It seems that Columbia University considers the race for “diversity” an extreme sport.

Despite the fact that the campus can boast that nearly 20% of its class of 2016 is international, Columbia administrators are pushing to attract even more foreign students.

Sophomore physics major Connor Hailey challenges this goal and offers a refreshing tax-payer oriented perspective.

To my international friends, I love you, but…to my fellow U.S. citizens here at Columbia, we have cause for concern regarding the administration’s belief that “the proportion of international students should be much higher than it is now” (“Nearly one-quarter international, CU weighs its global balance,” Dec. 7).

This is not an overture to a jingoistic article filled with vitriolic hate or xenophobic ramblings. America faces unprecedented political, technological, financial and environmental challenges in the years to come and we need to ensure a well-educated population to meet these challenges effectively.
In fact, the vast majority of international students have one thing in common that separates them from their American counterparts: money. Naturally, there are plenty of wealthy Americans at Columbia, but more than 50 percent of undergraduates are on financial aid. The cost of an American education has become so prohibitive that even the upper-middle class struggles to educate their children. International students, on the other

Hailey notes that Columbia should feel a sense of duty to educate America’s future intellectual, political and financial leaders, and gives a hat-tip to an entity under-appreciated at most college campuses: The American Taxpayer.

If all else fails, the United States should demand it of us. Columbia could not operate without the support of the U.S. taxpayer. As reported by Arizona State University’s Center for Measuring University Performance, Columbia received $483 million in government research grants in 2008. These funds don’t all go to the researchers who won grants, but rather, according to the University’s research compliance statements, up to 61 percent goes straight into university coffers. However, even this figure is five years old, so overhead is likely slightly higher now.

According to a survey by the Association of University Technology Managers, in 2009 Columbia made $154 million off patent royalties and licensing agreements, the result of faculty research done with, you guessed it, government grants. According to the University’s webpage, Columbia’s operating budget is roughly $3.3 billion, nearly half of which goes to the Medical Center, which has its own revenue stream. When all is said and done, the government accounts for almost a third of Columbia’s actual educational budget. These numbers don’t even include financial aid to students and federally funded work-study programs.

A successful future depends upon a well-educated population. We owe it to our country to educate American citizens. Patriae erexit.