the public interest

This article on how (generally flagship) public institutions are faring in economically strapped times made me think a lot about Miami, where I teach.  I believe in-state tuition is the highest out of any of Ohio’s public’s, and about 30% of students come from out of state (and pay even heftier tuition, 26K+room and board).  Everything is covered if your household income is $35K or less through the school’s Access Initiative.  At first I was suspicious at acceptance rates for out of state vs. in-state students, but it was 80% for in-state and out of state is 77%…which struck me as pretty high considering the general academic caliber of the undergraduate student body (39% are in the top 10% of their high school class).

I imagine that there’s some sort of self-selection dynamic going on in who applies to Miami, given the school’s reputation as having an affluent, predominantly White student body, “J. Crew U,” etc.  (On my mind a lot as we wrap up our paper on early admissions programs, issues of habitus, cultural capital, etc.)  The Access Initiative does capture some low-income students, but I imagine that there’s a big chunk of Ohio families whose household incomes hover in the 36-70ishK sector where the idea of paying for a Miami education is beyond reach.

(update) This article on holistic admissions at public institutions speaks to a related issue.  Sounds like what’s happening at Indiana is similar to the admissions trends at Miami.


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