Tuesday, February 24, 2009

State Schools for Students from the State

When my daughter, now a freshman at George Mason University, was considering her options for colleges, we were surprised to learn that outstanding students from our own state (Virginia) might have a tough time getting accepted into its premier four-year institutions, in particular the University of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, and Virginia Tech. As a recent Washington Post article points out, our state representatives have finally noticed and are considering what they can do to improve the opportunities for Virginia high school students with exceptional academic credentials for acceptance in public colleges and universities closer to home.
It is hard for anyone to justify to me how, when all things being equal between two applicants, one from in-state and one from out-of-state, to UVA that the student from out-of-state would get the nod simply because they would provide the school with more income due to the higher tuition rates.
"We are opposed to a specific hard cap, particularly when the budget is the way it is," said Fran Bradford, associate vice president for government relations at William and Mary. "To take away that source of revenue and, frankly, to take away some of our finest students is a little bit of a challenge."
Now, I know that the schools have to be concerned with ensuring they have sufficient funds to operate, but the above comment clearly indicates that the school administration is more concerned with revenues - the schools are turning away some of their finest students for the sake of cash flow. Hopefully, the Virginia legislature will be able to level the playing field in order to permit Virginia's finest students the opportunity to benefit from the exceptional educational institutions in their home state.

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