SEATTLE -- It created an uproar a few weeks ago when the University of Washington said it would be accepting more out of state students because they pay three times as much as residents.
KING 5 News asked, how much more money does the school stand to make? That's when we found a possible loophole that revealed how many out-of-state students end up paying the resident rate.
Now with my loans, I'm only paying about a $1,000 a quarter, said UW student Yasmine Eltabib. It is really nice to look at my account balance when tuition comes around.
Born and raised in Colorado, Eltabib at first faced the toll of out of state tuition -- about $25,000 a year. But she pays a fraction of that now because she became a Washington state resident.
Basically just get a job, become financially independent, and establish yourself here, she said.
On the long list of requirements you'll also find conditions on work hours and class load.
I was only allowed to take six credits, Eltabib said, and spent 12 months as a part time student, working off campus at this book store 25 hours a week before it was finally official.
They pay three times as much, said UW's Norm Arkans. They help subsidize our resident students.
Arkans says decreasing the number of residents accepted fall semester to make room for more out of state students was needed because the university is facing $200 million-in state funding cuts.
That doesn't sit well at all, said UW alumni Kathy Batie. That's insult to injury...it's disappointing and as an alumni, it's really disappointing.
Marina Taylor is also upset. In addition to her community service of training guide dogs for the blind, the Issaquah High School senior gets good grades and participates in school activities. But her choice school, UW, offered her the wait list.
I thought I'd be a shoo in, but I guess I'm not, Taylor said.
Also puzzled is Mount Rainier High School senior Megan McGraw, who is now headed to Creighton University. With academic awards, a 3.8 GPA and many hours of volunteer work, she thought she would be wearing purple and gold.
Both do not like the increase in out of state students, especially when they hear about non-residents changing their status and tuition.
So how many out-of-state students are able to become residents? KING 5 requested three years worth of numbers from the University of Washington and found about 100 students a year went from non-resident to resident. But the university says it's more complicated than that.
Each fall there's a small number of students who in effect are misclassified as non-residents, when they show the proper documentation they get reclassified as resident students, said Arkans.
Arkans said he could not specify exactly how many were misclassified because of privacy rules. He also added it's more common for students to relocate because family is moving here than to become a resident the way Eltabib did.
For her part, she says it was a lot of work that paid off in many ways.
Its been a lot more value than just the tuition, Eltabib said. I got to become such a part of the community.
The university says residents will still make up 70 percent of the incoming freshmen class. That's a three percent decrease from last year.