When Blake Stretton came to CSU from Scottsdale, Ariz., his freshman year, he had scholarships and was involved in residence life and campus fitness.
â€œI looked at the school and liked the school. Then I ran around the town and fell in love with the town,â€ Stretton said.
But Strettonâ€™s parents recently lost their jobs and can no longer support him financially. He is now fighting to become a Colorado resident â€“â€“ and he is not alone.
During fall semester, Student Financial Services granted in-state residency to more than 93 percent of applicants â€“â€“ or 528 out of 566 applicants â€“â€“ from out-of-state.
But according to Colorado law undergraduate students younger than 23 years old, unmarried and listed as dependent on their parentâ€™s tax forms are considered, unarguably, out-of-state students.
To change this, some students must seek legal emancipation from their parents and live in Colorado for 12 consecutive months without any family support. Official documents proving financial independence must be provided as well.
Parents can also move to the state and after a year claim the student as dependent, which would also change the residency status.
Cheaper tuition is the main incentive for most out-of-state students to choose Colorado as their home, said LeAnn Schnader, CSU tuition classification officer and residency expert.
CSU President Tony Frank said earlier this month that further cuts from the state budget will guarantee students â€“â€“ residents or not â€“â€“ will see an increase in their base tuition bill.
Students who reside in Colorado will pay less overall than those who choose to attend CSU from other states. Non-resident students pay roughly $23,000 in tuition costs per year while Colorado residents pays $7,300 â€“â€“ a $15,700 difference annually â€“â€“ according to Christie Leighton, associate director of Student Financial Services.
â€œThe process is very difficult.Â If I ever get a monetary gift from a friend for a birthday or anything I can lose my chance of becoming an in-state (student),â€ Stretton said.
Strettonâ€™s course load is down to nine credits, which makes him ineligible for most scholarships. He funds his education through student loans and cannot receive help from anyone else, including family.
He also works around 27 hours per week at B.A.S.E. Camp, a local after-school program, giving him just enough money to pay rent and utilities for his apartment.
Though Stretton faces these challenges, becoming a resident is still worth it because he will save money and learn to pay for school himself.
â€œIt is a very hard process,â€ Stretton said in an e-mail to the Collegian.
â€œIf I fail â€¦ I am not sure what I will be able to do for school.â€
Leighton said students could receive gifts and small amounts of money as long as they are not used for tuition or other items that support the student, such as rent, utilities or insurance.
Student Financial Services will hold an orientation today at 3 p.m. and Wednesday at 11 a.m. for out-of-state students wishing to become Colorado residents. Those seeking residency status will receive a petition at the meeting in order to begin the process of acquiring Colorado citizenship.
The packet lists forms the student must complete if he or she wants to live in Colorado instead in order to take advantage of the tuition.
Money is not the only requirement. Students have to be serious about living in the state by submitting a yearâ€™s worth of taxes, bills, renterâ€™s receipts and various other forms.
â€œYouâ€™ve got to plan ahead,â€ Schnader said.
Crime Beat Reporter Rachel Childs can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- What: Residency Orientation
- When: 3 to 4 p.m.
- Where: 100-A Centennial Hall