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August 5, 2013

Comparing the Tuition Fee between Resident and International Students

The amount of tuition fees charged by colleges and university determine the affordability and the access of postsecondary education. However, the tuition fees paid in these post secondary educational institutions is not uniform. Although the disparity between the tuition fees paid by the resident and the international student has existed for a long time, many considerations determine the differences between the tuition fees charged to the students. Indeed, the number of foreign students accessing higher education in the United States in America has increased steadily over time. For instance during the 2011-2012 academic year, 763,429 international student enrolled in various levels of postsecondary education in the United States. The bulk of these students were from china and most of them enrolled for undergraduate programs. Indeed, this was a record number of international students, which accounted for an increase of 6 % from the previous year (Brennan and Dellow 29). In many other instances, resident student are categorized as in-state and out-of-state categorizing the tuition fees payment further. Surprisingly, the tuition fees for international students enrolling in the United States institutions of higher learning is perhaps the highest in the world, yet these institutions continue attracting large numbers of international students. However, the quality of education in American colleges and universities is considered to be high by many foreign students. This has resulted to an increase in demand by international students and a strain on American institutional facilities.College tuition fees varies from an average high of US$ 35,660 for a doctorate degree in a private university to a low of US$ 3,131 in a two-year public college for an in-state student. This represents a ten-fold disparity in the tuition fees charged by the postsecondary institutions. The highest tuition charged for an undergraduate program for in-state students is US$ 16,132 while some private universities charge in excess of US$ 40,000 for the same program annually, which applies for both resident and international students. Indeed, tuition fees vary along several considerations, which include the kind of institution, the level of academics, the location of institution and the time when the fees was charged. The ensuing discussion dwells on the similarities and differences that exist between the tuition fees paid by the international students and the resident student. The comparisons and contrasts shall be considered under the level of academics being pursued (certificate or an associate’s degree, a bachelors degree, a masters degree and a PhD), the type of institution (public or private) and the location of the institution. In addition, a personal opinion, recommendations and predictions of the likely tuition fees situation in the United States colleges and universities shall also be provided in the discussion.

Level of Academics
The level of academics may be categorized as a two-year college level, a four-year undergraduate level, a graduate level and a postgraduate level with the academic qualification at each level being a certificate or an associate’s degree, a bachelors degree, a masters degree and a PhD respectively.

Both the resident students and the international students are charged higher fees as they proceed higher in the academic levels being pursued. Specifically, the tuition fees charged by a community college for an associate’s degree are lower than the fees charged at the postgraduate (PhD) level. For instance, the tuition fees ranged from an average of US$ 3,131for a two-year associate’s degree course in a community college to an average high of US$ 35,660 for a doctorate in a private university. The justification for this variation is the fact that the faculty required to conduct higher-level programs is more expensive to remunerate that the faculty handling lower level courses. Additionally, a PhD program for instance, is expensive to run because it has a heavy research component compare to a two-year certificate program.

However, disparities exist in the tuition fees charged at each academic level between resident students and international students. In addition, this disparity increases with the increasing level of academics being pursued. The difference between the tuition fees charged to a resident and an international student at the associate degree level ranges at US$ 1,000, at undergraduate level being about US$ 20,000 and at postgraduate level being US$ 26,000 (Baum, Ma & College Board Advocacy & Policy 10). Indeed, international students usually require additional assistance in their studies. Often, the tuition fees may include a component of language proficiency improvement for students who English is not their native language. Indeed, this component may be higher for higher-level programs because the level of English required should be of high academic quality. Indeed, international students from English speaking foreign countries are at an advantage in this case.<…>

Location of Institution
The fees charges by colleges and universities may differ with the geographical location of the institutions. In the United States of America, the amount of tuition fees charged in colleges and universities differ from one state to another. One similarity that all locations in the United States have is that every state has a fair share of high cost and low cost colleges and universities that can be accessed by the resident and the international students (Cahill 2).

However, some regions in the United States tend to have lower tuition charges than others. Specifically, the western end of United States tends to charge lower tuition fees compared to the eastern side. For instance, the tuition charged in a public in-state two-year college is US$ 2,241, which is the lowest, compared to other regions like the middle states (US$ 4,274) and New England (US$ 4,619). Interestingly, Ivy League universities and colleges charge some of the highest tuition fees in the United States and in the world. These private colleges are located in the northeastern end of United States. There are eight colleges in this group, which have become synonymous to academic excellence, exclusive selectivity and high elitism of its members. These colleges include Yale University, university of Pennsylvania, Princeton University, Harvard University, Dartmouth College, Cornell University, Columbia University and Brown University. Indeed, an Ivy League college or university has been ranked first worldwide for the last twelve years consecutively with the Princeton university and Harvard university topping the frequency in this ranking. Their successful group of alumni and amount of exemplary achievement by their members has contributed greatly to the superior reputation of these institutions, which is used to justify the high tuition fees charged. For instance, Harvard University charges a tuition fee of US$ 40,000 for a graduate program and 11 % of the student population is made up of international students while Princeton University charges US$ 40,170 for an undergraduate program and has a similar proportion of international students. Of the Ivy League universities, Columbia University charges the highest tuition fees of US$ 43,815. The national university with the highest proportion of international students is New School in New York, which is at 27 %, while the most expensive private university is Sarah Lawrence College in New York, which charges a tuition fee of US$ 57,556 for an undergraduate course (Baum, Ma & College Board Advocacy & Policy 3).

Conclusion
Indeed, the level of academics, the location of the university and college, the type of institution and the macroeconomic factors affect the amount of tuition fees charged to both resident and international students. There are various similarities, which include a general increase in the tuition fees as the level of education rises for both the resident and international students, the tuition fees charged in public institutions that largely cater for resident students being much lower that the tuition fees charge to international student, usually in private institutions. Clearly, there are more contrasts than similarities of the tuition fees charged to the resident students and the international students. These differences in the tuition fees charged to the resident students and the international students were evident in all the considerations made. However, the disparities in the tuition fees paid by international students and the resident students are pertinent and justified. This allows the resident students to continue enjoying the benefits accrued from the economy of United States through federal and state support of postsecondary education. In addition, the higher tuition fees charged on the international students is justified as these students usually take the knowledge acquired back to their homes of origin without benefitting the United States economy with the skills that they have acquired. In addition, the quality of education in the postsecondary of institutions is high in comparison with institutions in many foreign countries especially in Africa and Asia. Students educated in the United States colleges and universities are n high demand in the foreign countries. This may explain the rapid increase in the number of foreign students recently.

It is recommended that the disparities in the tuition fees paid in colleges and universities located in different states be reduced. This would improve the distribution of international students to even out the enrolment of these students across the states. In addition, the universities and colleges across the different states should offer proportionate opportunities to both international and resident students by being equally involved in marketing their programs internationally (Kirschner 4).

The trend indicates that international students may continue paying higher tuition fees compared to residential students in the future. This is because, the fees paid by foreign student are crucial in supporting the research programs and other facilities that make the American colleges and universities attractive. However, the amount of tuition fees paid by residential student is likely to remain unchanged as the revenue collected continues to be utilized to support most of the expenditure in colleges and universities. This is likely to be supported by the increasing enrolment of foreign students into the universities and colleges in the United States (Hauptman and Research American Enterprise Institute of Public Policy 12).

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