Good news for out-of-state students looking for a higher educational experience more cost-efficient in the Big Easy: The University of New Orleans has rolled out a new proposal to reduce the tuition fee by 40 percent for out-of-state students.
This has potential to improve enrollment at UNO, and, in theory, could slowly bring back the pre-Katrina enrollment numbers the university once held.
This idea to reduce out-of-state fees, spearheaded by the new administration at the university, has been in the works since fall of 2016 and flourished into a fully fledged proposal that went before the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors on Thursday, Feb. 23.
“Our new proposal does not waive the fee. Our proposal reduces the overall tuition and non-resident fee by 40 percent.” Adam Norris explained, UNO’s chief communications officer.
“We did this to be more competitive with our peer institutions in the eyes of prospective students and families, both in-state and out-of-state.”
It is unclear at this time to what extent the proposal affects out-of-state online students. Currently, online students from out-of-state pay in-state tuition as well as a UNO Extended Campus fee not applicable to on-campus students.
While this is not a complete waiver of the fee, the non-residential fee will be adjusted so that a significant amount will be reduced.
“We are proposing that our non-resident fee be reduced so that the overall tuition and non-resident fee totals 60 percent of the previous cost–a 40 percent reduction.”
Norris said the proposal is dual-purpose: to boost enrollment and to offer a more cost-effective platform for prospective out-of-state students to reach their higher educational goals.
Before Katrina, UNO boasted a campus of over 16,000 students, but that number has since dwindled to just fewer than 9,000 students enrolled—although the university has been seeing a steady enrollment increase in recent years.
“This is part of an effort to grow enrollment and provide access to higher education to a wider population,” Norris explained.
In lieu of the popular scholarship program, TOPS, being slashed and statewide budget cuts plaguing higher education, this move by UNO may offer a silver lining for current and prospective in-state and out-of-state students wishing to continue their education at the university.
Emily DiGiovanna, an out-of-state student from Long Island, New York, knows a thing or two about losing sleep over night about financial matters when it comes to paying for school in-state. “It’s a lot [of money] when you consider that it’s just because I live in a different state. It wasn’t something that I realized too much until I started look at my finances.”
DiGiovanna transferred to UNO in the fall of 2015 and planned to finish her degree at the university, after attending a few colleges in upstate New York. “I’m here to learn. Just because I’m from a different location doesn’t mean I should have an extra $8,000 on my tuition.”
“I was originally from New York … they did not have the program I was looking for, so I had to come down here and pay the out-of-state price,” DiGiovanna explained. “Even if I had gotten some scholarships, it didn’t cover my out-of-state fee.”
DiGiovanna’s education is largely supported by student loans and some financial assistance from family. However, student loans do not exactly cover cost-of-living and travel expenses associated with out-of-state education.
“That was an extra financial burden … I’ve had to fly down here, I’ve had other travel expenses [and] living expenses. On top of all of that, it adds up a lot. The cut in price would be a great help.”
DiGiovanna said that although UNO as a university itself is “very affordable,” the hefty out-of-state fee is justified simply because it’s a convenience fee out-of-state.
“It would have been a nice reduction in loans while I’m in school and post-graduation.”
Although DiGiovanna is graduating this semester, she said she remains optimistic about the proposal put forward to reduce the specific fee for prospective out-of-state students.
“I think a reduction would be great. I think it’s a great incentive to [attract] more students with the school trying to boost the graduation rate and [bring] out-of-state people to this school.”