Thursday, February 26, 2015

2015 Indiana Senate Bill 0345 - Qualification for Indiana Post-Secondary Residential Tuition Rate

Indiana SB 0345 has been introduced by Senator Earline Rogers. The purpose of this bill is to establish a statutory proscription for students to be qualified for residential tuition rates to attend a public college in Indiana.

The first section makes technical changes to IC 12-32-1-6 that are necessary to implement the proposed new chapter. It also adds that an agency or a political subdivision required to verify the eligibility of an individual shall require the individual to execute a verified statement. The statement shall be made under penalty of perjury and include that the individual is not applying for any state or local public benefit or federal public benefit, other than the resident tuition rate, that is provided by the agency or political subdivision.

The second section of the bill is the new section which will be in statute at IC 21-14-11.5. It provides the qualifications that a prospective Indiana public post secondary educational institution must meet for eligibility as an in-state student for tuition paying purposes. The individual must have attended a high school in Indiana for at least three (3) years, register as an entering student at, or is currently enrolled in a state educational institution not earlier than the fall semester (or its equivalent, as determined by the state educational institution) of the 2015-2016 academic year, and have graduated from a high school located in Indiana or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in Indiana.

Under Indiana Administrative Code 500-1-1-4(7), which has expired, the Indiana Commission on Higher Education required that a prospective student “be domiciled in the state on or before December 31 of the year preceding application for an award and be continuously domiciled in the state thereafter. For a dependent student, the determination of residency status was based upon the permanent place of residence of the parents of the student. Senator Roger’s bill would require that the student be domiciled in Indiana longer than previously. The basis for having two rates set is because a residential student is assumed to have or have parents who contributed financially to the coffers of the State of Indiana.

I had an issue last year with this topic when my son was denied residential tuition rate because I was alleged to not be a resident of the state of Indiana by the Registrar of Indiana University, Bloomington. As a child of divorced parents my son was entitled to receive residential tuition rate where either parent was domiciled. In this appeal brief I challenged the finding of Indiana University that I was not domiciled in Indiana. Although I appeared for oral argument, the reviewing panel concluded that I was domiciled in Indiana and oral argument was unnecessary.

I would like to see Senator Roger’s amend her bill to include a provision that a child of divorce will qualify if either parent resides in Indiana for at least the three year period. Additionally, some statutory requirements should be delineated that are logically related to confirming residency rather than the arbitrary list that Indiana University mandated.

I do support the underlying purpose of this bill but I do want to ensure that children like my son, who was born and raised in Indiana, has over 90% of extended maternal and paternal family living here, and intends to live here but was moved to Kansas City by his mother, will still qualify.

Click here to see other 2015 Indiana Child Custody and Child Support Payment bills.

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