Board of Governors member Bill Daughtridge recently voiced exploring the option of raising international student tuition relative to out-of-state residents.
We found this policy proposal at odds with the BOG’s suggestion for a new four-year tuition plan of giving universities greater discretion in setting their own nonresident tuition rates. The idea also, while possibly raising revenue, will have too many adverse effects to merit the proposal being enacted.
The plan makes sense on its face because it seems like an effective way to raise revenue without burdening state taxpayers. It also seems logical because foreign students do not pay state or federal taxes. Therefore, they are not contributing to the subsidies for education that come from the state.
The logic is this: Out-of -state students don’t pay North Carolina taxes but still benefit from the money that the state gives to the UNC-system schools.
To make up for this, these students pay higher tuition than in-state students. Daughtridge explained that this system is what motivated the three-tier proposal.
The BOG is looking for creative and effective ways to increase funds without hurting the people of North Carolina, and we applaud that effort.
However, there is a much broader picture to be considered. Additionally, the logic behind the proposal may be flawed.
The majority of federal funding for higher education actually goes to student aid programs. Not just a majority, in fact: In 2008, about $28 billion of the $30 billion in federal education funding went to student aid, according to the Cato Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based policy think tank.
Yet this aid is only provided to American students — not international ones. It calls into question just how much international students are subsidized here over other nonresident students.