New law lets Mississippi universities waive out-of-state tuition | News
OXFORD, MS- (WMC-TV) - At Ole Miss, the price tag for an education depends on where you're from, but now there's a new state law in Mississippi that will allow universities to waive out-of-state tuition.
"For a student coming from outside the state, they'll be paying $9,000 per year more because they're an out- of-state student," said Larry Ridgeway, Vice Chancellor of student affairs.
After Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed the law, Ridgeway said the university will be allowed to waive those fees if they choose.
"It's up to the chief executive of each institution," Ridgeway said.
The likely scenario, according to Ridgeway, would be for the school to set a standard for waivers rather than judge them on a case by case basis.
He said the school currently waives out-of-state tuition for academic achievements, test scores, high school grades or if a student is joining a student organization like band or chorus.
Students from outside Mississippi were excited to learn that there might be a more affordable option for others back in their towns.
"For us who are out-of-state, and there's a ton of us here, for us to have the opportunity to get somewhat of an in-state tuition would be phenomenal," said student Drake Carmody.
A quick scan of the license plates on campus reveals tags from as far away as Illinois and Texas along with neighbor states like Tennessee, Louisiana and Alabama.
"We have quite a few students from out of state as is," Ridgeway continued.
"In fact our last few freshman classes we were pretty close to 50-50."
The Memphis area sends plenty of students from the Volunteer State.
"I'm from Collierville and so close to the border that I'm only an hour away from Ole Miss and I should be getting the same tuition as those that are from Hattiesburg who are five hours away," said student Stewart Birani.
According to Ridgeway, the final decision will come after Ole Miss leaders decide how they might take advantage of the new waiver option.
With so many out-of-state students, Ridgeway said the school could lose revenue if they waived too many.
"We would have to take into account what revenue we could lose by doing this. Because of the fact that if you made a decision to take in students from a certain geographical area, for instance Shelby County, then basically you'd be taking in all qualified students from the Shelby County area that met your requirements - and basically be waiving their out-of-state tuition so you'd be forgoing that revenue for students that would have come to you anyhow," Ridgeway said.
Mississippi universities are not able to start taking advantage of the waiver option until after July. Ridgeway said Ole Miss wouldn't likely make any changes to their process until the fall of 2013.
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