UMass looks to out-of-state students to ease budget crisis
With the projected budget shortfall for the next fiscal year running into the tens of millions of dollars and little stimulus money left for buoyancy, University of Massachusetts Chancellor Robert C. Holub has set his sights on alternative sources of revenue.
During his address at the fifth annual Faculty Convocation on Oct. 2, Chancellor Holub outlined his plan for increasing revenue flow by reaching out to prospective students from outside the Massachusetts’ state lines. Adding that he hoped to attract as many out-of-state students as possible because they pay more than double the tuition of Massachusetts state residents.
“Many state schools of lesser or equal quality are able to support themselves more fully on revenues received from out-of-state students,” Holub said in the address.
He added, “There is no reason that we cannot do the same. We will not abandon our responsibility to students from Massachusetts; indeed, we will plan to keep the number of resident students at the same level. But if we are successful in attracting out-of-state undergraduates to Amherst, we will not only increase our geographical, cultural, and ethnic diversity, but also provide ourselves with a more secure funding base going forward.”
In an interview this past week, Holub elaborated further on how the University will entice out-of-state students to campus.
“We are in the process of enlisting alums to help us recruit students from out-of-state, Holub said. “We are also offering small scholarships to entice them to enroll and are currently in the process of hiring someone to be our new enrollment manager.”
In addition to the increased revenue that will stem from the increased enrollment of out-of-state students, Holub said that he hopes to achieve a more diverse community on the UMass campus.
“Compared to other public schools in the area, such as Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island, UMass has one of the lowest percentages of out-of-state students,” he said. “I think [the addition of out-of-state students] will present us with a more culturally and ethnically diverse campus. It’s a win-win situation.”
However, there is still a major challenge ahead in figuring out how to accommodate these students. With many students this year living in temporary housing in residence hall lounges and local hotel rooms due to lack of space, Holub said the University will have to rethink some of the previous housing restrictions in order to provide prospective students with housing.
“We already have a task force looking into additional housing for new students,” he said. “In addition, starting next year, we will not compel second-year students to live on campus. Previously, we required them to live on campus, but now we will allow them to live elsewhere.”
Staff members have shown mixed reactions to this proposal, including associate professor of biology Randall Phillis, who also serves as president of the faculty union.
Phillis declined to give comment at press time, but in an article published in the Boston Globe he said, “We need to find funding where we can get it, but we have to do so in a way that does not compromise the quality of the education that students receive. Given that we are a public university, we want to assure that quality for our in-state students.”
Cameron Ford can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.