 percent of UVM’s general fund revenue comes from net tuition. This includes undergraduate, graduate, day non-degree and medical tuition.To generate the rest of the revenue, 15 percent comes from state appropriation, 13 percent comes from research facilities and administrative cost reimbursement, and five percent is provided by other sources like unrestricted endowment, unrestricted annual giving and short-term investments.Unlike other state schools that require a certain percentage of their students to be in-state, UVM does not have a similar quota.Richard Cate, vice president of Finance and Administration, said there are two reasons why UVM does not require a quota for in-state students.First, and what he stressed as most important, there simply aren’t that many Vermont students.”We take every Vermont student that is considered to be academically qualified,” Cate said. “It’s not like we close the door when we get to a certain number.”The second reason is that the University wouldn’t be where it is in terms of the investments that it makes if we were charging only in-state tuition. This is the way it works in every other state, he said.According to a report from the Office of Institutional Studies, 34.2 to 38.3 percent of undergraduate enrollments have been Vermont residents over the past 10 years. The rest are all from out of state.Although the majority of UVM’s revenue comes from out-of-staters, this is standard for all universities, Lucier said.”This is just something UVM needs to realize to have appropriate revenue,” he said.