University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis has told a legislative committee that a lack of qualified students is to blame for low in-state enrollment at the school.
The News Journal reported that during a hearing Thursday before the legislature's Joint Finance Committee, Assanis was asked about why fewer than 40% of the school's students come from Delaware.
“I am not the one holding back the kids in Delaware to come into the university,” Assanis said. “We need better-qualified students who come out of our K-12. Because we don't want to put them into a first-class environment and then lead them to having mental health problems.”
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Legislators quizzed Assanis about the university's enrollment of Delawareans and underrepresented students, groups the school has long struggled to recruit.
Assanis said a slowdown in population growth and a lack of qualified students coming out of Delaware high schools are to blame.
In 2014, 40% of University of Delaware undergraduate students were Delawareans. In 2019, that number still hovered around 39%, about 7,480 of the university’s 19,000 undergraduate students.
"If it wasn't for the out-of-state students, we wouldn't be able to provide to the in-state students such an excellent education," Assanis said.