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A tier too many: A proposal to have a three-tier system for tuition would hurt international students and the University

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.

Consideration must also be given to whether or not raising tuition would deter the best students from applying to NC colleges.
Stephen Farmer, director of undergraduate admissions, said he thinks that the demand of international students is highly elastic. Basically, higher tuition at UNC means international students are more likely to attend another, more affordable university.

If he is right, then raising tuition may not only drive talent away, but also negatively impact revenues from international students.

Another question is whether or not foreign students.

Daughtridge noted, importantly, that the impact these students have as well as the effect any increase in tuition would have on the applicant pool is being looked into. But the facts seem rather clear on the issue.

Additionally, the BOG has recently focused on increasing budget autonomy for its 17 campuses. Daughtridge’s proposal seemingly contradicts the sentiments of the recommendations for the next Four Year Tuition Plan.

They strove to give greater discretion to the UNC schools in regards to regulating tuition.

Advocating for more tuition autonomy while pushing specific policy proposals seems strange.

Farmer noted that this budgeting idea shows that the BOG has the right mindset in tackling the schools’ budget problems.

But as the BOG researches the aspects of this proposal, they need to focus on every part of the situation and not just budgeting.

We should encourage the best students in the world to come here, and welcome the diversity and talent that international students offer our campus.

Keeping the best foreign students here to study and conduct research will greatly outweigh any revenue generated by increasing their tuition. contribute to North Carolina during their time here. Are they valuable to the state and its taxpaying residents? There’s reason to believe the answer is yes.

A report by the NAFSA Association of International Educators states that foreign students contributed nearly $280 million on net to the state economy in the 2008-2009 fiscal year.

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This revenue will likely go up. Farmer said UNC has seen an increase in the number of foreign students attending in the last few years