Nicole Bidol

Point: UVM’s in-state enrollment is declining and that’s okay

February 1, 2023

As the spring semester rolls in, many high school seniors prepare to make the first major decision of their lives: what college to attend. For Vermont students, the answer may not be UVM.

UVM’s in-state enrollment is slowly dwindling, but that’s not a bad thing. 

UVM has seen record numbers of applicants in the past three years with a 38% increase from 2020 to 2021. In 2022, UVM received over 30,000 applications, up another 19% from the year before, according to the UVM Office of Admissions.

While this is good news for the school population and the acceptance rate, the number of in-state applications at UVM is decreasing, according to a Feb. 15, 2022 Vermont Cynic article

This is usually painted as a negative situation, but as a Vermonter at UVM, I understand why people are choosing to leave the state.  

Vermont has the highest in-state tuition in the country, paying on average $17,083 yearly, according to a 2022 report by the Education Data Initiative.  

UVM’s in-state tuition and fees before aid is $18,890, according to UVM Student Financial Services

Neighboring college SUNY Plattsburgh had an average yearly out-of-state cost of $18,895 for the 2022-23 year, according to U.S. News. This low price tag is comparable with UVM and is a cost-effective alternative for many Vermonters.  

With college prices continuing to rise around the country, many people will go where they can get the best deal.  

Vermont has also struggled to grow in population in recent years. Vermont hasn’t kept up with the United States’ 7.3% population growth, according to data from USA Facts.  

Since 2010, Vermont’s population has only grown 3.1%, with a large portion of that growth happening between 2019 and 2021, according to USA Facts. 

Only 48.9% of Vermonters continue on to college after high school, according to the New England Secondary School Consortium Common Data Project. Combine this with Vermont’s minimal population growth, and it makes sense that fewer Vermonters are putting on UVM hoodies.

In fact, of the New England states, Vermont has the lowest percentage of students continuing on to college, according to the New England Secondary School Consortium Common Data Project. This could contribute to a smaller number of Vermonters applying to UVM compared to neighboring states.

As many know, there isn’t a lot to do in Vermont. While there is beautiful skiing, rolling hills and picturesque small towns, Vermont can get really boring quickly.  

After years of living in Vermont, the vibrant feel of a big city can be attractive. I’m sure many students from Boston and New York City are drawn to UVM for the opposite reason, finding the mountains and lake very appealing.  

“I feel like I have less opportunity staying in Vermont,” said my brother, Morgan Hurlburt, an accepted student from Vergennes. “Bigger cities have more internships, jobs and the feeling of upward mobility.”  

That isn’t to say that UVM isn’t a great school with plenty of opportunity, but some young Vermonters feel trapped staying in-state and worry they won’t be able to get out and experience the world if they stay in the Green Mountains.  

Many Vermonters, like myself, aren’t a fan of paying high prices for a school that is so close to home. This pushed many kids from my high school graduating class to other schools around New England and down the east coast.  

For the tuition we have to pay, we might as well go somewhere new and exciting away from home. 

If this column didn’t get the message across, listen to “Homesick” by Noah Kahan.

Every Vermonter understands every line in that song, but one especially so: “Spend the rest of my life with what could’ve been, and I will die in the house that I grew up in.”

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