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With Rising Tuition in California, Out-of-State Colleges Becoming a Viable Option

With the cost of college in California continuing to rise, students and parents were at Dougherty Valley High on Tuesday night to hear about the possibilities out-of-state.

One-by-one, college recruiters from Hawai'i to Vermont stood in front of college-bound students and their parents at on Tuesday night.

They gave quick 30-second pitches, touching on a couple strengths of their universities. Some emphasized the school's location (Seton Hall, 14 miles from New York); some talked about the school's specialty (Bennington College, liberal arts); a couple bragged about the strength of their athletic departments (Syracuse); one mentioned that the dorms had memory foam mattresses (Saint Louis); two stressed they were really easy to be accepted to (University of Nevada, University of New Mexico).

But, what would have been almost unthinkable just a couple years ago, none of the more than three dozen recruiters were representing California universities.

As tuition at University of California and California State Universities has steadily increased over the last decade, the financial incentive for California students to stay in-state has become less appealing. The college recruiters, which are part of the Regional Admission Counselors of California organization, said the average cost to attend UCs is around $31,200 a year, for CSUs about $22,000 and for out-of-state schools about $27,000.

But not only are the out-of-state schools becoming appealing to students, universities from around the country want Californians walking on their campus. Many of the universities are offering scholarships just for students that are from California.

"For us, we want to improve our diversity on our campuses," said Ed Devine, who was the main speaker at the fair and a representative for Hawai'i Pacific University. "With so many kids graduating from California high schools and the budget problems in the state, it gives us a chance to bring some exceptional students to our universities."

It was the first time Dougherty Valley hosted an out-of-state college fair and nearly all of the 400 seats in the Commons Gym were filled. Students from Dougherty Valley, , , , along with students from outside the immediate area, attended the fair.

"I'm very pleased with the turnout," said Jill Schratz, the Career Center coordinator at Dougherty Valley. "I thought the presentation was informative and it gave people a chance to pickup information on the schools at the booths."

Jeff and Marie Anderson were at the fair helping out their son, a Cal High junior, scout out schools and said they thought going out-of-state was a viable option.

"It's a reasonable solution to the rising costs in the state," Jeff said.

"Going out of state can be expensive too, traveling back and forth, but a lot of these schools offer great scholarships for students from California," Marie said.

One student carrying a handful brochures was Parker Newton, a student at in Dublin. He wants to study computer science and after talking to some of the recruiters, he was excited about possibly going to Drexel, Purdue or the University of New Mexico.

"I think it's good to get out of the protective shell of California," Newton said. "There are great opportunities in the state too, but I want to see a different part of the country."

Raleigh February 02, 2012 at 03:17 PM
One of the best programs around is Western Undergraduate Exchange, WUE http://wiche.edu/wue. California and other western states have a consortium where students can attend other states’ universities at a reduced cost. It can be a great college option for some families. Currently, California has a very high percentage of the population that is college age, and its college space is very much in demand. Other states have gone to the great expense of building universities and currently have space available at these universities. (This is a case of state governments pooling their resources to save tax payers money!) This program, only available at some state universities, is a win-win since it allows CA students to attend college at a reasonable reduced cost and fills other state universities. The program also exposes the student to the different ways of life and culture in place like Hawaii, Alaska, Montana, etc. and provides more diverse options (i.e. hospitality in Las Vegas and cold weather engineering in Alaska)
Kim Lonie February 02, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Our son chose State Univ. of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He chose the school because of its outstanding education and reputation, it is the premier school in environmental studies. When he told us that was his choice we were concerned about tuition costs as well, however, when we compared it to Humbolt State it was pretty close to the same. The big difference is that at Humbolt, he would not have graduated in 4 years because of cut backs, so that increased the costs. Also, at ESF, all the courses are 100% Professor taught. Also, ESF is in a partnership with Syracuse Univ. and all the ESF students can take courses and take advantage of all that SU has to offer. My suggestion for any parent and student, is to not only look at tuition, but the school as a whole. Look at their retention rate from Freshman to Sophmore, and their graduation rate. Look at the overall life on campus, are they concerned about education or is it going to be an expensive 4 year party that will leave you in debt, with no job. The most important thing to think of is whether or not it is a good fit for your son or daughter. Support them in whatever decision they make and don't push your wants onto them.
Terry Parris Jr. February 02, 2012 at 08:52 PM
Kim: Can you explain what you mean when you say he wouldn't have graduated in four years because of cuts. It's an interesting topic. I just recently had a discussion with someone about that very thing.
Kim Lonie February 02, 2012 at 10:02 PM
Terry, Due to the State Budget cuts, a large amount of instructors are being laid-off, thus reducing the availability of many of the courses that the students need. Because of the reduction in available course, many students are being forced to extend their college careers an extra semester or even one full year. one of the prime examples would be the JC's. If you ask any student there, many of them are not getting their AA or enough credits in 2 yrs to transfer to a 4 yr school. Due to increased costs of tuition across the board in California, most are looking at at least 5 yrs, possibly 6 before they graduate. As I stated above, increase the amount of time needed to get the courses required to graduate and your total college costs go up.

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