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The Daily Tar Heel

Cap and trade-off

UNC officials should at least discuss implications of having the 18 percent out-of-state student cap lifted

The administration needs to seriously discuss the effect the UNC system’s 18 percent out-of-state student cap has on UNC-Chapel Hill.

The Daily Tar Heel recently reported that administrators have no intent to even consider doing so as they craft the University’s new academic plan. There is no reason for this refusal.

This University is relatively inexpensive for in-state students. And because it is also a very competitive academic and athletic institution, the high percentage of in-state students means the University receives a lot of taxpayer money from the government.

UNC-CH shouldn’t have to rely so heavily on the fickle fiscal state of the government for its funding. Allowing more out-of-state students would aid the University in two ways.

First, the University would become more competitive academically. Admitting more out-of-state students might increase the average test scores of the incoming class, giving the school a higher ranking and thus attracting even more high-caliber high school seniors.

It would also bring in more money for the University. Each out-of-state student currently pays more than five times as much in tuition as in-state students do.

Raising the out-of-state cap just 2 percent to 20 percent would bring only a few hundred more students not from North Carolina, but more than $1 million a year just in tuition to UNC.

In 2008, 19.6 percent of incoming freshmen were from out of state, although the University stayed under 18 percent through a scholarship loophole.

It appears that the University desires more out-of-state students than it is legally allowed. This administration should stand up and say the legislature ought the raise the cap.

As the state’s flagship school, they would certainly have a loud voice. Even if their efforts didn’t come to fruition, the dialogue alone would be healthy to current education discussion.

And with the recent departure of N.C. Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, a huge proponent of the cap, the time is right for discussion.

Besides, freeing up money from education could allow legislators to fund other projects around the state.

There is no reason to refuse discussing an idea that could give more money to both the University and communities statewide. UNC-CH administrators should at least begin a dialogue about the out-of-state cap.

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