Best Public Universities for Out-of-State Students

A new ranking shows which top publics enroll the most out-of-state students.

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U.S. News has compiled a new ranking to determine which top-ranked public universities in the 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges have the largest percentage of out-state-students. This new ranking is useful if you are a prospective student looking to apply to a public university outside your own state, since it will enable you to determine which top publics have the largest and smallest enrollments from out of state. It will also give you some indication of the likelihood of getting accepted.

Here are the highlights:

The new ranking shows that among the top-ranked publics, the University of Vermont (74 percent of incoming freshmen in fall 2008 were from out of state) and the University of Delaware (73 percent) came out first and second on the list. Right behind them were:

University of Iowa, 48 percent;

University of Colorado-Boulder, 47 percent;

University of New Hampshire, 44 percent;

Auburn University, Alabama, 43 percent;

University of Oregon, 40 percent.

[See the full lists of schools and the percentages of out-of-state students.]

The schools at the bottom of list with the smallest percentages from out of state are all from the University of California System:

University of California-Riverside, 2 percent;

University of California-San Diego, 2 percent;

University of California-Davis, 3 percent;

University of California-Santa Cruz, 3 percent.

Public colleges have seen a huge surge in popularity as a result of the recent economic woes. High unemployment, the ever-rising cost of private college tuition, and the squeeze on financial aid budgets has meant that more students are looking for less expensive options. Many publics have seen big increases in the number of applications of out of state as students and their parents are becoming more attracted to the lower sticker prices they find at the public colleges outside their own state, compared with private colleges.

It's clear that some publics in some states are far more welcoming to out-of-state students than others. In fact, some states have a strategy of enrolling very large percentages of out-of-state students for tuition revenue reasons.

How does that work? Since out-of-state tuition is far higher than in-state tuition at all publics, those publics with very large percentages of out-of-state students are earning considerable additional tuition revenue by enrolling more students that pay the higher out-of-state tuitions. At some schools, these large amounts of out-of-state tuition dollars help cover the true cost of education on their campus. There have been reports that some publics are implementing a strategy to further increase the number of out-of-state students to make up for budget cuts in their annual state appropriations.

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of America's Best Colleges.