State University of New York

Determination of Student Residency Status for Assessing Tuition Charges

Out-of-State residents attending schools within the State University of New York (SUNY) are charged a higher rate of tuition than State residents. For example, at the time of our audit, the non-residents attending four-year colleges were charged $8,300 a year, while State residents were charged $3,400 a year. Students must meet certain requirements to qualify for State residency, and SUNY schools are expected to obtain appropriate documentation when determining whether students have met these requirements. However, we found indications that such documentation may not be obtained in many instances, and as a result, students who fail to meet State residency requirements may be charged the lower in-State tuition rate. For example, when we examined the actions taken by three four-year schools in verifying the State residency of students who had transferred from out-of-State institutions or graduated from out-of-State high schools, we found that the residency documentation recommended by SUNY policy had not been obtained for a significant portion of the students sampled at each school (the University at Stony Brook, the University at Buffalo, and the College at Buffalo). We recommended that SUNY’s residency verification process be strengthened and verification practices at individual schools be monitored more closely by SUNY System Administration.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-S-28 click here.
For a copy of the 90-day response click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.