Come upstate, where the tuition is cheap

UAlbany fountain

Engine of population growth?

The state comptroller recently reported that SUNY's out-of-state tuition is cheaper than that of many other states -- and the system could increase its revenue by $340 million if it raised the cost of out-of-state students. That probably sounds good when the state digging through the couch cushions looking for cash.

Wait just a second, says the Rockefeller Institute's David Shaffer. He argues that New York may need those students more than those students need SUNY:

In the absence of strong, dynamic job growth, upstate's economy seems to be caught in a vicious circle -- people leave if there aren't enough job openings; and then declining population hurts economic growth even more.
What's all that got to do with tuition at the State University of New York?
Upstate's best hope for making up its loss of young people may well be the ability of its colleges and universities -- both public and independent -- to attract students from out of state. These colleges and universities are also our key resource for producing the highly educated workforce that a dynamic economy will need.

Shaffer argues that keeping out-of-state tuition low may allow New York to lure back the children of former New Yorkers who have left for states such as Virginia and North Carolina.

SUNY's new chancellor, Nancy Zimpher, has said one of her goals for the system is increasing out-of-state enrollment.


NY's state universities and community colleges are a great value with great faculty and research opportunuties.

A modest increase in tuition would provide the additional resources SUNY needs to continue the work it is doing.

Somebody needs to give Shaffer props ("propers," to Aretha) for choosing "vicious circle" instead of the corrosion-baby "vicious cycle." The first means you paid attention in school (refers to American slave trade economics, or a nasty social feedback loop in general), the second is a misremembered cliché. Or maybe a regionalism, I guess: "My gawd, Tony, wit you an me it's loyke a vicious cycle!"

Okay, fine, they're both clichés by now.

Still, props, and shit.


Shaffer's correct; if you want to attract out of state students to another state's public school, it's foolish to jack the tuition up too much on them. If you want to cut costs/drop tuition on both in- and out-of-state students in order to make SUNY a tempting prospect over their other college choices, that might indeed be an excellent idea. But expecting out of state students to flock to a public university that's gouging them price-wise is absurdly self-defeating. The government of NY has been trying this "jack the prices up and pray for the money to roll in" method of fiscal irresponsibility for most, if not all, of living memory, and it *simply doesn't work.*

The last sentence in Shaffer's comments, "These colleges and universities are also our key resource for producing the highly educated workforce that a dynamic economy will need," seems to imply that these students coming from out of the area will then be enticed into staying upstate after graduation. And really, what is their incentive when these newly-minted graduates can opt to live in interesting and vibrant Northeastern cities like Boston, Toronto, or New York? This very issue was recently addressed out in WNY, as well:

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