A N N   A R B O R   I S   O V E R R A T E D . (a blog.)

Comments:

anna () - 2003-11-07 11:31:24
Bah! Do I get credit for calling it "provincial and pretentious" first?


Joe F. () - 2003-11-07 13:04:56
Yes, my advisor's impossible demands before letting me finish my degree were actually something "deep inside me", preventing me from leaving Ann Arbor. I wonder if faculty get some kind of commission for keeping us all around forever - our miniscule grad student salaries being pumped into the Ann Arbor "economy". And as we continue to pay rent, pay taxes, vote, shop, serve on juries, register our cars, etc. in Ann Arbor/Washtenaw/Michigan for years and years, and the U. still refuses to call us "residents".

Alyssa () - 2003-11-07 18:09:16
I really think we should be thinking about filing some kind of lawsuit about the residency thing. I've lived in Ann Arbor for eight years. No other state will call me its resident. I can't get in-state residency anywhere in the United States. Doesn't being a US citizen entail being a citizen of a state? Could it possibly be legal that this is true for every purpose but higher education?

Nick () - 2003-11-08 02:55:09
Every time I walk around my neighborhood, which features an Applebey's. a Pier 1, Office Max, the Olive Garden, Max & Erma's, Mervyn's, a Blockbuster, CVS, Domino's, and Bruegger's, I'm very thankful AA hasn't experienced any erasing of its character. Was anyone else hearing the theme song from the Smurfs in their heads reading this?

Jon () - 2003-11-08 07:42:42
ahhh...to be an undergrad again...

Larry Kestenbaum (polygon@potifos.com) - 2003-11-08 21:34:09

Alyssa, no, I don't think it's legal, but it hasn't been fully settled, and the universities are very gun-shy about it ever getting settled.

Michigan State University's policy (as it was in the 1970s/80s and probably continues today) is that nothing short of having graduated from a Michigan high school can qualify you for low in-state tuition rates. Marrying a native, working full time, buying a house here, voting or even running for office were specifically excluded as qualifying events.

If an out-of-state student had the temerity to marshal a body of evidence and file an application for in-state tuition, the university's automatic response was to send the applicant a form letter which stated, in so many words, that "the committee has considered and rejected your request". This "committee" never had any meetings and didn't consider anything. Only APPEALS from this "denial" got more than a perfunctory response, but the response was always negative.

Negative, that is, until you filed your lawsuit papers, and then the university would unblushingly pretend that it had just now received, in its infinite wisdom, granted your application.

So, yeah, YOU can file a lawsuit about the residency thing, and just suddenly win residency. That takes away your standing and motivation to blow up the whole system via a class action.

Of course, with new hurdles and restrictions on class actions now in place, the universities may no longer fear an out-of-state student and her lawyer.



David () - 2003-11-10 13:06:48
I can attest that the system does work for some people. My girlfriend moved to Ann Arbor from Los Angeles, got a job, worked for two years, and then applied to a Ph.D. Program at Michigan. Her residency application did get flagged, but they were content with her explanation that it was not her intent to enroll in school when she moved here, and they classified her as a resident. So yes, UM's residency qualifications are strict, and some might argue arbitrary, but it seems that they are also fair to people who do meet the standards.

ann arbor is overrated () - 2003-11-10 13:39:09
Wait, you can only get residency if you can prove you're not here to go to school, and that's fair? Ph.D. programs last a lot longer than many jobs in this economy. I had no idea it was that bad - fortunately, I care only about having an A2 driver's license.

Larry Kestenbaum (polygon@potifos.com) - 2003-11-10 15:17:49
You can get residency if you have enough facts on your side to become a credible lawsuit threat, hire a lawyer, and file papers. All else is detail.

ann arbor is overrated () - 2003-11-10 15:28:15
Also, if you're an RA/GSI, then you are an employee of the University. Do they really not count that as a job here? I'm confused on this whole thing.

David () - 2003-11-10 16:26:10
Fair? Of course it is. Would you classify people who moved here to go to school as residents? Then who would be the non-residents, people who didn't move here to go to school? Would there be any non-residents? In theory, a portion of the allocation that the University receives from the state subsidizes the attendance of state residents. This discounted tuition is the most direct way the University demonstrates its appreciation to the taxpayers. Under a truly fair system my girlfriend probably wouldn't be classified as a resident. She hasn't paid enough Michigan taxes to cover her tuition discount for one semester, and her parents have never paid taxes in Michigan, but she slipped through a loophole and is being subsidized by people who've lived in the state their entire lives and can't get any closer to going to school here than the football stadium. I'm happy for her (actually, I'm happy for Jacob Javits), but she was lucky. If she had moved here with a husband who was entering school, she would not now be a resident, even if nothing else about her situation were changed. That's what I call an arbitrary and questionable policy. But to suggest that it would be "fairer" if anyone who moved here for the purpose of attending school should automatically receive residency is absurd. The University would have to raise tuition across the board to compensate, the citizenry would revolt, and the state would threaten to cut off all funding. And it is the state's school. They can pretty much do with it as they please. Now, one might propose that students gain residency after their fifth year. That would keep most undergrads from gaining residency, and benefit many grad students as their guaranteed funding was running out. Or perhaps the state could consider something like an ROTC plan for out of state students wherein they would receive discounted tuition in exchange for a promise to remain in Michigan for the first five years of their working lives. That would let them earn their residency after the fact (or pay back the difference), and demonstrate a vested interest in the welfare of the state. And it would make the cities cooler, apparently.

anna () - 2003-11-10 17:54:32
To add to the confusion, for the university's purposes, you are treated as a resident after you acheive PHD candidacy. If you department is paying your tuition, they pay in-state tuition. If a grant is paying, they pay in-state tuition. I think that's even true if you're paying your own tuition. For example, I had to be enrolled for the semester during which I defended, even though I'd already left Ann Arbor and had started a job. The tuition they were going to charge me (before my department picked it up) was in-state tuition.

Nick () - 2003-11-11 08:41:55
I'm with AAIO on this one. I've attended or worked at state universities in CA, PA, and NC, and they all operate on the policy that you can apply for residency after one year. U-M's policy is somewhat anachronistic (something anachronistic in Ann Arbor? Unbelievable!).

todd (brewer@leopoldbros.com) - 2003-11-11 11:23:07
Could one of the grad students here tell me what the cost for tuition is, together with the hours a TA is required to work per year to get this tuition. Is there pay and insurance given as compensation as well.

ann arbor is overrated () - 2003-11-11 14:21:57
I'm not sure exactly how much out-of-state tuition is.

I'm in a technical field, so things might be different than in other departments. We do get stipends and insurance, at least in my department, and you don't necessarily have to teach anything to get it if you have a research assistantship of fellowship. Even for TAs, the hours you work can't be considered to be just the hours you spend teaching - the main point for everyone is doing research.

It's a lot of work, and I believe we're compensated fairly.


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