In-state worth a fight

It is no secret that out-of-state students pay an extremely high amount of money for tuition compared to in-state students. Hailing from Montgomery, Ala., I know first-hand how expensive tuition can be. The high cost for an education, leaves several out-of-state students stressed out and trying to find ways to pay off their balance to the Cashier’s Office.

Some may pick up a job or two, while others may rely on numerous loans to help account for their fees. In the end, it all amounts to a substantial loss of funds, possible debt or bad credit.

For years, out-of-state students have been obtaining in-state residency to minimize the cost of tuition. However, the process of becoming an in-state student is not a piece of cake.

According to the Florida A&M University Registrar’s Office, “A Florida resident for tuition purposes is a person who has or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in Florida for at least 12 months.”

After attending FAMU for one year, many students meet these requirements and think their troubles are over. But they may be in for a rude awakening. Little do they know, that is the first of many tedious tasks that must be completed before they are up for in-state tuition consideration.

Proof of a Florida vehicle registration, full or part-time employment with proof of gross income and a Florida bank account are just a few of the documents that must be provided. If you do not meet the 12-month requirement you may qualify for a temporary in-state status.

Dominique Hackett, 22, a fifth-year business administration student from Detroit, said that she applied for in-state residency in 2005. She was denied the first time she applied, so she repealed their decision and was then granted in-state residency.

“My tuition went from $10,000 to $3,000,” Hackett said. “It was definitely worth it.”

She can now spend the thousands of dollars saved from tuition on other necessities.

Unfortunately, everybody isn’t as lucky as Dominique. Too many students aren’t being granted in-state status even after turning in all of the paperwork asked of them.

It seems unfair that students who get the same education don’t pay the same price after one year in attendance.

Any amount of money you can save is worth going through the trouble of getting in-state residency, especially if you can save thousands of dollars. If only FAMU could make obtaining in-state status less of a struggle, life on “The Hill” could be a lot less troublesome.

Leslie Moore is a freshman public relations student from Montgomery, Ala. She can be reached at