July 18, 2013
The U-M Board of Regents has approved changes in the guidelines for how students qualify for in-state tuition. The streamlined guidelines will make the process more transparent and easier to understand. The guidelines take effect in January 2014.
Q. What are the major changes?
A. The new guidelines expand eligibility for in-state tuition to all U.S. military veterans, members of the U.S. Public Health Service and to students who have attended middle school and high school in Michigan.
Q. Why did U-M make these changes?
A. The overall goal was to streamline the guidelines and make them clearer. Additionally, over the course of the past year, the university heard from veterans and from undocumented students who urged U-M to change the in-state tuition guidelines. We decided it was time for a thorough review of the guidelines.
Q. Do all prospective students who attended middle and high school in Michigan need to file residency classification applications?
A. These changes do not affect most in-state students who are admitted. The application is only required when there is out-of-state activity that would lead to questions about Michigan residency. And even when an application becomes necessary, 80 percent are approved for in-state tuition.
Q. Do these changes affect the university’s admission standards or admission process?
A. These new guidelines change nothing about U-M’s admission standards or the admission process. Nor does the policy have any impact on federal guidelines for financial aid.
Q. When was the last time these guidelines were changed?
A. The guidelines were last reviewed in 2005. At that time provisions were added for children of parents on temporary foreign assignment to retain Michigan residency status and there was added clarification of various visa classifications among other modifications. A waiver option for some military spouses and dependents was added in 2008. Link to a story from May 2005.
Q. What does this mean for undocumented students?
A. It means that there is a clear path to in-state tuition, including many of those who addressed the Board of Regents over the past few months. Many of them said how they had attended school here and graduated near the top of their high school classes. For many of those students, there is a clear avenue for attaining in-state tuition.
Q. How did you come up with the requirement for both middle and high school? Why not just high school, as other states have done?
A. We believe the combination of middle school and high school strikes the right balance.
Q. Why are you offering discounted tuition to people who are not Michigan residents, paying Michigan taxes?
A. The university has created three very clear ways in which a student may qualify for in-state tuition. One of those avenues is by attending Michigan schools for five years through middle school and high school. Those students and their families often are paying some state taxes, such as state sales taxes and property taxes. In fact a report released July 10 shows that unauthorized immigrants already pay $126 million a year in state and local taxes in Michigan, The amount is $10.6 billion a year nationwide. The analysis comes from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Link to the report.
Q. Will the university redirect some financial aid to undocumented students?
A. Offering an “uncommon education for the common man” is one of the hallmarks of the U-M. Our goal is to keep a Michigan education affordable for all students. That’s why support for all students is the No. 1 priority of the fundraising campaign that will launch this fall. Determining who qualifies for financial aid is a very individualized process.
Q. What are other public universities in Michigan doing regarding undocumented students?
A. It’s been reported that Western, Wayne State and Saginaw Valley all have taken steps that would provide in-state tuition to students who may be undocumented. Each institution has its own approach.
Q. How are public universities in other states dealing with undocumented students?
A. Currently,16 stateshave provisions allowing in-statetuitionrates for undocumented students. Fourteen states provide these provisions through state legislation: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Texas, Utah, and Washington. Two states: Oklahoma and Rhode Island, allow in-state tuition rates to undocumented students through Board of Regents decisions. In 2013, three states –Colorado,Minnesota, andOregon –enacted laws allowing in-state tuition for undocumented students. Link to the report.
Q. What is the significant change for military personnel?
A. We are enhancing our recognition of military service members by offering in-state tuition to any active-duty military personnel, reservist or veteran, regardless of the person’s legal state of residence. This also applies to officers of the U.S. Public Health Service.
Q. How many more students will qualify for in-state tuition under these revised guidelines?
A. We really do not know, but we believe the number will be small in Ann Arbor.
Q. How will U-M pay for these additional tuition discounts? Will it be covered with taxpayer dollars?
A. While we do not know how many students will be affected by these new guidelines, the university believes the number will be small in Ann Arbor. It’s also worth noting that more than 70 percent of the university’s general fund budget comes from tuition revenue. State (taxpayer) funding has been in a steady decline for decades. Today it makes up only 16 percent of the general fund budget.
Q. What are the data on requests for residency review?
A. The number fluctuates year to year. In each of the last two years we have had about 2,000 applications for in-state tuition in the fall semester with 80 percent of those being approved. That’s for all three campuses, all schools and colleges, undergraduate and graduate levels. During those years we have been getting more than 40,000 undergraduate applications a year for undergraduate admission alone.
Q. How will this affect each campus; which will feel greatest change?
A. It’s difficult to predict. We don’t have any good way of knowing how many students this will affect. And it’s important to remember that this changes nothing about the admission process.
Q. Why are these guidelines no longer called residency guidelines, but guidelines for in-state tuition?
A. The university has created three distinct ways to achieve in-state tuition. Only one involves residency. We think calling them guidelines for in-state tuition is more accurate.
Q. Who makes in-state tuition decisions?
A. There is a three-person team within the Office of the Registrar that is dedicated to reviewing and evaluating all applications. They may consult with the Office of the General Counsel. Additionally, there is a five-member appeals committee that makes the final determination on decisions that may be appealed.
Q. How long does the application process normally take?
A. In some cases where a student has provided all the required documentation, the review process can take as little as six weeks. Each situation is unique.
Q. Will the new guidelines apply retroactively to students already on campus?
A. There is no retroactive effect. However, once the policy goes into effect in January 2014 current students could seek to have their in-state tuition status reviewed.
Q. Where can I go for additional information?
A. The university’s Office of the Registrar is charged with administering the in-state tuition guidelines. Here is the contact information for that office:
Office of the Registrar
1210 LSA Building
500 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1382
Copyright 2013 Regents of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 USA