Out-of-state students share tips about getting residency

One-third of the undergraduate student population faces almost $15,000 extra tuition fees as nonresidents.

An almost $15,000 extra tuition fee looms over one-third of the undergraduate student population this year, according to the Admissions Department website and MU News Bureau.

Nonresident undergraduate numbers have increased since 2000, and are now at 11,108, according to the Fall 2015 Enrollment Summary. Their out-of-state status adds the fee, which is set by the UM System Board of Curators.

To alleviate the extra financial burden, many out-of-state students petition for Missouri residency. The process involves staying in Missouri for a year, making $2,000 in Missouri taxable income and providing documents to the Residency Department staff.

Here’s a guide to getting residency from the practical application requirements to tips on how to make the most of a summer in Columbia.

Forms and Finances

The Residency Department office provides a requirement list [(http://registrar.missouri.edu/residency/residency-requirements.php)] and a video, [(http://registrar.missouri.edu/residency/)] which outline the application process.

The list and video point out important documents, how to prove residency over the summer and how much time outside Missouri is allowed. Some of these documents include pay stubs and leases proving work and residency, as well as copies of a Missouri driver’s license and voter’s registration.

Senior Bryan Webber from Illinois received Missouri residency in 2013. He said one part many students forget is not being claimed as a dependent on parent’s tax forms for the previous year. Webber also said the amount of money saved for tuition is much more than what parents save on dependent child tax exemptions, so the one year of extra taxes is worth it.

Junior and Texas native Annalise Breaux received residency during in summer of 2015. She recommends organizing all documents with several copies in a binder so when the time of application comes, everything is at hand.

House Hunters

Students moving out of residence halls or in a housing transition during the summer turn to friends, Facebook and classifieds sites like Craigslist to find short-term leases and subleases.

When staying to get residency, Webber subleased from a friend, as did junior Devin Feeney who received residency during summer of 2015. Both lived in residential areas and not in large student housing complexes.

“I think it was nice realizing that there is actually life outside of campus,” Feeney said. “It just helped me realized how big Columbia is and also experience the town as a whole rather than only experience the college aspect.”

Feeney said double checking the dates on leases between spring, summer and fall to make sure they match up is a good idea. If there are gaps, some extra paperwork may be needed to prove residency.

Feeney said one’s attitude going into the summer will set a tone for the experience.

“I think it's important to go in not having the mindset of ‘Oh, I'm stuck here,’ since you only get 14 days out of the state,” Feeney said. “I started off thinking that way, so it was kind of tough when summer came and I realized I was really truly going to have to stay up here.”

Money Managing

Junior Jessica Heim-Brouwer from Illinois, who got residency last summer, said that a consistent part-time job is key to making the $2,000 of required taxable income, which is not as bad as it may sound.

Students wanting to receive residency need to be making several debit/credit card transactions per week to prove they were in the state, Webber said keeping an eye on your financial paper trail is crucial to ensure no uncertainty about the number of days spent in Missouri and those spent out of state. Students are allowed 14 days away in the summer and are able to travel for breaks during the school year.

Overall Experience

Out-of-state students, such as Hein-Brouwer, have found that though the application process and time away from home can be long, the money saved is worth the effort.

“Staying over the summer was a great opportunity for me to get some credits out of the way and earn some money,” Hein-Brouwer said. “And plus, your tuition is (much) cheaper once you're a resident, so I'd say the process was totally worth it.”

Some out-of-state students are also glad for the opportunity to see Columbia in the summer, and participate in activities or events during those months.

”Columbia in the summer is really great, and it's easy to meet other people and have fun exploring the town,” Feeney said.

Edited by Hailey Stolze | hstolze@themaneater.com

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