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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cheating on tuition thanklessly slaps university in the face

    There is a wide variety of embarrassing and disgraceful ways to potentially get thrown out of the UA.

    Some common circumstances include failing out, trouble with the law and plagiarism. These may be bad ways to go, but there’s one group that belongs in the seventh circle of academic hell: tuition cheaters.

    Though not too pricey in comparison to private schools and some other universities, the UA’s out-of-state tuition is by no means inexpensive. Out-of-staters pay $8,140.92 each semester while Arizona residents owe only $2,523.92. The differential tuition fees and increases are practicalities to take into account before making the decision to enroll in an out-of-state school. As an out-of-state student myself, I’m not pleased with the Arizona Board of Regents’ $2,350 tuition increase for the 2008-2009 school year. Though college would be more affordable where I maintain residency, I knew what I was financially setting myself up for as a student at the UA, as should everyone who made the same choice.

    Though out-of-staters are ineligible for in-state rates, some try to obtain them in illegal and unethical ways. The Arizona Board of Regents claims that any student found to have made a false or misleading statement concerning domicile or tuition status is subject to dismissal from the university. Getting thrown out of the UA is a risk that some out-of-staters are more than willing to take to save money, but they have no right to unfairly reap the same benefits as Arizonans. Non-residents do not pay state income taxes, direct taxes or Arizona property taxes, nor have they contributed more than a few years of state sales taxes to the state of Arizona. Thus, there is necessary differential tuition for in-state and out-of-state residents.

    According to the Office of the Registrar, there are two main criteria for obtaining residency: “”A student must demonstrate U.S. citizenship, permanent residency or legal immigration status and establish their legal domicile in Arizona for at least one year immediately proceeding the last day of registration for the semester for which the student proposes to attend the university.””

    These standards are too low for out-of-staters with family residents of Arizona. I knew an exceptionally well-off out-of-state student who used an Arizona relative’s address to claim false in-state residency and paid in-state fees as a result. Since this student is saving thousands upon graduation, the student’s father promised $20,000 for saving him a substantial amount of money on college.

    Other students emancipate themselves from their parents just to get scholarships and deals on tuition, and some take money out of their bank accounts while filling out the FAFSA and other scholarship applications to appear to have a whole lot less than they actually do. What’s especially interesting is that a lot of these students are not hard-up for cash or desperately struggling to pay for college. They just want to see what they can get away with in contributing as little as possible to the university.

    We all understand that higher education is expensive and likely costs more than it should, but it’s unjust to resort to illegal measures to save money. A college degree is the best investment you’ll ever make, so why repay the college by manipulating and robbing the institution that is giving you a lifetime of opportunities? In cheating the university on tuition, you are showing a tremendous disrespect to the university and your professors and downgrading your education.

    When asked for his input, UA President Robert Shelton said: “”Cheating is not acceptable and should not be tolerated. We require documentation for establishing in-state residency and I am confident that the admissions and financial aid offices are diligent in applying the policies.”” That said, Shelton seems confident that the UA Office of Student Financial Aid strives to prevent fraud and cheating, but it’s definitely not unheard of as there are students who have figured out how to scam the system (with help and encouragement from their parents, in many cases). With 40,000 students to worry about, the Office of Admissions cannot possibly catch every thieving student in the act.

    Students who shamelessly and gladly rip off a college most likely don’t see a problem cheating anyone out of their money. Instead of engaging in such disrespectful and downright pathetic behavior, scammers should quit while they are ahead and take a stab at honesty – it doesn’t get much lower than denying the education system the money it needs. The university should receive what it asks of students, so if you are unwilling to pay the necessary fees just because you don’t feel like it, you do not deserve to be here, or at any college.

    Laura Donovan is a creative writing sophomore. She can be reached at

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