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.”
Legislators quizzed Assanis about the university's enrollment of Delawareans and underrepresented students, groups the school has long struggled to recruit.
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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.