This Policy Insights reports on the results of a brief survey of Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) states that attempted to gather data on tuition revenue broken out by students’ residency. The survey revealed that few state higher education executive offices in the West have the data necessary for this analysis. Among states that were able to respond, it is evident that nonresidents are an increasingly vital source of unrestricted revenue for some institutions’ operations.
This suggests that better information about the sources of tuition revenue can lead to a more complete understanding of institutional funding. That more complete picture can ultimately better inform dialogue that fits with the principle of recognizing all three primary sources of financial support for higher education – appropriations, tuition, and financial aid (ATFA) – as a single set of interrelated tools, rather than as a disconnected set of policy levers. Residency, in the context of ATFA, is an important element to consider as policymakers attempt to find ways to preserve or improve college affordability.