October 31, 2009 10:01:00 PM
When it comes to the student recruitment game, Mississippi University for Women is too often forced to play with one hand behind its back -- some reasons obvious, some not so.
Obviously, there is its name. Its close proximity to Mississippi State University is another knock.
Mississippi State isn''t going anywhere; that can''t be fixed. The W''s name -- you may have already read that some folks are working on that.
But there is another handicap the school faces, which doesn''t get much attention. It has to do with proximity, but not to Mississippi State: The Lowndes County line is also 50 miles from the University of Alabama.
In setting its tuition rates, The University of Alabama draws a 50-mile circle around its Tuscaloosa campus. Students in counties that hit that 50-mile radius are considered "in-state," where tuition is concerned.
Students in Lowndes and Noxubee counties in Mississippi pay in-state tuition at the University of Alabama.
Now, draw a 50-mile circle around Mississippi University for Women, and you will see that nearly half of the circle is in Alabama.
Yet, students in Pickens, Lamar, Fayette and Tuscaloosa counties in Alabama pay out-of-state tuition at The W.
The difference is huge. Alabama residents who may live only a few miles from The W pay $11,688 a year in full-time undergraduate tuition, instead of the $4,423 that Mississippi residents pay.
In-state tuition for the University of Alabama is $7,000 a year for full-time undergraduates, and $19,200 annually for out-of-state students.
Administrators at The W grumble, and rightly so, that they''d be a far more attractive alternative for nearby Alabama students if they were able to treat those students as in-state residents -- a cheaper option than the University of Alabama, and in many cases, a more convenient one.
We agree. Amid all the fuss and furor over the name change, this is an easy one for the Legislature to get behind. We urge the state College Board and the Legislature to allow The W to use the 50-mile radius rule when determining in-state residency.
Alabama is already poaching our students. Why shouldn''t we return the favor? We may even get an enrollment increase in the bargain -- something The W desperately needs.
No-brainer marketing commented at 11/1/2009 4:11:00 AM:
This is one of the myriad things that the W should have already BEEN doing to increase enrollment. Duh!! Get it together, people!
Slate commented at 11/1/2009 5:58:00 AM:
It's not the W, it's the college board's responsibility of course. Yes, a no-brainer.
TG commented at 11/1/2009 7:52:00 AM:
Draw a 100 mile circle and get with it, lets up them one. someone has been asleep at the wheel.daughter
Thinker commented at 11/1/2009 8:14:00 AM:
Why should MS taxpayers subsidize AL students? Dumb idea when were already hurting for money
Think Like a Retail Store commented at 11/1/2009 7:00:00 PM:
All the Retail stores do it, why not MS College Board. Match plus 10%. So using UofA's cost of $7000, 10% would take it to $6300 for an Ala resident going to "Reneau". Competitive with UofA. and not over priced for a small college like Reneau.
J commented at 11/1/2009 9:48:00 PM:
Once again it is the IHL being regressive instead of progressive. This should have been done in the 90's when U.Alabama changed its policy. In order for any of the state's schools to grow there has to be out of state students to be there to attend as well. Mississippi just doesn't have the eligible population to have the kind of enrollment increases that the schools want and need. Out of state students are not going to pay many thousands of dollars extra to go to a Mississippi school if they can get the same program cheaper in their own state. There has to be some incentive for them to come to Mississippi. Increasing the mile range of in state tuition is a way of doing it.
Limbert for president! commented at 11/2/2009 11:13:00 AM:
Thinker commented at 11/2/2009 11:40:00 AM:
Why not let AL students attend for $1? That way the "W" could see massive enrollment increases. Stupid you say - the W would lose money - it costs more than that to educate a student.
The same argument applies to allowing instate tuition for out-of-state students. It costs MORE than the instate rate to educate each student. The state of MS makes up the difference. I don't want my taxes to subsidize an AL student. Do you?
If the W cannot attract enough instate or full pay out-of-state students to survive then in should be closed. Period.
Thinker Needs commented at 11/2/2009 12:21:00 PM:
to look up "economy of scale" so he/she will understand how increasing enrollment decreases the cost per student. With the proper policies and management the school could actually turn a profit and free the taxpayers. Some Universities do actually make money you know.
thinker commented at 11/2/2009 1:31:00 PM:
I stand by the statement that it takes more than the instate rate to educate a student. If that were not true, MSU, Ole Miss, and USM (with their large growing enrollments) would be making money from their tuition dollars and would not be talking about budget cuts, program terminations, and staffing reductions.
The reason all universities in MS are in trouble is that the funds sent by the state (via the IHL) are being cut. These are funds in ADDITION to tuition. Don't you recall the uproar when the funding formula per student was to be "adjusted" (smaller schools like the W get more per student than the bigger schools; the IHL wanted to equalize funding levels). These additional funds are needed to keep the schools going. Without them every university would have to close.
We simply cannot afford to educate out-of-state students without supplemental funds. For out-of-sate students that equals out-of-sate tuition payments.
Thom Geiger commented at 11/2/2009 7:55:00 PM:
A lot of questions and ideas have been exchanged on the topic of higher education in our state, but the questions have received mostly non-responsive replies and the ideas have dismissed out of hand, without serious consideration.
I am a simple computer nerd, so I mostly deal in numbers; data streams, programming, etc. I have some difficulty understanding how filling an empty seat in a classroom, even at a reduced in-state tuition rate, adds cost to the price of any course- unless additional classes, above and beyond what are regularly scheduled for the year, are necessary. An empty seat provides no return at all, no income, not a cent. So, I'm left to ask and wonder what expenses rise due to a body being in an empty seat in a class?
Body heat has an impact on cooling, foot and vehicle traffic has an impact on infrastructure, more grading for the staff, but where is the REAL expense added to the cost of an education if empty seats are filled AT ANY PRICE?
I'm open to the more intellectually gifted explaining to a simple country bumpkin the mechanics of cost and expense in a modern college education, how the expense of a year's course is divvied up among the seats, all that sort of stuff. Please make answers compassionately simple for those of us having a problem following the topic.
Joe commented at 11/3/2009 12:01:00 AM:
You are exactly right Thom. You want to fill those seats with paying customers because just like on an airplane, the overhead to fly the plane is about the same half full as full.
dan commented at 11/3/2009 5:01:00 PM:
Thom, you are so right!!! If you fill an empty seat with an out of state student who only pays the $4423 in-state rate, isn't that an increase in tuition revenue and very little increase in expense? Provide the out of state fee waiver for up to 100 miles of the border and gain all those folks who graduate from Bevill State and Shelton State?? After all, isn't it more cost effective to teach upper level courses with full classrooms than admit the freshman without any track record when only 25% ever get there???
Thom Geiger commented at 11/3/2009 6:24:00 PM:
Dan, Joe, now that's what I'm talking about...very good ideas and very very simple. I happen to like the idea of trying to bring as many students into the area as possible. I also like the idea about the military aspect.
This might sound off topic, but I remember an article I read one time, about a venture capital group that closed a subsidiary of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate it had bought. According to the press I read, the VCG said the subsidiary simply didn't make enough money to justify keeping it in business; five manufacturing facilities and cleared $15 million net income, not gross. Now I know companies that would kill to see a $15 million net, but apparently the money was too small for the VCG folks. They didn't even make an effort to sell the asset, just closed it down, liquidated everything. I never did understand that one. It kind of reminds me of those empty seats.
I also really don't see why out-of-the-box ideas aren't given more consideration than they are, in public education, business, even the debate about our military conflicts and things such as health care.
Sometimes I think we need to collectively look more to those voices that offer flexible creativity on topics others of us are too rigid or set in our ways to develop ourselves. I'd be hard pressed to count how many times I've tried something I thought was an outrageous idea, only to have it save me time, money and sweat.
2. Birney Imes: Sonny Strickland's labor of love LOCAL COLUMNS
3. Partick Buchanan: Europe's real existential crisis NATIONAL COLUMNS
4. Roses and thorns: 7/5/15 ROSES & THORNS
5. Voice of the people: Pastors call for change of state flag LETTERS TO THE EDITOR (VOICE@CDISPATCH.COM)