A quick way to find if a college has many out-of-state students

by Grace

A handy tool from the Chronicle of Higher Education allows you to access out-of-state (OOS) freshman student data for nearly 1,600 universities and colleges.  It offers a quick way to compare several schools at once, as well as to see data compiled for entire states.


Some ways you can use this information:

  • You can quickly compare the percentage of OOS students for schools in which you are interested.  You can also check the states these students come from.
  • You can see trends.  The information goes back to 1994, so you can see how a school’s OOS population has changed over time.
  • You can get a sense how attractive you might be to a school.  A school with a low OOS percentage may be seeking to increase geographic diversity by reaching out to students outside their state.

Some quick observations about OOS freshman at selected locations:

  • Binghamton University’s OOS students have increased from 6% to 15% over ten years.
  • Colleges in the states with the least amounts of OOS students, including Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, and Wyoming, may be particularly interested in applications from OOS students.
  • Rice Universtiy is more geographically diverse than many people might expect, with 52% of its students coming from other states.
  • UNC Chapel Hill has consistently maintained its OOS student population at close to 18%, the upper limit as mandated by state regulation.  Florida and New York lead the way in being the source of their OOS students.
  • University of Alabama has bumped its percentage of OOS students from 24% to 43% over ten years, no doubt at least partly due to their generous merit scholarship programs that catch the attention of high-achieving students across the country.

The latest year available is 2010, so the most recent trends are not captured.  International students are not included, skewing the profiles of some schools more than others.



2 Comments to “A quick way to find if a college has many out-of-state students”

  1. I am surprised that New Mexico is low. It was popular for out of state students back in my day – had kind of a rugged, counterculture, cowboy image back then. I think I even applied there.
    Also had no idea that UNC Chapel Hill had so few out of state students.
    Is U of Alabama drawing students from neighboring states? It is hard to imagine anyone going there from far away.


  2. It looks as if less than half of the OOS students at Alabama are from neighboring states. Among other states, NJ, CT, IL, and CA each had about 50 freshman attending.

    IIRC, NC revisited that 18% max regulation recently, but decided to stick with it. NY & NJ are over-represented among their OOS students, which might explain your perception.


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