In State Tuition for Non-Citizens Again
A panel of the Governor’s Board of Higher Education has recommended that Rhode Island offer in-state tuition to non-residents of Rhode Island. If you’re not a US resident or citizen, is it possible to be a Rhode Island resident, by the legal definition? I guess according to the Board of Governors, you can.
Even more interesting, the fact sheet from the Board of Governors says that there will be no extra cost to the taxpayers, but will actually lead to additional revenues. I honestly don’t see how this can be a true statement. Looking at the costs of one semester’s tuition at URI, I see:
When I see that difference (per semester), I ask why? Why is there that difference? Is it because $25,912 is the true cost of educating a student at URI? If it is, where does the remaining $16,000 come from? Don’t the taxpayers make up that difference through the support the school gets in the state budget? So if you add more in-state students, you increase the cost to the taxpayers. The fact sheet also claimed this change would add approximately 31 extra students to the state college system. If all 31 of them attended URI (a very unlikely scenario), that is an extra half million dollars that needs to be paid. Not only that, the fact sheet claims there were currently 74 undocumented immigrants attending Rhode Island’s state colleges and paying out of state tuition. If we give them in-state tuition and also figure they all attend URI, that is an extra $1.2M. So this change could, in a worst-case scenario, cost the state an extra $1.7M for one semester or $3.4M for the academic year.
Going back to the table and seeing that $16,088 difference between in-state and out of state tuition, if that $25k number isn’t the true cost of educating a student at URI, then is the $9,824 the true cost? If it is, then why do we charge out of state students an extra $16,000? That would results in millions of dollars of profits for URI for all those out of state students.
I don’t know of any other possibility. One of those numbers is the true cost of educating a student for a semester at URI. I believe the first scenario is far more likely to be true, which makes me extremely skeptical of statements that there is no extra cost to the taxpayers.