That’s a fair point - it’s probably about where does one draw the qualitative line between solid (let’s say, top 20%) and great (top 5%). I certainly acknowledge that’s debatable.
Anecdotally, I have two colleagues with PhDs from UMass and they actually don’t speak very highly of it, but that’s only two people and they’re almost 20 years out from graduation.
No doubt, the population in these states is changing. The Midwest and NE have been declining for decades and, inversely, the south and west are increasing. I’m sure the numbers are out there but I would be curious as to the proportions of the student bodies of the Michigan’s and Wisconsin’s that come from other states. I’ve been surprised how many kids in NY and CT go to Michigan, Wisconsin and UNC. For really good students its their safety school to the Ivy’s and top privates (e.g., Williams, Vassar, NYU, BU) - recognizing these schools have niche strengths too.
The biggest change we will see in the near future is the Enrollment Cliff due to begin in roughly 2025. They are projecting this will help many kids who would’ve been declined from top tier schools to gain possible admission. It will significantly shakeup the landscape and school closures will likely spike. This will impact everyone but some places more than others.
I agree with you on MI and UW-Madison. My understanding is their OOS populations are quite large, and many do come from the NE. How many I am unsure. As you pointed out, historically the public schools in the NE have not been great; it was why so many NY kids ended up at Penn State, UVA, UNC, UF and Maryland, plus Michigan and UW-Madison. However, in the last 30 years, the SUNY System, Rutgers, UConn and UMass have really stepped up their game, keeping many more kids “at home” so to speak.
BTW, I found this article regarding UW-Madison and OOS student growth; as we suspected, it has increased dramatically since 2012, when the state lifted the cap on OOS students.
Yeah Duke, Tulane, Emory, Miami, Wake Forest etc are full of NE students who could not get into the Ivy League.
The joke at Wake is that the campus has as many Red Sox and Yankees fans as BC and Syracuse! Everyone I have ever met who went to Duke, Tulane and Wake are from out of the area. Rice is similar in that regard; the old joke was that it was impossible to get into Rice if you were from Houston, unless you were an athlete or POC.
I will say Emory has made a concerted effort to take in more local students, partly because Atlanta has grown so much due to migration from the NE (I speak from personal experience).
It’s a lovely little place to spend a couple years, but as with most of the Deep South SEC schools there’s a strong contingent of frat kids from the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic that just want to LARP as a Genteel Member of the Planter Class™️ for four years before they go back home and take a job at Daddy’s business. I liked the student body at UH a lot better.