I moved to Florida on Dec 29, 2005 as a result of hurricane Katrina. My husband and I lived in New Orleans until then and even for a few months after the evacuation was over. I applied to USF in Tampa in October of 05, before we moved, but had trouble getting my transcripts out of my previous schools who were working out of makeshift offices in Houston and Baton Rouge. I sat out last spring semester because of it, and wasn't finally accepted until July. I called and e-mailed to find out USF's policy on Katrina evacuees and tuition (not looking for a free ride, just to see if I'd be penalized for transferrring as a result of my old school being underwater). Turns out instead I got penalized for being an adult. Because I wasn't in school for the entire 2005-06 school year, I was ineligible for in state tuition. If I had been a 19 year old kid who transferred here a week after Katrina - and then transferred back once her school in NO reopened - I could have paid in state, but since we waited to decide on a move until my DH's job decided where they would move us to permanently, I am still considered an out of state resident.
That bothered me, but I figured it was just one semester. I swallowed my pride and asked my mother for a $2000 loan to cover half the tuition. USF's policy requires that you "maintain domicilioraty" in Florida for one year before the semester prior to which you claim in state residency. No problem, thinks me, we moved here Dec 29 2005, 9 days before one year before spring semester starts. Of course, the first thing I did when I moved here was not to read USF's residency policy's fine print. I continued hassling my old schools trying to get enrolled for that spring, and I looked for work. A month after we moved her (1/27) I got around to going to the DMW and getting a new license. My husband still hasn't had the chance. I also didn't get a job until the middle of January.
I filled out all the residency paperwork. I sent in our lease that we physically signed on 12/29. I sent letters from both of our bosses, more importantly his stating that he had a job in Florida on 12/29. I sent the marriage certificate and I sent my DL, voter registration, car registration. We only have one car. It's in my name, and it's why he hasn't been able to get his new license - I always drop him off at work on weekdays b/c he's on my way, and he only has access to the car on nights and weekends.
Well, we got denied, of course. It took me three e-mails and four phone calls to get a straight answer out of this woman who's in charge of the applications. Tuition is due today, and I am $4000 short. Out of state tuition is more than 4x what in staters pay. I still owe my mother $1000 from the last loan. DH is going to make an appt. at the DMV as soon as possible, and we'll add his DL to our file and hope they'll reconsider us. I can still pay with a late fee (only $100) by Feb 2 and not get dropped, but I don't know where to get the money. They want me to pay the full 5500 and then they'll "reimburse me later" if they approve my application. I just don't have it. I don't even have the space on my credit cards. I can't ask my mother again, and I don't even know that they'd have it. This is just for my last three prereqs. I'm supposed to start the accelerated program in May, but if I borrow too much more money I don't know if I'll get approved for student loans. If I sit out this semester it'll cost me another year before I can get into the program, because they're changing admissions policies. I already lost a year to Katrina and I can't lose another one. Again, I'm not trying to get one over on anyone, nor am I asking for anything for free. I am asking for the right to pay the correct tuition for my education, in the state that I live and pay taxes in. I can't believe this. Don't know if I'm asking for advice or just venting, but thanks!
Jan 12, '07
Oh wow, I am so sorry to hear that. Honestly it sounds like you're situation is completely justifiable and I can't understand why they wouldn't accept your evidence of residency that you have offered. There must be someone else who can help you? Also, at my CC they have a first college class scholarship if it's your first time enrolling in the school (granted there are some stipulations) but a friend of mine qualified for it and it only shows that she has been living here for 6 months (as far as evidence goes) I never even knew we had that scholarship but perhaps you can ask if there are any options like that for you to cut down on the cost? And I would definately call around and state your case to see if someone else can help you. Think about the times you may have worked in Customer Service and the customers outcome was ultimately your choice to make. Sounds like the lady in charge that you spoke to could have been having a bad day. Maybe there is someone else. Honestly, I am one who does abide by the book but when it comes to situations like yours, even I would make sure you got in with the in-state tuition. Don't give up, just keep digging for options within the college. It sounds completely wrong in my opinion.
Jan 13, '07
My question is, why did they say you were denied? I pulled up the residency requirements for the school (http://www.registrar.usf.edu/Residen...nt_Student.php
) and it sounds like you did everything right. They state that "[FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]At least one such document must be dated/issued at least 12 months prior to the first day of the semester for which Florida residency is sought." which you have .. your lease (was your voter registration or car registration updated within that time frame also?). The lease also satisfies the "proof of physical presence". I understand the perspective regarding the need to abandon all legal ties to other states, but I think they should take your situation into account if at all possible.
Under the exceptions, you also qualify as having a spouse who has resided in the state for 12 months, as evidenced by your marriage certificate and your husband's proof of employment and the lease with his name on it.
If I were you, I would find out the exact reasoning behind the denial, re-gather your evidence, and appeal the decision. You can appeal the decision once to the Registrar's Office and receive notification in writing.
I did a lot of research about state residency requirements when I moved to go to nursing school, so feel free to contact me if you have other questions.
In the meantime, I would also see if you can take equivalent classes (I assume you're doing prereqs for the program starting in May) at a local CC whose out of state tuition might be cheaper. If they transfer to USF then you'll still be able to start on time and it'll give you a whole other "semester" in which to appeal your residency, which I can't imagine would be denied since the bulk of your evidence is from January.
Jan 13, '07
I agree with Megsd. I moved from New York to Florida over six years ago, and although I had to pay out of state tuition for two semesters, once I made my one year residency, I went immediately to the Registrar with my DL (which I made sure I got the first business day that I could after I moved), and my lease agreement. That sufficed.
Have you been mailing your info or had you actually gone to the school. I hope it works out for you. I think that sometimes people want to see how much you will jump through hoops to get what you want (good practice for nursing school). Just keep after them. If you've met your one year, that should be it. Considering what you went through in NO, I think that they would try to be a little more accommodating.
Jan 13, '07
My husband can show continuous employment from 2005 in Florida, but apparently that's not enough. HE never went and got his Florida DL, which I know you're supposed to do within a certain # of days, but it's not something you usually even get ticketed for. He has an appointment at the DMV on Tuesday, at which point we can resubmit, although the lady was very noncommittal about whether or not that would actually help my case. As far as my paperwork is concerned, the only thing with my name on it from before 1/7/06 is the lease, and a lease alone doesn't prove residency. If I would have had a job already I would have been fine. I even had my boss sign a letter saying that I applied for a job there and interviewed on Jan 4, but that I had to wait a month to start as there were no openings at that time. That is also worthless. I also included a letter about Katrina, hoping that it would help show that our move here was of a permanent nature. It seemed like the attitude of this woman is that her job is to find a reason to deny you. Even if it means that the school will get no money out of me b/c I'll have to drop out, it seems that they would rather have that than give me "discounted" tuition. I too read the requirements, and they state that only thing must be dated prior to 1/7. They have a "residency calculator" where you check off what documentation you have, and it spits out a non-binding estimation of whether you qualify or not. It told me I should. That's why I didn't really worry or make other arrangements to either borrow the money or go to a CC. We're already a week into classes is the other problem, so I couldn't transfer to HCC this semester either. We're going to try to resubmit, and then attempt to get a private bank loan if that doesn't work...massive student debt, here I come! I just can't wait a whole aditional year unless there is literally no other option. Thanks for your thoughts so far...
Jan 15, '07
Damn! that is not right! but i went through the same exact thing here in florida. I moved from Portland, OR to Miami, 08/15/05, and had to pay out of state tuition for one whole school year (two semesters) because my drivers license wasn't issued until 28 days (9/16/05)after the beginning of Fall 2005, 8/24/05. I almost had to pay three semsters including this past Fall 2006 because my license wasn't issued till 9/16/05...and the year wouldn't be until 9/16/06. I officially arrived 8/15/05. But i went back a second time after they said it needed to be a year or more with all my stuff and told them that i was physically here and enrolled in classes at their school for Fall 2005 (8/24/05) and that i paid out of state tuition for two whole semesters and that it was unethical for them to require me to pay one more semester for 20 days. Because your right, the difference is monumental! in-state at the community college was like $63/credit, $820 and out of state was $250/credit, $3,000 so i got slammed. i applied for federal stafford loan and thats how i OVER-paid for a community college associates degree but you know what...i would do it all over again because the year off would have ruined me and my nursing school plans...momentum is sooo hard to regain once lost. And to top it all off this is the first school i have ever been to that makes you pay upfront for all your classes instead of deducting it from your stafford student loan since they are the ones that process that anyway. I ended up telling the financial aid lady off big time! i told her why in the hell would i be applying for financial aid of any sort if i had the $3000.00 in my pocket to pay it up front only to be reimbursed later on! What kind of stupid aid system is that! some un-itelligent ignorant fool in tallahassee probably thought up that one all by themselves in order to keep the lesser fortunate out of school. Thats absolutely ridiculous! In Oregon, you applied for federal aid and they just discounted the tuition from your f-aid once the feds released the funds every semester! No out of pocket expenses...i mean i think how do people pay for school who don't have family who can loan them the money to pay these tuition costs up front when they are applying for the aid in the first place. I'm so glad i'm set to do nursing school in georgia, private school w/ scholarship so i don't have to worry about out state again...the sooner out of this crummy state the better...two years here are way more than enough, way more...everything is sooo backwards here...like upside down, inside out backwards! I shoulda known when they couldn't even count the votes right...shoulda known...
Jan 15, '07
Exactly! They told me the same thing! I didn't apply for aid since I can afford in-state tuition. When they still hadn't bothered to process my request, they said, "well, just pay the fees, and then we'll reimburse you when we get to it." Well, idiots, I don't have an extra 4 grand to lend you for a month, at no interest by the way, until you feel like preocessing my request. I don't even have the room on my credit cards, and I'm not asking them to raise my limits! I'm not some kid with rich parents - if I was, I wouldn't be at a public school. I'm a 27 year old married woman, and unfortunately I married for love and not for money. I do believe that if I jump through enough hoops they will probably charge me what it's supposed to be, but it's just irritating the heck out of me. I have more important things to do - like study - and if anyone with half a brain glanced at my application it's obvious that I have lived here for the required amount of time. She just found a technicality so the school can at least make the $100 late fee out of me if not more. I'm guessing that's her job description. Anyways, thanks for listening to me vent y'all. Hope you're better off in Georgia!
Jan 15, '07
How horrible...sounds like a bad bad deal to me. I wouldn't back down, that is for sure - definitely try to get it done!!!