3 years ago
Admissions Advice

Instate or out of state tuition

I’m a bit confused, on mypennstate I am listed as out of state, which I am but only because I am currently in Germany with my mum and dad(Sponsor), where I attend a American school on base. I have lived eight years in Pennsylvania and my family owns property in Pennsylvania, so wouldn’t I be considered for instar tuition or am I completely wrong?

[🎤 AUTHOR]@Jazmin3 years ago

I forget to mention that my dad works for the USA government and is here in Germany due to orders (he is not a soldier, he is a civilian)

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4 answers

3 years ago[edited]

If your mom or dad serves in the military, you qualify for In-state Tuition in both your home state of Pennsylvania and a 2nd state if either parent lives in that 2nd state. Any PA State or Public college in PA is prohibited from charging you more than the In-State tuition.

Here is an article about it. Also, to be 100% sure, contact Penn State, Temple, University of Pittsburgh, or any other Public Colleges you are applying to in PA.

If you checked off the "out of state" box on Penn State's application, check "in-state" because you are covered by the Military exemption.


Obtaining In-State Tuition for Military Spouses and Children

Posted: October 28th, 2016

Written by Adam Nyenhuis (’17) – Wake Forest School of Law Veterans Legal Clinic Student Practitioner

The price tag for a college education has skyrocketed over the last several decades, and paying for college has become an increasingly difficult proposition for working families. Accounting for inflation, the average annual cost of attendance at a public, four-year college (including tuition, fees, and room & board) has increased from $7,833 in 1975 to $19,548 in 2015.[1] Without scholarships or need-based aid, this brings the four-year average total cost of a bachelor’s degree to $78,192 at public colleges—and that does not account for interest that could accrue on loans used to finance the education. The cost of a four-year education at a private university more than doubles to an eye-popping total of $175,684.[2]

This is enough of a headache for almost any family, but it can be even worse for military families with college-bound students. The difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition at many public colleges can be stark. In the 2010-2011 academic year, tuition for out-of-state students at four-year colleges cost on average $8,990 more per year than in-state tuition.[3] States vary widely in their requirements to establish “in-state” status for tuition purposes, but dependent students must usually have at least one parent who is a state resident for one full year before the student matriculates in college.[4] If the student receives substantial financial support from outside the state of the student’s college, the student’s claim to in-state tuition could be in jeopardy.[5] This can pose problems that disproportionally affect military families, who move between states far more often than non-military families. Frequent moving makes it more likely that college-aged military children will have not lived in a state long enough to obtain in-state tuition under usual standards, or that their parents will move out of the state in which they attend college, which could endanger their claim to in-state tuition.

Fortunately, for public colleges, a relatively recent federal law provides military families with some relief. The Higher Education Opportunity Act states that public colleges cannot charge military spouses or dependent children more than in-state tuition rates, so long as the service member is on active duty for more than 30 days and is stationed in the state of the relevant public college.[6] There is the additional requirement that the relevant state receive certain types of federal funding, such as Work-Study, Urban and Rural Community Action programs, and Native American programs, to name a few.[7] Therefore, it is important to research whether the relevant state receives the required funding. Because this only applies to service members on active duty, it does not apply to retired service members. However, the law also provides that once a student begins paying the in-state tuition rate, that student will pay that rate for as long as he or she is continually enrolled at the institution. This means that dependents of service members who move—either due to a change in duty station or retirement—will not lose their in-state status. The important point to remember is that even though the Higher Education Opportunity Act has been the law for several years, not all college financial aid workers will be familiar with these standards. For that reason, students and/or their service member parents should be prepared to provide financial aid workers with the law’s requirements to make sure that the student receives the lower in-state rate.

Followup to the revised question: If your parents work for the State Department of the US and are Govt Employees (US ExPats) for the time being then you need to satisfy any Penn State residency requirements that can be accomplished in the following ways. (excerpt from FinAid.Org) Residency requirements may be established by the state board of higher education. The authority to determine whether a student qualifies may have been delegated to the college. In such situations, the school will want to see a preponderance of the evidence that the family established state residency (both physical presence and intent), and that this residency was not merely incidental to the college attendance.

The determination as to whether a student qualifies is made by the tuition classification officer (usually someone in the Office of Admissions or Registrar) at each college or university. Each college’s decision is binding only at that college. There is usually no appeal beyond the university.

It is best to have at least two government-issued documents that demonstrate state residency. At least one of these documents establishing residency must be dated at least twelve months prior to the first day of classes. Examples include:

Registering to vote in the state, as evidenced by a voter registration card.

Registering with Selective Service in the state.

Filing a Declaration of Domicile form with the county clerk at the start of residency.

Filing state and federal income tax return with an in-state residential address.

Attending secondary school in the state.

Other activities do not in and of themselves establish residency, but rather intend to establish residency. Nevertheless, the more such activities you can document, the more convincing your case will be. These include:

Obtaining a state driver’s license.

Registering a vehicle in the state.

Obtaining a state hunting and/or fishing license

Opening a local bank account.

Getting a local library card.

3 years ago[edited]

So the common definition of instate is to live and reside in that state and graduate from a school that is instate. As you don’t reside in PA and as it seems like you will graduate in Germany you would be an out of state student for all schools in America.

This is a helpful Q&A on residency requirements.


Hope this helps and please comment if you need clarification as I’d be happy to help clarify! Good luck!

Edit: I just reread your question (and comment) and as your dad works for the govt I think you are be a instate resident you are an instate resident as long as your parents “home address” is a Pennsylvania address. I’d email the registrar office and ask.


Hope this makes sense and comment if you need clarification.

3 years ago

Unless you have an address in Pennsylvania then they would put you has out of state even though you are on an American school in germany (which is weird) You would need to have families permission to use their address on your application and then if you receive anything from the school, have them forward it to you. Does that make sense?

3 years ago

To be eligible for instate tuition in Pennsylvania you need to live in PA for the 12 months immediately prior to enrolling in a school so unfortunately, you don't qualify for instate tuition I believe.

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