We need the dues

The University of Washington adds more out-of-state students to increase revenue.  This is not only a rational but politically-savvy move.  If parents complain that their honor student can't get into UW but lesser-qualified Oregon students can, perhaps politicians will increase funding.  From Katherine Long, writing in the Seattle Times.

Soon after the University of Washington's acceptance letters for undergraduate admission went out in the mail last month, the rumors started flying at local high schools.

High-school seniors with top test scores didn't get in.

Students who got into more prestigious schools were wait-listed at the UW.

Valedictorians with straight-A's were denied admission, while out-of-state students with lower grades were accepted.

Turns out all those rumors are true.

A series of worsening revenue forecasts and a $5 billion state budget shortfall have made it even more likely that the Legislature will again slash higher-education funding this year. So in February, top academic leaders at the UW made a painful decision to cut the number of Washington students the school will admit this fall to its main Seattle campus and increase the number of nonresident students, who pay nearly three times as much in tuition and fees.

"When the decision was made, it was not a happy one," said Philip Ballinger, the UW's admissions director. "There were real debates, and internal reluctance to the last minute."

The UW has offered spots in fall 2011 to about 5,700 Washington students so far, hundreds fewer than last year. Many more nonresidents — out-of-state and international students combined — have been offered a spot for fall.

The decision is based squarely on economics: Nonresident students in effect subsidize the education of Washington residents, providing a much-needed boost in revenue at a time the UW could see its funding cut by $200 million over the next biennium.

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