Scholarship woes for non-residents

Scholarship woes for non-residents
Photo illustration by Jay Arcansalin
Photo illustration by Jay Arcansalin

Many UVU groups, clubs, teams and activities supply resident students with funding for their education as support and reward for their participation and achievement.

However, non-residential students are not allowed to receive scholarships and waivers from the University for participating in these same activities, even if they are just as deserving and qualified as a resident.

Full-time undergraduate resident students at Utah Valley University pay about $1,989 in tuition and fees per semester before any financial aid, scholarship, grant or waiver.

These costs pay for an estimated 45 percent of the full cost of instruction per full-time student, which is $4,186. The remaining support for the full cost of instruction is provided by $2,310 of state tax funds, which also provide the money for many scholarships and grants.

For a non-resident the cost of tuition and fees averages about $6,055 per semester, which is over three times as much as residents and more than the average cost per semester including the money provided by the state. Residents and non-residents both pay property taxes in the state. (What landlord would pay these out of pocket when they can pass the cost onto the renter?) Property taxes fund the school and its organizations.

Scholarships, waivers and grants given by the school are all regulated by the state and only 126 non-resident students are allowed funding. The funding they do receive is only about $1,700 the amount that would pay for their tuition if they were a resident student. Waivers for those involved in activities are looked at as a ”loss of revenue,” according to Carla Morgan, UVU’s scholarship manager.

But if it is such an issue, why are they given at all? Why are non-residents singled out because they haven’t lived in Utah for over a year, or haven’t yet gone through the paperwork, time, and money to receive residency? Non-residents are essentially required to pay for other students’ grants and scholarships through the taxes they pay and the money they spend on their own inflated out-of-state tuition costs.

Non-residents should be allowed the same opportunity for funding as resident students. If non-residents are paying the same taxes, and working just as hard in the university’s academics and activities, they deserve the same aid and rewards.

Perhaps the concern is that a state university’s primary obligation is to its long-term attendees. This is true, but making it more attractive for potential long-term residents to settle in this state by giving incentives like scholarships makes sense.

Perhaps the problem is that residents have been paying taxes and have had their parents paying taxes in Utah for much longer, and therefore deserve more access to awards from those funds. But then, the same isn’t true of a fresh resident who has only been in the state for a year, yet they qualify for aid.

Waiting a year to receive awards for contributing to the university academically and extracurricularly certainly isn’t a bad idea – but that doesn’t make it a good idea. It’s unfair and dissuades talented out-of-state students from coming here.

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