Florida A&M University is an amazing academic institution. It is a great place for African-American students who want to succeed in life. However,?the high costs of out-of-state tuition keep many students from continuing their education at FAMU.
Only 15 percent of students are out-of-state. These students pay more than $500 a credit hour. Receiving in-state tuition is a challenge for students who are not from Florida.
“It is too hard,” said Christian Harper, a first-year professional graduate student from Cleveland, Ohio. “If you’re a 4.0 student from out-of-state and you have to pay over $20,000 a year versus an in-state student with barely a 2.0 and they only pay like $5,000, it isn’t fair.”
Last year, students were told that in order to obtain in-state tuition they had to live off campus for a year, get a Florida driver’s license and register to vote in Florida. Meeting those requirements in addition to obtaining a declaration of domicile and a contract stating plans to live and abide by Florida residency rules used to make students eligible for in-state tuition.
That all changed on July 1, 2009, when the Florida Legislature changed the residency rules for students.
According to the new change of residency form, “the burden of proof is on the applicant to present clear and convincing documentation that supports permanent legal residency in this state for at least 12 months rather than temporary residency for the purposes of pursuing an education.”
In additional to the old requirements, new documents needed to prove permanent residency are: Florida vehicle registration, purchased permanent home in Florida which is occupied as a primary residence by the individual(s), lease for apartment/house (12-month period), Full time permanent employment (30 hours per week a for a 12-month period) and proof of gross income required for the year.
These are just some requirements to a longer list of documents that student’s feel are impossible to attain.
“I have been here for three years, and have tried everything to get in-state tuition,” said Nathaniel Hatten, a third-year business administration student from Bronx, NY. “The university should try to make it easier to obtain in-state because a lot of my friends back in New York want to come here but do not want to pay that amount for the whole time they will be in Florida. I pay rent in Florida, so I live here, which makes me a resident.”
Hatten said the costs associated with being an out-of-state student are too much.
“I am turned off now by the rule changes,” Hatten said. “It costs so much to pay rent, pay tuition, books and food.”
Being an out-of-state student is hard, especially when school due to transportation costs prevent students from traveling home. Easing the process of obtaining residency will only help diversify the university with students from different backgrounds and cultures. If there is no push for a change in how in-state tuition is obtained, out-of-state students may not want to join the FAMU community.