Diversity in colleges isn’t helped by out of state costs

Nathan D Sundell, Opinion Writer

College is right around the corner for most seniors in high school. This time can be exciting for a lot of people who are ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives, and scary for those hesitant to leave the nest. But all students have something they’re looking for in their choice for higher education.

For some, it’s how prestigious the college is, if it is a party school or not, affordability, or distance from home. A  growing concern among college students and faculty alike is how diverse the school is.

For many students, diversity is a must-have for any school they consider. Often diversity is a sign of how accepting the school is of all people, and nine out of 10 times larger diversity means the students will find a large diversity of thoughts and life experiences with many of their acquaintances.

Diversity is a very important element for many, and while schools continue to become more conscious of making sure there is a diverse population of students and professors on campus, many hurdles do remain. One more subtle hurdle is that of astronomical out-of-state tuition costs.

While looking for colleges myself, I looked almost exclusively for out-of-state schools. I personally felt, and still feel I need a change of scenery from the suburban midwest lifestyle, an often drab and homogeneous experience to endure for 18 years. I needed something fresh and exciting; at least more exciting than endless plains and scenery that makes Kansas look like Switzerland.

My two picks I was most excited for were University of Vermont and University of Montana, two medium-sized schools in slightly alternative and unique cities. The only problem I could find with these schools is the cost of in-state to out-of-state tuition. The prices were nearly triple that of in-state tuition, and that’s where the problem comes in when it comes to finding new students.

UVM and UMT were perfect examples to show the problem with the tuition disparity. Both Vermont and Montana as states are two of the least diverse states in the nation. For a majority of any diversity in the Universities, they would have to be people from other states. But throwing a huge dent in the plans of any college student in the other 48 states thinking of relocating with a massive amount of debt has led them to be only slightly more diverse when compared to their overall state.

Many people from out of state can’t come close to paying tuition some out-of-state schools charge. This leads to a perpetual lack of change in the makeup of the student body at multiple schools across the country. As diversity becomes a more pressing issue, these policies with tuition could be a nail in the coffin for many schools. 

College is very important for many people, since it gives them skills they will use for the rest of their life. Maybe it’s about time we make it so people can go where they want for college without crippling debt.