There is a lot of confusion and misinformation surrounding the process of getting in-state tuition for out-of-state students.
“I thought you had to live in Massachusetts for 3 years or so before being considered for in-state [tuition]. The exact law, though? I’m not too sure about that,” said Connor Greenfield, a UMass Lowell student from New Hampshire.
The bad news? Greenfield and others like him are probably out of luck. According to Tammy Millette, assistant to the Dean of Enrollment Management, even if students have lived in Massachusetts for the 183 days to become an official resident of the state, the requirements for obtaining in-state residency for tuition and fees is a separate policy. While they are most-likely going to pay out-of-state tuition for their time at UMass Lowell, there are a few hard-to achieve exceptions that a few students might be able to use to their advantage.
“This is not a UMass Lowell policy, it’s created by legislation and governed by the Board of Higher Education,” said Millette. Ms. Millette has heard from numerous out-of-state students that there is an “urban legend” in which students will automatically qualify for in-state tuition if they have simply lived in the state for a year. This is absolutely incorrect. Factors such as a person’s marital status, age, federal income taxes, dependency on their parents and potential visa status are some of the key features in determining a person’s eligibility for in-state tuition at the university.
Ally Feiss, a UMass Lowell student who is currently a California resident, discovered in her research that even if a student has lived in Massachusetts for over a year, they have to have a long-standing record of not being dependent on their parents.
“I began my research for receiving in-state tuition last year,” said Feiss. “While the process itself doesn’t seem to be too strenuous, it is hard to qualify for it.”
While Feiss had found her answer after thorough research, there are students like Greenfield who have feelings of uncertainty towards starting the process of receiving in-state tuition for out-of-state students. To begin this process, students are encouraged to contact Ms. Millette, by email or phone, as well as read the policy on the website.
“Due to the FERPA privacy law, a student must email Ms. Millette to give their parents permissions to discuss their specific situation with her.
Once a student has granted this permission, the residency officer is allowed to have the discussion with the parents.
The qualifications for a student to receive in-state tuition proved to be limiting, but Millette said that there are many aspects that do allow a student to get in-state tuition. Other out-of-state students have stated their inquiries about what the university has done to make this research readily available for other students like them.
Dominic Parlato is a UMass Lowell student from Rhode Island who has been interested in the process surrounding in-state tuition.
“I’ve always wondered if my proximity to Lowell would be a factor that leaves me unable to receive in-state tuition,” said Parlato. “I would love to see the university bringing more awareness to what is possible and what is not in terms of this issue.”
Every student is different and has different factors that can determine their residency status with the university, and Millette said that there are many options and steps to take in order to find out if you qualify for in-state tuition.
“I am always happy to answer questions for students and parents,” said Millette. “If you still have questions after visiting Enrollment & Student Success page in the UML Directory, you may fill out the 3-part application and submit it with supporting documentation. If an application is denied, there is an appeal committee as well.”
Millette is always willing to answer questions regarding in-state tuition. She ensures that the job of the residency officer is to apply the residency policy set by the state and to ensure everyone’s situation is given careful and equal evaluation.