Students officially have less time to appeal for in-state residency — and may find residency harder to prove — thanks to an updated state residency manual.
Previously, students billed as out-of-state were given the entire semester to appeal for in-state status. Within the past few years, however, they have had only 10 days from when the semester started.
The shortened period was in practice but was not in the state residency manual until August, when it became state law.
“The new laws were not in the state manual, but they had already been incorporated,” said Roberta Kelly, associate university registrar.
The change was made so that the state budget can be organized and allocated earlier in the year because tuition dues are a major contributor to the budget.
Chris Derickson, University registrar, said that the earlier deadline will definitely impact students by cutting their appeal time.
“This change does impact students a lot,” he said.
All students must state their residency status when initially applying to the University or to a program within the school. Eighty-one percent of enrolled undergraduates in fall 2010 were residents.
Students accepted as residents pay an in-state tuition, while those not accepted pay a higher out-of-state tuition.
Although the change may cause more students to pay out-of-state tuition, Derickson said it is meant to make the system more efficient, not to generate revenue.
Officials also said students will have the same academic experience whether or not they are residents.
Ashley Memory, senior assistant director of undergraduate admissions, said that while in-state students receive preference in admissions, accepted students are treated the same regardless of residency.
She added that residency determination is a very individual process and that two individuals with similar situations may be judged differently.
North Carolina does not have a set checklist of criteria to automatically make a student eligible for in-state residency and tuition, Kelly said.
Proving permanent residency for a year or sharing a home address with parents or guardians in the state does help a student’s case, she added.
Though the process isn’t standardized, Derickson hopes to make it simpler.
“I want to bring a sense of clarity and consistency to the process,” he said.
He plans to do this with frequent training sessions, which he began just a few months ago, and by meeting regularly with those who determine residency. He also wants to communicate effectively with the campus community.
Derickson wants local rules for residency drafted to extend beyond the state’s rules and help make the process consistent.
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