Archive for Monday, February 5, 2007

A plug for the brain drain

Bill expands eligibility for in-state tuition

February 5, 2007


— Saying they want to plug the brain drain, lawmakers are looking at ways to make it cheaper for people with a Kansas connection to attend college in the state.

A measure winding through the Legislature would increase the number of students who would be eligible for the resident tuition rate, which is nearly three times less expensive than the nonresident tuition rate.

State Rep. Ann Mah, D-Topeka, said House Bill 2185 would help the state meet the demands of a fast-moving economy.

"We were told that over the next several years we would have to import thousands of degreed workers," Mah said. "If we cannot meet these demands, we face losing jobs."

Currently, if a Kansas resident leaves the state for more than a year, he or she must pay the more expensive nonresident tuition upon returning to the state and attending a regents university, such as Kansas University.

Mah's bill would allow students who graduated from Kansas high schools but now live out of state to return to Kansas and receive in-state tuition.

"With this change we will attract students to Kansas schools who are not now considering that option because of the cost," she said.

Higher education officials have been noncommittal about the measure, saying they haven't been able to estimate its fiscal impact because they can't determine how many students would return.

"However, since nonresident tuition is an important source of revenue, the bill's effect could be significant," according to a fiscal note from Kelly Oliver, director of finance for the Kansas Board of Regents. KU did not testify on the bill, saying it was a matter for the regents because it determines criteria for residency status.

But Mah said the legislation may have a positive fiscal effect on schools because more students would consider coming back to Kansas at the lower rate.

Kenneth and Elizabeth Scott, of Topeka, said their son, Chris, who grew up in Topeka, and attended law school at KU, had to pay the nonresident rate because he left the state for a year to work.

"In our minds, we think Chris was penalized in order to return home," they said.

Justin Cratty, an architecture major, has been fighting KU for years over being charged nonresident tuition.

Cratty grew up in Texas but his mother and her side of the family were native Kansans who always paid Kansas taxes on stores they owned in the state, he said.

After being in Lawrence for a year, Cratty applied for resident tuition in 2004 but has been denied because KU has determined he came here solely to get an education, and there is no guarantee that he will stay here once he graduates.

But Cratty said he plans to take over his uncle's business in the state and remain in Kansas.

"I am a permanent resident living here, and I feel I have the right to in-state tuition," he said.


staff04 11 years, 1 month ago

"Currently, if a Kansas resident leaves the state for more than a year, he or she must pay the more expensive nonresident tuition upon returning to the state and attending a regents university, such as Kansas University."

I can attest to this. What is funny about it is that even if a person maintains their legal permanent residence in Kansas, continues paying Kansas state taxes, and remains a registered voter in Kansas, they aren't eligible for in-state tuition. I lived in Kansas for 25 years and my family has been there for over 100 years. I moved to Washington, D.C. after college and took a political job that allowed me to retain my legal Kansas residency. That's right, the government of the State of Kansas recognizes me as a legal resident of the state. The Regents however, do not. The fact that I lived outside of the state for more than 12 months exempts me from returning to Kansas for graduate school and paying only in-state tuition. I still eventually plan to come back to live in Kansas and raise my family there, but the policy certainly postpones that.

For me, the real kick in the shins is that I am, and always have been, a LEGAL RESIDENT OF KANSAS!!! How can the state recognize my residency and the Board of Regents not be required to?

Kyyr 11 years, 1 month ago

I don't know about staff04's experience, but I had no problem getting in-state tuition. In 2004, I had been living outside of Kansas for five years while in the military. My legal residence was in Kansas and I payed state taxes, so all it took was a simple letter stating my case and I got the instate rate.

Nate Poell 11 years, 1 month ago

My experience matches Kyyr's. Spent four years outside Kansas, maintained my KS residency, came back for grad school and got the in-state rate. Perhaps it was a military-only exemption, but I never heard that being listed as a benefit.

staff04 11 years, 1 month ago

I understand that military are exempt, as they should be.

Danimal 11 years, 1 month ago

If you're in the military and change your state of residency during your service the state will shaft you on tuition. I maintained my residency and they still tried to do it because my application was post marked from Camp Lejuene, NC. After an appeal process during which I had to provide the University with tax documentation going back several years I got in-state tuition. I should have just stayed in North Carolina ang gone to UNC.

oldgoof 11 years, 1 month ago

Tanzers 7:07 post is simply incorrect.
. Tuition laws and regulations can be tricky, but Kansas' are mainstream, if not easier than others.
. It is easy to unfortunately lose Kansas residency even if you grew up in Kansas. Likewise in many states. The situation faced by Staff04 in Kansas occurs in other states too. He admits he was a resident of DC for employment purposes. . It is not easy to become a Kansas resident for fee purpose, especially if the first thing you did when you moved here was enroll in a school, or you express the reason to move here is to INTEND to go to school. You must intend to permanently live in Kansas, and that is demonstrated by living hear a year before attending higher education. . residency rules for CC's and universities are different, which is also the same in most states. . Rules for military situations have been amended to be more liberal, but there are still situations that aren't covered. Military residency is highly technical. But if you are in the military, don't claim your residence as Texas, as many do, to avoid taxes, and then expect Kansas or any other state to want to be helpful to you.

If you support yourself, and move to and live in the state for 12 continuous months before seeking to enter and attend higher education, you should not encounter residency problems. Don't attend a CC thinking you can get around university residency laws.

oldgoof 11 years, 1 month ago

Residency "for university fee purposes" is a completely different law and test than other residency laws. This is the same as other states. . If you lay your head down regularly on a pillow outside of Kansas and are paid wages while doing so, you have probably legally abandoned your Kansas residency "for fee purposes", despite being raised here, graduating from a KS high school, having all living relatives here, having a car registration, drivers license, and voting registration here. It may not seem right, but those are the rules. This situation is also similar to most other states' residency laws for public university fee purposes.

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