Asking Arizona: Why is it so hard to get residency status at ASU?

The process of getting residency status usually takes between four and six weeks

Asking Arizona is the most accessible way for The State Press' readers to get their questions about the ASU community answered. 

The question:

Why is it so hard to get residency status at ASU? How can a student prove residency when the only big loan being offered by ASU is the parent plus loan, which if accepted essentially guarantees you do not get residency?

The answer:

The process takes an average of four to six weeks and involves a lot of paperwork and documentation that some student applicants do not have readily available. Students must prove that they are financially independent to be eligible for residency, and accepting a parent paid loan contradicts financial independence.

The explanation:

Simply put, state residency is the difference between paying in-state or out-of-state tuition.

Students can apply for residency at the ASU Registrar Office, and according to an ASU spokesperson, the average time it takes for a student to receive residency is four to six weeks. 

Among other things, in order to be eligible for residency, students must prove that they are planning to stay in the state beyond getting their education and that they are financially independent. 

This means that applying for residency is extremely difficult if a student’s parents are supporting them financially. Additionally, ASU is not authorized to grant exceptions to residency policies based on financial needs or academic performance. 

The spokesperson also said that there are multiple things students can do to prepare for the process such as petitioning early, especially in the fall semester as it gets particularly busy. 

Relying on other student’s input or experience can lead to petitions being denied, said the spokesperson because every situation is different, and what worked for one student will not work for all students.

Phillip Moore, a graduate student studying sustainability, was recently granted residency and said that the process was difficult, but he was happy he made the decision. 

“I did my undergraduate here and left, and then eventually got back to Arizona,” Moore said. “When I got back, I figured that because I had lived here for four years I would be good to go, but I was a bit weary because I was still listed as an out-of-state student.”

Moore said that in a meeting with his adviser, he was told that even though he had lived in Arizona for four years, none of that time counted toward his residency because he was living here for educational purposes. 

“The big question they asked me was ‘are you just getting your education here and leaving or are you here to stay,’ and for me, I had family out here, I have spent years here,” Moore said. “It kind of bummed me out that they still considered me an out-of-state student when I had lived here for almost six years.” 

His residency was denied on first attempt, but eventually granted. 

Garrick Taylor, spokesperson for the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that while residency is important, it should be much more accessible for people who have attended high school and wish to go to college in that same state.

“The business approach is we have students who went to high school here who would like to continue their education who are unable to do so,” Taylor said. “If you’re an Arizona high school graduate looking to attend one of the Arizona universities, we should try to remove barriers instead of build them.” 

Due to the amount of paperwork that the process requires, some students have difficulty with applying. 

Manisha Master, an academic advising manager, said that she has worked with students who lack experience with legal documents. 

“It’s something very new to them, many people who apply to college do it with the help of their parents,” Master said. “For a student to produce actual binders full of paperwork — it’s a difficult process.” 

However, for Moore, his residency status was well worth it. 

“Once I got residency, the University has been great,” Moore said. “I feel like the tuition is resolved. I’m very happy with the program I’m in, and I’m happy I’m paying what I’m paying.” 

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of the parent plus loan, it has been updated to reflect the changes. 


Reach the reporter at kreinha3@asu.edu and follow @ReinhartKatelyn on Twitter.

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