Regents approve clearer, simpler guidelines for in-state tuition
The Board of Regents voted 6-2 Thursday to approve changes in the guidelines for how students can qualify for in-state tuition. The changes take effect in January 2014.
The revised guidelines specify three avenues for attaining in-state tuition: through residence in the state; through attendance in Michigan schools for middle school and high school; through service in the U.S. military or Public Health Service.
Provost Martha Pollack, who recommended the changes, said the new guidelines would make the process more transparent and easier to understand for students and their families.
"We believe these changes create a clearer path to in-state tuition for several groups of future students, including military veterans and undocumented students," Pollack said.
Speaking in support of the recommendation, Regent Julia Donovan Darlow praised the students who kept the issue before university officials.
Regent Mark J. Bernstein said there were many good reasons to support the recommendation both for veterans and for undocumented students. "There are very few moments when strands of history weave together and today is one of those extraordinary moments," he said.
Regent Andrea Fischer Newman, who voted against the measure with Regent Andrew C. Richner, said she supported extending in-state tuition to military personnel, but did not agree with offering it to undocumented students. "I have serious concerns about whether this is appropriate under federal law, and believe this type of national issue should be resolved at the federal level," she said.
Regents' comments came after six members of the public spoke in support of the changes. Approval was applauded loudly by the audience.
The changes to what have been called residency guidelines represent the first comprehensive revisions since 2005.
The in-state tuition guidelines enhance the service avenue by offering in-state tuition to active-duty military personnel, officers of the Public Health Service and military veterans, without regard to the student's legal residence. The in-state tuition status also will be offered to spouses or dependent children of active duty military personnel stationed in Michigan.
The attendance avenue is a new option not previously offered. Students who attend a Michigan middle school for two years, then attend a Michigan high school for at least three years before graduating will qualify for in-state tuition as long as they start their U-M education within 28 months of graduation.
These changes to the U-M in-state tuition guidelines, however, do not affect U-M admission standards or federal guidelines for financial aid.
Pollack said it is important to note that these changes do not affect most in-state students who are admitted because they clearly are Michigan residents.
But there are students who have out-of-state activity for themselves or their parents that would necessitate filing an application of resident classification. It is through that process, handled by a small team in the Office of the Registrar, that students can demonstrate their Michigan ties through one of the three avenues.
In each of the past two years, students have filed about 2,000 applications for resident classification on all three U-M campuses. Nearly 80 percent of those were granted in-state tuition.
University officials say it is not clear how many more students may qualify for in-state tuition under the new guidelines.