After the excitement of getting into the college of her choice wears off, a student may soon wonder how she will pay for her newfound prize. Though higher education is almost always a sound investment given its potentially tremendous return and importance in getting a good job, the cost is daunting—sometimes even prohibitive—for many students. Public undergraduate and graduate schools are an attractive option for many students because of lower tuitions. Yet state universities deny many students the full measure of this benefit.
Public universities usually charge significantly higher tuition rates to out-of-state students than in-state students. A nonresident student may find herself paying as much as three times what her resident counterparts pay. Consequently, a student’s classification as a resident or nonresident may determine whether she can afford higher education. State statutes and school regulations often require that students have resided in the state for at least a year before they can be classified as residents for tuition purposes. As a result, state colleges frequently deny many students the benefit of lower tuition for at least a year, regardless of their intentions to make the state their permanent home.