USF shouldn’t use student diversity to generate revenue


After reassurance from Moody’s Investor Services that USF’s financial outlook is in good shape, the university’s revenue apparently still requires substantial enhancements – some of which may derive from the student population.

After considerable operating losses in the past two years, along with the state’s halt of tuition increases for the next year, USF President Judy Genshaft, Chief Financial Officer Nick Trivunovich, Chief Operating Officer John Long and Board of Trustees Chairman John Ramil are formulating ways to increase the school’s revenue over the next three years. 

To accommodate a positive financial outlook for USF and improve revenue, Trivunovich said one such revenue-increasing measure would be for the university to attempt to create a more diverse enrollment mix, increasing the number of out-of-state and international students, whose undergraduate tuition is about three times that of in-state students.

Though this course of action would form a more diversified community at USF, one of the school’s most emphasized traits, the intent behind this plan is purely financial and in the best interest of the university administrators rather than students.

The problematic aspect of recruiting more of out-of-state and international students for the sake of revenue is the uncertainty of how exactly the university plans to do so. 

Though the university intends to maintain overall enrollment, this plan could potentially affect the number of in-state students gaining admission, something that could consequently hurt the university’s efforts to establish “Bull pride” and “Bull’s Country.” 

Seeking a greater influx of out-of-state and international students might make attaining enrollment more competitive for qualified Florida students and limit their chances
of admission. 

Additionally, the chance of greater competition affecting admission outcomes might not align with the university’s goal to keep overall enrollment fixed, further complicating how the university will follow this plan. 

While USF undoubtedly honors cultivating a diverse environment, actively seeking out-of-state and international students to alleviate finances taints the university’s prideful claim
of diversity.

Of course, recent operating losses and being short of state funding does require USF to preserve its financial standing.

While gaining revenue through the more expensive tuition from these students is an effective way for the university to achieve its financial goals, it potentially undermines its core values and allows its financial needs to inform how students are sought out for admission.