University sees drop of in-state enrollment

  For many in-state students, the University of Vermont is not their go-to college.  UVM has one of the lowest percentages of in-state students for public state universities, said Beth Wiser, director of undergraduate admissions.                   “It’s an urban legend that UVM is trying to keep in-state students out,” Wiser said.  “One-third of our undergrads are from Vermont, but 60 percent of Vermont [high school] graduates go out of state, so it’s natural [that we have a low in-state student percentage].”                   One way that UVM can potentially gain more Vermont students is by offering tuition incentives, she said. Every year, one valedictorian from every high school in Vermont is offered a full scholarship to the University.                   “The valedictorians in Vermont are offered the Green and Gold scholarship, which is a full tuition except for room and board,” sophomore Ashley Richardson said.  “I definitely think the Green and Gold scholarship is the main reason I came to UVM. I was leaning more towards getting out of Vermont, but it was an incentive I couldn’t really turn down.”                   It might be that way for a lot of Vermont students that come to UVM, so I encourage the University to continue giving out this scholarship, Richardson said.                   Some Vermont students said that lowering the cost of tuition for in-state residents might make UVM a more appealing option for Vermonters.                   “I chose UVM because it’s close and cheaper than some alternatives,” first-year Cody Vernet said.  “I think one way the school can appeal more to in-state students is by lowering the tuition, but I know that’s hard to do.”                   The average in-state student at UVM usually pays about $4,000-$6,000 per semester in tuition after financial aid assistance is applied, Wiser said.                     Another potential reason for the lower in-state population might be that UVM is sometimes viewed as a safety school and may seem too comparable to high school for some Vermonters.                   “I think people that apply and get in aren’t actually thinking about coming here because it’s rumored to be easier to get in and viewed as a safety school,” first-year Sarah Vredenburgh said.  “Also, college is supposed to be a new experience so when five or ten kids from your high school go to the same college it’s hard to break out and find out who you are.” Most students that go to college usually choose schools that are within a 500-mile radius of their homes, Wiser said.                   “Students that live outside of the 500 mile radius are those students that have lived in the same place for their whole lives, but for four years they want to spread their wings,” she said.                   Though the Northeast and New England are well represented at UVM, students from other areas said that UVM appealed to them for many reasons.                   “I grew up in Coronado, California and I wanted to try something new,” sophomore Mary Hogan said.  “When I visited the campus I really liked the vibe of Burlington and the people here.  I also thought experiencing the seasons would be a fun change.”                   The West coast has experienced some growth in student population. In 2008 there were 195 total undergrads from the western states. That number is now 237, according to the UVM Institutional Research Website.                   “I think [UVM] has done a better job of reaching out by having a conference in California,” Hogan said. “But one way that could help would be to have students from farther areas go to high schools in their home state to talk to students and to try and convince them that Vermont isn’t actually so cold.”                   The West may have gained more student representation, but New England still represents the largest portion of the student body with 6,611 total undergrads.                    “I came here because the campus is really beautiful,” first-year and Massachusetts native Francesca Cerqua said. “I was also trying to decide between three majors and UVM has all of them, so I can always switch.”