Here's why it's getting harder for N.J. kids to get into Rutgers
By Kelly Heyboer | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com
NEW BRUNSWICK — Walk around Rutgers University's campus and you run into undergraduates from every corner of New Jersey, just as its been for most of the school's 250-year history.
But, increasingly, you may also run across students from California, Texas, Florida, China, India and South Korea walking down College Avenue.
Last year, nearly 12,500 students, or 17 percent of Rutgers' student body, were from outside New Jersey, according to campus statistics. That is nearly double the number of out-of-state students enrolled on Rutgers' three campuses a decade ago.
There are enough non-Jersey students at Rutgers now that they've formed their own group -- the Rutgers University Out-of-State Student Organization -- to plan trips and social events.
Expect their numbers to keep rising, said Courtney McAnuff, Rutgers' vice president for enrollment management.
"It's been increasing," McAnuff said. "We have recruited more international and out-of-state."
The mix of students from different backgrounds is helping make Rutgers a stronger university, school officials said.
However, Rutgers administrators say they are shifting enrollment partly to generate more cash. The tuition and fee rate for out-of-state and international students is $30,579 a year, about double what New Jersey residents pay.
Admitting more out-of-state students boosts Rutgers' revenue and helps make up for sagging state funding from Trenton, McAnuff said. The percentage of the Rutgers' $4 billion budget that comes directly state funding has decreased to about 24 percent.
"We can't increase tuition very much, the economy being what it is," McAnuff said. "We probably will take more students from out-of-state or international."
That means it will likely be more difficult for New Jersey students to get into Rutgers.
This year, Rutgers' freshman acceptance rate was about 56 percent on the New Brunswick campus, according to admissions statistics.
(Scroll over the map to see the number of Rutgers students from each state.)
However, it is important to put the numbers in perspective, Rutgers officials said.
The state university is still more than 80 percent in-state students. That is one of the highest percentages among state universities in the nation.
Among Big Ten schools, Rutgers has the most in-state students, by far. The University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Penn State and Purdue University are at the bottom of the Big Ten list with less than 55 percent in-state students.
Schools in other parts of the country, including the University of Alabama, now enroll more out-of-state students than state residents.
Debasish Dutta, the new chancellor of Rutgers-New Brunswick, is the former provost and executive vice president of Purdue University.
Dutta said Purdue, like many other public universities, are in states with small populations that need out-of-state students to fill their classes.
"That's not the case in New Jersey," Dutta said. "We are not in the same situation."
The new chancellor said he plans to look at the shifting balance between in-state and out-of-state students on the New Brunswick campus, which has had the largest influx of international and out-of-state undergraduates.
It is important that Rutgers consider student quality and its ability to serve first-generation college students, veterans and students with disabilities, he said.
"We are a state institution," Dutta said. "Our responsibility is first and foremost to the people of New Jersey. There's no question about that."
(Scroll over the map to see the number of Rutgers students from each nation.)
Rutgers' entry into the Big Ten athletics conference has helped increase out-of-state applications, especially from the Midwest, admissions officials said.
Last year, New York was the top state sending students to Rutgers, with 1,648 students enrolled. It was followed by Pennsylvania (709 students), California (444 students), Florida (252 students) and Maryland (236 students).
Among out-of-state students, China sent the most students to Rutgers, by far, with 3,760 students enrolled last year. It was followed by India (1,316 students), South Korea (511 students), Taiwan (179 students) and Turkey (119 students).
So many students are applying to Rutgers from China that the university pulled its recruiter out of the country this year, admissions officials said.