By Rocio Hernandez
The Nevada System of Higher Education has recently changed its residency requirements. As of fall 2014, out-of-state students that are looking to reclassify as a Nevada resident will have to pay out-of-state tuition for 12 months before they can start the process.
Manager for Records and Registrations at the University of Nevada, Reno Molly Boupré said that students are also no longer allowed to take a leave of absence and then come back and reclassify.
According to the application form, students must submit at least four pieces of documentation that are or are over 12 months old.
“The top three that we look for are a driver’s license, a vehicle registration and our voter registration,” Boupré said. “If you don’t have one of those three then it kind of makes it a little bit more difficult for us to make a determination because we are looking for clear and convincing evidence that you are resident of the state.”
Admissions and records also accepts among other things utility bills, jobs and lease agreements dated 12 months prior to the application. Those lease agreements can include time spent in the residence hall, but the students will have to provide lease agreements for the winter and summer break.
This information is required to prove to the university and the board of regents that you are abandoning your residence in another state. This often includes that students under the age 24 file their own taxes independently from their family.
“If your parents do claim you as a dependent that’s an automatic denial because you’re basically stating that you’re a resident of another state,” Boupré said. “It’s a big decision that families have to make and we always tell them you’re going to want to contact your tax consultant and talk to them before you do anything like this because it’s something very serious that I can’t help them with.”
The admission and records office offers free help to students who are interested in becoming a Nevada resident, but In-State Angels founder Jake Wells said that for some student this might not be enough.
“A lot people have the tendency to trivialize the process and thinks that it’s easier than it actually is,” Wells said. “Then they’re surprised a year later when they turn in their [residency] position and [say], ‘oh I forgot this, this and this or I thought I could do this.’”
Wells’ company walks students and their families through the reclassification process for a price. According to Wells, ISA charges students from Nevada 10 percent of what they will save once they are accepted as in-state students.
ISA states on their website that students will not owe them anything if they were unable to qualify for in-state through the company’s fault.
According to Boupré, reclassification is for students that are interested in staying in the state after their time at the university, something that she believes could benefit the state’s economy in the long run.
“If you keep a lot of educated people here in Nevada, it’s better for Nevada,” Boupré said.
However, she knows that some students are just looking for cheaper tuition.
“The intention is that you are going to remain here after you graduate so when you move here you take the necessary steps to be a Nevada resident as well as being a student,” Boupré said.
Wells also believes that in-state tuition should mean that a person has a desire to be in the state.
“Some people think that they deserve in state tuition just because they so happen to go to school in Nevada and I disagree,” Wells said.
Both entities advise students to start the reclassification process early in order to meet application deadlines.
“Right off the bat, what I tell people especially right now with new freshman coming in is go get your driver’s license, go register to vote,” Boupré said. “Those two are the easiest things to do and it doesn’t hurt anything to do those.”
Wells advises students to not take a long time to make up their mind because the least they could lose from it is time.
Rocio Hernandez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.