Hugo seeks in-state ratio change

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January 24, 2011

10:31 PM

Del. Tim Hugo ’86 (R-Fairfax) of Virginia is battling to decrease the number of out-of-state students admitted to Virginia’s public colleges. Again.

Hugo recently addressed the Virginia House of Delegates in support of his Higher Education Bill, which would require Virginia colleges to establish a 75 percent minimum ratio of in-state to out-of-state students. Hugo’s five previous attempts each failed to pass in the General Assembly.

“What we are creating is the College of New Jersey, Williamsburg campus … the University of Pennsylvania, Charlottesville campus, and this has got to stop,” Hugo said.

Hugo cited the Kiplinger report that ranked Virginia as one of the top states for best values for out-of-state students. The College of William and Mary ranked fourth on that list.

“The next time some man with a 4.2 gets rejected from William and Mary … just think about all the other kids who are flocking across the border to fill that spot, and the other [Virginia] kids who are going across the border because we are kicking them out,” Hugo said.

According to Hugo’s legislative aide Matthew Simonik, Hugo has been working on this plan for over five years.

“Tim Hugo wants to see more Virginia students in Virginia schools. We have heard countless stories of students with 4.0 GPAs not getting into the school of their choice,” Simonik said.

Opposition to Hugo’s plan has been in reference to revenue.

“Fewer out-of-state students would be the same thing as yet another state budget cut,” the College’s Director of University Relations Brian Whitson said. “The College is already faced with closing a budget gap of $6.8 million in 2012 — a previous reduction by the state that was covered this year by one-time federal stimulus dollars.”

Out-of-state students generate 67 percent of the College’s revenue.

Hugo’s bill would increase tuition charges for out-of-state students to compensate for dollars lost by an institution following the requirement.

Currently, in-state students comprise 68 percent of the student population at both the College and the University of Virginia.

“The number of in-state undergraduates has actually increased by 10 percent since 2000,” Whitson said. “If we did grow at some level, the total number of in-state students would increase even if the percentage of students from Virginia remained the same.”

Norfolk State University, Virginia State University and Virginia Military Institute are exceptions in Hugo’s bill.

The bill has been assigned to the House Committee on Education and Sub-Committee on Higher Education and Arts.

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