In-State Tuition Benefits and Non-Citizen Enrollment in Texas Universities Examined at the 81st Annual Southern Economic Association Conference


COLLEGE PARK, MD -June 23, 2011- The 81st Annual Southern Economic Association (SEA) conference, scheduled to be held in Washington, DC at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, will take place November 19 - 21. Optimal Solutions Group's, LLC’s (Optimal) Dr. Matea Pender and the University of Maryland’s Dr. Lisa Dickson will present their paper titled “Do In-State Tuition Benefits Affect the Enrollment of Non-Citizens? Evidence from Universities in Texas.”

The paper focuses on the effects of lower tuition on university enrollment for non-citizens in Texas. The state passed a law in 2001 (House Bill 1403) that made Texas the first state to offer in-state tuition to non-citizens, effectively lowering the average cost of tuition. Through a quasi-experimental design, Dr. Pender and Dr. Dickson found a positive effect on enrollment through the newly enacted policy at the University of Texas at Pan American, as well as the University of Texas at San Antonio. The results also showed a negative effect on enrollment at Southern Methodist University, a private university whose tuition was unchanged by the policy.

The SEA’s purpose has been to further education of scholars and the public in economic affairs. It also seeks to stimulate interest in and disseminate results of recent research in theory and applied economics. The SEA is one of the oldest regional economic associations in the United States, with its first conference dating back to November 1928. The Southern Economic Journal was first published in 1933 and is the eigth oldest American scholarly journal in economics.



Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out for its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s M Square Research Park in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees, including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in business, communication, economics, education, health policy, psychology, public policy, sociology, statistics, and urban planning. Optimal has four research centers: Health, Education, Housing, and Workforce Development and Social Policy.