But with an 18 percent cap for out-of-state students, UNC-Chapel Hill remains an exception to the trend.
The share of in-state students at 74 public universities declined between 2004 and 2014. The University of Alabama experienced the largest drop of 36 percentage points. Other schools such as the University of South Carolina, University of California at Berkeley, University of California Los Angeles and University of Oregon, experienced declines greater than 20 percentage points.
Daniel Byrd, director of policy research at the Los Angeles-based Campaign for College Opportunity, said state legislatures are to blame for this change.
“The reason why they’re doing it is because of inconsistent state funding,” Byrd said. “They’re going to try to enroll more out-of-state students to pay for in-state students.”
Since the 2008 recession, he said many states have reduced the amount of money allocated to the universities. 67 of the schools studied by The Washington Post experienced declines — South Carolina decreased by 12 percentage points, and UC-Berkeley by 14 percentage points.
But Jenna Robinson, president of the Pope Center for Higher Education Policy, said UNC-system schools are able to continue their out-of-state enrollment caps because North Carolina spends more on its students than other states.
According to a report from the Pope Center, North Carolina is ranked fourth in the nation in terms of per student expenditures, and 43 percent of the UNC system’s revenue comes from the state.
Robinson said the state pays universities the difference in cost between an in-state and out-of-state student — embracing a commitment in the state constitution to lowering the cost of higher education.