By Adam Hartmann
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Students hoping to establish residency at the UA might find themselves locked out under a plan up for vote at next week's Arizona Board of Regents meeting.
A work group created by the board last May has recommended that the residency requirements at the three state universities be narrowed, estimating that about 1,000 students may lose their residency status if the new guidelines are implemented.
Residents at the University of Arizona and Arizona State University now pay $1,844 per year for tuition, while non-resident students pay $7,284.
The group's recommendations include increased emphasis on a student's financial independence in determining resident status, as well as disallowing them to use personal testimony to prove they are residents.
The group also suggests that the universities be allowed to reopen a student's file if necessary.
Financial independence refers to a student's self-generated money, said Abram Lares, chief UA residency officer. He said increased consideration of financial independence would make a small difference in the number of students establishing residency, but said he did not know how many.
He also said the provision allowing the school to reopen a student's file would not make a significant difference in the number of students granted residency because the UA rarely reopens files.
Student Regent Spencer Insolia said he thought the new residency guidelines would not have a significant effect on the universities, though each student switched from resident to non-resident status would pay about $5,400 more in tuition.
"It's obviously not a sweeping policy change if it's only affecting 1 percent of the student population," Insolia said. "In the context of a university that has a $1.6-billion all-funds budget, that's not a big deal."
But Regent John Munger said he was concerned about the number of students switching improperly to resident status.
"I think it's been going on for a long time," Munger said. "When you talk about $5,000 a student, that becomes a pretty big deal."
He estimated that if 1,000 students would change their status unde ~jump~r
the new guidelines, then the UA and ASU were costing themselves $5 million per year in students who were unfairly granted resident status.
"That's a lot of money," Munger said. "That would solve the deficit problem for the universities right off the top."
Regent Rudy Campbell said he believes the residency guidelines are being manipulated.
"I just know it's being abused," Campbell said. "They all came here from out of state and they are being educated at the state's expense."
The UA and ASU currently rank 25th among flagship universities in non-resident tuition at $7,284, according to a report released in January by the Arizona Students' Association.
"We're not hitting the kids over the head in any way," Campbell said. Read Next Article