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Increasing Tuition…Before Classes Start?

It’s no surprise that college tuition increases routinely. In fact, the Education Data Initiative reports that that the average annual tuition at a public 4-year college is 23 times higher than it was in 1963.  After adjusting for currency inflation, this amounts to a 747.8% college tuition increase during that time.

But students do not normally face an increase in tuition even before classes start or doubling between enrollment and graduation.

Public universities have different tuition prices for residents and non-residents. If a student no longer resides in the State, they will be charged the out-of-state tuition. For families with active-duty military members, the Department of Defense controls their residency. A transfer of a parent to a new base could therefore mean a sudden and unexpected rise in the student’s tuition.  Currently these students lose their in-state tuition rates if their parent(s) move out of the Commonwealth and are required to pay the higher out-of-state tuition rates, even if they were Commonwealth residents when they initially enrolled.

The Pennsylvania Legislature and Governor Josh Shapiro rectified this situation this week when the Governor signed House Bill 804 into law. The new law is designed to ensure students remain eligible for in state tuition from the day they make a deposit to when they actually start classes, and to maintain their eligibility so long as they remain enrolled at the school, regardless of the orders the Department of Defense gives their parent(s).

The new law has a sense of fairness to it. In the words of Representative Frank Burns, the law’s sponsor, “A student should not be penalized with years of higher college tuition because their military parent’s reassignment happens to fall at just the wrong time.”

The attorneys at Leonard Sciolla work hard to stay abreast of changes impacting personal rights. If you or anyone close to you feels that they have been wronged, the attorneys at Leaonard Sciolla are here to help.

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