Out-of-state students to be rewarded

SIU will soon offer a new incentive to students from outside Illinois to choose Carbondale.

The SIU Board of Trustees voted unanimously to approve a new tuition rate for out-of-state students during its Nov. 8 meeting.

Duane Stucky, vice president for financial and administrative affairs and BOT treasurer, said the rate, known as the High Achievers rate, will offer in-state tuition rates to out-of-state students with a specific ACT or SAT score.

According to the university tuition and fees website, a 26 or higher ACT composite or 1170 or higher SAT score is required to qualify.

Chancellor Rita Cheng said it is the university’s strategy to go beyond the current border state initiative, which offers a lower tuition rate for students in states that border Illinois.

“(It is our strategy) to seek a competitive offer for high-achieving students in areas of the country where we have a lot of SIU alums,” she said. “Our alums have said that our out-of-state tuition, even with the 20 percent discount for legacy, is just too restrictive for them.”

Cheng said Texas and California are two examples of states where students don’t have the best access to education because of population growth.

The university will now recruit more competitively against other institutions that offer similar rates and aggressively recruit high-achieving students, she said.

“Our programs that draw national attention, like our arts program, our aviation, our automotive programs, will likely be the recipients (of the high-achieving tuition rate),” she said.

Terri Harfst, director of financial aid, said the rate is not a scholarship. All students who have the rate qualifications will be accepted at the high achievers rate, she said.

“It’s a recruitment strategy,” she said.

Illinois has a limited number of students, she said, and other states such as Iowa already have high achievers policies.

Harfst said Illinois exports many students to other states, which affects how many choose SIU.

“When you’re facing those kinds of demographics, you’re always trying to get as many students as possible to attend SIU,” she said. “It provides geographic diversity for our students.”

The university wants to draw in as many achievers as possible, she said.

“Higher test scores tend to have higher GPAs, better retention, better graduation rates,” she said. “When you have a high-achieving student in your university, that just does nothing but improve your profile.”

University Admissions is in charge of designating students as high achievers, Harfst said. Qualifying students are coded into the SIU system the same way students in California are coded in as out-of-state students or students in Kentucky are coded in as border-state students, she said.

“When you get a tuition rate, you’re locked in for the next four years by the state of Illinois,” she said.

Out-of-state tuition rates are about two-and-a-half times as much as in-state tuition rates, Harfst said. Fall 2012’s tuition rate for in-state students is $8,169 for 15 hours in the fall and spring, and tuition for out-of-state students is $20,422.

“Obviously, we want as many in-state students as we possibly can get here,” she said. “If there are out-of-state students who want to attend SIU, and that roadblock is the extra money it’s going to cost to come here because we’re charging them out-of-state tuition, we want to try to remove as many barriers and roadblocks as we possibly can.”

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About Karsten Burgstahler

Karsten Burgstahler can be reached at kburgstahler@dailyegyptian.com or 536-3311 ext.255.

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