OMAHA, Neb. — Some Nebraska colleges are offering tuition discounts to students from other states in the hopes of filling classrooms, balancing budgets and expanding programs.
The pool of new high school graduates in the state isn’t expected to grow much in the short term, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
Stagnant or declining state funding and population decline are two trends that will challenge enrollment and aren’t expected to go away anytime soon, said Thomas Harnisch of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
Some schools are offering nonresidents lower tuition rates with the hope of boosting enrollment.
Peru State University has been offering in-state tuition to out-of-state students since 2009.
The University of Nebraska at Kearney will offer Colorado and Kansas students who meet admissions requirements resident tuition next school year. The university’s student recruitment from those states has dropped considerably since 2012, said Ed Scantling, UNK’s associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.
University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds said enrollment is important to the university’s budget and encouraged university leaders to find bold and innovative ways of attracting students, Scantling said.
“We felt we have to reach a little further to find kids,” Scantling said.
The Midwest Student Exchange Program has offered nonresidents a rate of 150 percent of resident tuition at participating public colleges in 10 states. Many Nebraska institutions participate in the program, which has been operating for about 25 years.
While Iowa doesn’t participate in the exchange program, the University of Nebraska at Omaha has been offering Iowa students that rate since 2008.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln hasn’t drastically lowered out-of-state tuition, said Amber Williams, an assistant vice chancellor. The university would rather use scholarship packages to attract out-of-state students, she said.
“We try to look at each student individually and look beyond the numbers,” she said.