Why do UVA and Michigan have such low yields?

<p>The</a> Most Popular National Universities - US News and World Report</p>

<p>I came across this link on the main forum and was shocked to see that two of the best state schools in the country have such a low yield. Why do state schools like Nebraska-Lincoln and Alaska-Fairbanks have a yield figure that rivals Harvard and Stanford while Michigan and UVA's yield figures hover closer to those of ECU and UCF?</p>

<p>I guess I'm just trying to understand how the dynamics of yield works. Presumably Michigan and Virginia residents see UMich and UVA as the Holy Grail or so I thought.</p>

<p>I think it's because they are so highly regarded academically. The same students applying to those schools have a good chance to be admitted to other top universities/colleges. Because they are hard to get admitted to, any student applying will also be applying to several other schools.</p>

<p>So when the acceptances come, the applicant may be deciding between UVA or UMichigan and MIT, Duke, and Williams. Or a full ride to another great school, like Davidson.</p>

<p>At least that's my theory.</p>

<p>It could just mean that students applying to Nebraska and Alaska see those schools as their first choices, but those applying to Michigan or Virginia do not.</p>

<p>Remember that in low population states like Nebraska and Alaska, the state universities have a "broad" student population because there are fewer of them. Except for the very top high school students, most students will go to a state university. A "narrow" flagship like Michigan or Virginia may be attracting and admitting students equivalent to the top 10% or 20% of the students at a "broad" flagship like Nebraska or Alaska. These students would be the ones most likely go to schools other than a state university, so the "narrow" flagship may "lose" more students to other schools than a "broad" flagship where the "other 80% or 90%" of students are content to go to the state university and do not see the point of paying more to go elsewhere (and probably would not pick up the big merit scholarships available elsewhere).</p>

<p>Also, the small state "broad" flagships have a higher yield than state universities in big states with many state universities because each student in the small state may apply to just the "broad" flagship in that state and attend it, versus students in the bigger states applying to many state universities but attending only one.</p>

<p>More applicants to UVa are from out of state than instate. That number is rising even more since UVa went to the Common Application a couple of years ago. The out of state kids are the same type that are applying to places like Duke,Georgetown,Cornell,etc. The instate yield is higher than the OOS yield. Guidance counselors and the kids themselves in Virginia have a good idea of who is competitive for UVa and so UVa gets the best applicants from Virginia(and the instate application numbers have stayed more consistent). Since the middle class initiatives by some of the Ivies and increased desire by many for merit aid by going to a lower ranked school elsewhere(UVa essentially does not give merit aid), more top students than ever may be applying and going elsewhere. However, UVa is still the "Holy Grail" for lots of people in Virginia. It is a desirable school to most top students in Virginia and their families. And there are other schools in Virginia that are also popular-William and Mary and Virginia Tech are also desirable to lots of instate kids.</p>

<p>Why is Duke's lower Georgetown? Simply shocking.</p>

<p>Michigan's is where it is because:
a. they have early action, not early decision. If a school admits, say, 1/3 of their class through early decision (where yield is essentially 100%), their overall yield will increase sustantially.
b. they admit more of their class out of state (40%) than many state flagships. The cost is nearly three times out of state and obviously farther from home geographically, causing the yield to decline
c. as mentioned previously, they compete for students with other high prestige schools where the applicants apply to many schools.</p>

<p>wayneandgarth has mentioned factors with Michigan that also relate to UVa. UVa has nonbinding EA, not ED. UVa has 1/3 OOS students in each class. Also, UVa also has kids applying to other prestigious schools. So, these kinds of things are similar with both Michigan and UVa.</p>

<p>Don't many/most state flagships have lowish yields?</p>

<p>It isn't that Michigan and UVA have low yields, it's that Nebraska and Alaska-Fairbanks have unusually high yields. Michigan's yield in 2010 (for the class of 2014) was 40.6%. UVA was 45.0%. Other top publics: UC-Berkeley 37.9%, UCLA 35.4%, UNC-Chapel Hill, 52.4%, William & Mary 35.1%, Georgia Tech 38.9%.So Michigan and UVA are actually toward the higher end of that group.</p>

<p>Many leading private schools also have yields in that range, some lower: Caltech 36.4%, Chicago 38.1%, Duke 41.7%, Northwestern 33.4%, Johns Hopkins 32.7%, Wash U (WUSTL) 30.9%, Cornell 47.6%, Rice 36.0%, Vanderbilt 40.9%, Emory 30.9%, Georgetown 43.1%, Carnegie Mellon 28.8%, USC 34.1%, Wake Forest 28.8%,Tufts 35.0%.</p>

<p>And remember, most of these privates are actually inflating their yield by filling a significant fraction of their entering class with binding ED applicants, a group from which they get virtually 100% yield. In some cases ED admits make up as much as 40% of their entering class, so their yield on RD admits must be much lower than the "blended" yield figures you see here. Most of the publics don't use binding ED. Michigan, for example, has non-binding EA; admission through that program is almost an open invitation to the admitted student to shoot for the moon on reaches, secure in the knowledge they've got that Michigan offer in their back pocket.</p>

<p>I don't know much about Alaska-Fairbanks, but Nebraska's an interesting outlier, with a yield rivaling Harvard's. I know a few Nebraskans, They all strongly identify with UNL. Its sports team are the only sports teams in the state that just about anyone follows (except a small handful of Creighton basketball fans)--there are no professional sports. And they're rabid about it. For such a small state in population, it's nothing short of amazing how they pack the stadium for Cornhuskers home football games--and they travel well, too; there may have been more Cornhuskers fans than Minnesota fans in the stands when Nebraska played at Minnesota this fall. No divided in-state loyalties like Michigan-Michigan State, UVA-Va Tech, Cal-UCLA. And they're proud of their public university, proud of its land-grant mission, proud they went there, and proud to send their kids there. So why bother to go elsewhere? But that's the unusual case; very few schools, public or private, have yields anywhere near Nebraska's.</p>

<p>The Nebraska situation is not as surprising when you consider that the UN Lincoln campus is the largest public university in Nebraska by far (the next largest is UN Omaha, about 2/3 as large, and everything else is relatively small).</p>

<p>The other thing about yields is that it is more common for private schools to play yield games by considering "level of interest" in admissions. Public schools mostly don't mind if students use them as safeties, but some private schools reject high-stat applicants who appear to be using them as safeties ("Tufts syndrome").</p>

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<p>You bring up some valid points about the private schools but all of this is overshadowed by the simple glaring fact that state schools like UVA and Michigan are significantly cheaper for their in-state residents so that should allow their yield to be very high even if they lose out-of-staters for whatever reason (fit, cost, prestige). Their heavily subsidized tuitions for in-staters should allow their yields to compete with the non-HYP Ivies.</p>

<p>Is it that their prestige within their home state is declining (not sure if their yields were higher in the past) or that they lose the vast majority of admits out of state?</p>

<p>I understand why William & Mary's yield is low-it has to compete with UVA. The same goes with UCLA and Berkeley which basically cancel each other out or lose overachievers to Stanford, Pomona or Caltech.</p>

<p>UNC actually has a lower yield than it would if it didn't exist in the midst of Duke and the reverse end of the scenario hurts Duke as well since it's located in the same state as one of the best public universities in the world (loses some smart kids because UNC is a lot cheaper).</p>

<p>Nebraska's yield makes sense for the reasons you have stated but that still doesn't answer why UVA and Michigan have such low appeal that literally 50+ public schools have higher yields.</p>

<p>If you're from Nebraska or Alaska, apply to your in-state flagship and want to get in-state tuition, you really have no other comparable option.</p>

<p>I never thought Michigan's yield was "low" either. It's actually pretty good considering the numbers of kids that apply from out of state, and then realize what the costs are and move on. Many college choices (that impact yield numbers) are made in the end based on finances. Yield is, after all, the number of kids that are accepted that actually attend. Many schools especially unis the size of Michigan accept many, many kids compared to what size freshman class is targeted and through experience know approximately how many will not accept the offer of admission.</p>

<p>I agree with bclintonk's analysis of Nebraska and with Alaska it's not too difficult to figure out why they stay in Alaska. Distance is a huge factor with Alaska. One of my housemate's was from Alaska back in my college years, but her father had a home in the Chicago area related to his work so was often back and forth. My son had a roommate from Alaska but he left the college to return to Alaska after freshman year. There's a big psychological thing almost akin to being an international in terms of emotions and logistics so yield not too surprising for Alaska.</p>

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<p>No, no, and no. 1) For most Michigan residents with significant financial need, private schools that meet 100% of need will cost out the same as the University of Michigan; they'll pay EFC at either place, and some may actually get more generous offers elsewhere (e.g., all grants v. grants + loans + work-study). 2) For many full-pays, the price difference isn't a big consideration. 3) There's a middle group of Michigan residents whose EFC will be higher than the cost of attending Michigan in-state (about $25K); for them there's a definite price advantage to staying in-state, and I'll bet Michigan's yield is pretty high with this group. But there may not be all that many of them; Michigan is not a particularly high-income state, and its economy got the stuffing kicked out of it in the recent recession, and is only now making slow comeback. And they're not all going to choose Michigan. Some will choose a private school that they prefer notwithstanding the higher cost; some may choose on the basis of fit, or geographic preference, or because they're a legacy and that means something to them, or because of a perceived prestige difference, or whatever. Some will choose Michigan State; family loyalties within the state are deeply divided, and Michigan State competes aggressively for the top in-state students with generous merit aid. Some will prefer smaller colleges, in-state or out-of-state. </p>

<p>As for OOS students, Michigan doesn't meet 100% of need, so for those with significant financial need Michigan will often end up being more costly than a private college that meets 100% of need. No question that depresses Michigan's overall yield. For full-pays Michigan will actually be a few thousand dollars cheaper (I figured $8K cheaper that my D1's LAC when she was applying to colleges a couple of years ago, but latest figures look more like $5K). But again, many OOS full-pays are going to be sufficiently well-off that they won't be as price-sensitive as other income groups. Yet despite being at such a competitive disadvantage with high-need OOS applicants, Michigan still manages to fill up 35% of its student body with OOS students. Impressive.</p>

<p>I lived in Michigan as a youth, I attended it as an undergrad, and I have many family members there today. No way is Michigan's "prestige within [its] home state declining." Its yield is right about where it always has been, and right about where most other top public universities are, and higher than most top privates. </p>

<p>Not that yield means anything in particular. I think you're reading way too much into it. I certainly wouldn't conclude that Caltech's "prestige" is "declining" because its yield is "only" 36.4%. There are just so many factors that go into a school's yield that it's almost a meaningless figure.</p>

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I understand why William & Mary's yield is low-it has to compete with UVA. The same goes with UCLA and Berkeley which basically cancel each other out or lose overachievers to Stanford, Pomona or Caltech.

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<p>Michigan and UVa lose plenty of overachievers to Harvard, Yale, etc. In terms of academic quality, Michigan especially is absolutely on a par with Berkeley and UCLA, and UVa is not far behind them. For years, Michigan has been an excellent safety school for top students who respect its academic opportunities, and to its credit Michigan has never tried to manage its yield by rejecting applicants with HYPS-type profiles.</p>

<p>The yield numbers for Nebraska should be all one observer needs to understand that yield is a useless metric for anyone who is not in the enrollment management business. </p>

<p>Not only it is useless, it is also a highly misleading datapoint as a high yield can be a proxy for high selectivity and popularity or a metric that shows plenty of students who have no better options than the one offered by their less selective school.</p>

<p>And, among equally selective schools, as others have pointed out, yield is subject to maximization through he crutches provided by ED and extensive waiting lists.</p>

<p>I think yield is an interesting number more from the perspective of "how the heck do they do that" as most strong schools enroll the vast majority of time the number of kids they want/need. Yield is not synonymous with popularity. Yield is synonymous with enrollment management and probably celebrated if predicted correctly by admissions officers without disturbing their statistical GPA/Test score numbers.</p>

<p>"Presumably Michigan and Virginia residents see UMich and UVA as the Holy Grail or so I thought."</p>

<p>I've been living in Michigan on and off since Eisenhower was president. There are some people in the state who are aware that U of Michigan has a great national and international reputation, but nowhere near the % that people on CC probably assume know about it. And an even smaller % actually CARE about the fact that it has such a good reputation. Lots of brilliant kids in the state don't apply to it, and are quite happy at other in-state options. Except in a few wealthy suburbs, and in Ann Arbor itself, college usually isn't seen as a source of prestige here. Maybe it's because everybody here knows a few auto workers who never set foot on a college campus who have a cottage "up north," 2 new cars, a boat, and who will retire at age 50.</p>

<p>Schmaltz,Virginia is probably more influenced by the high powered DC vibe, prestige, the Jefferson connection with UVa,etc. Surprised to hear though you say that you think the state of Michigan has only a small percentage of people that care about the reputation of the University of Michigan. Lots of people in Virginia probably don't care about the reputation of UVa but some of them will be Hokies! I've got both in my house-a UVa Cavalier(Wahoo) and VT Hokie, so it gets interesting. To lots of Virginians, it would be Virginia Tech that would be the "Holy Grail", not UVa. There are legacies on both sides that seem to dream of their kids going to their alma mater. And then, there's also William and Mary! As a native Pennsylvanian but a Virginian for over 30 years now, it took awhile to figure out how deep some of the Virginia school loyalties go. I would imagine for lots of Nebraskans, Nebraska is the "Holy Grail."
momofthreeboys,enrollment management is pretty fascinatng. Historically, UVa has about a 2/3 yield with instate kids and about a 1/3 yield with OOS . It will be interesting to see changes in yield now that UVa has gone to unrestricted EA and has also recently gone to the Common Application. Instate applications stay fairly consistent but OOS apps are way up this year-over 28,000 applications altogether for a little over 3000 spaces.</p>

<p>^^This has been my experience living in Michigan as well. Everybody recognizes that U of M is a good school but I don't think many people realize how good it actually is. Honestly, I don't think the CC mentality is really prevalent at all here--people don't really think about prestige. Basically the best students at my school go to U of M usually because that's the only place they considered. Others go to MSU, Western, Central, GVSU; it's not a big deal here. Although my experience is probably different from Schmaltz's and other posters who live on the east side of the state. ymmv.</p>

<p>seancarpenter, Your take on Michigan does sound similar but slightly different from Schmaltz's since you say that the best students in your school do end up at U of M. That is usually how it goes with many of the Virginia kids, if they stay instate. It is not really as much about prestige as it is with also being seen as a great and logical choice for the best instate students. Kids that want a smaller school will tend toward William and Mary. Engineering students like both Virginia Tech and UVa. Michigan does sound like it's a little more lowkey than Virginia in terms of college. But Virginia is further east and has the DC influence so things in general may be a little more intense.</p>