Local woman has TCC tuition trouble

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by Janet Roach

WVEC.com

Posted on December 2, 2010 at 5:12 PM

Updated Thursday, Oct 17 at 2:31 PM

VIRGINIA BEACH --  Any college student wishing to pay in-state tuition in Virginia must be a resident of the state for at least one year continously, according to state law.

Virginia Beach resident Janice Miller knew that law applied to her when she decided to take up nursing at Tidewater Community College, so she was ready to prove she's been a resident here for the last 15 months.

But that didn't help. She was turned down for in-state tuition, even after showing the domicile office representatives what she thought was detailed documentation.

"I said, I have all these other documents and they said nope. I was very upset, very frustrated, " explains Miller.

Miller says she showed them bank statements, doctors bills and even an apartment lease showing signed June of 2009. That's when she left California to be closer to family. Miller doesn't drive, so she didn't have a driver's license to show. She was turned down twice by TCC for in-state tuition.  In-state tuition is 123 dollars per credit hour and out of state tuition is 333 dollars a credit hour.

"When I initially moved here, I couldn't find a job so I was on food stamps. I brought all of the documentation and I was still told no," Miller says knowing she can't afford an out-of state bill.

Miller contacted 13News Troubleshooter and we contacted Virginia Beach campus of TCC, where Miller was hoping to take classes.

On the same day, TCC Provost Michael Summers took a look at Miller's case, which was still in the appeals process. Summers says that process has several layers, and is set up to give all students a fair chance at proving their residency.

"The second level typically involves administrators who are a little more experienced of the broader intent of the law and differentiating between the shades of gray, like what is clear and convincing evidence," says Summers. He immediately approved Miller as an in-state applicant.

"When it was brought to my attention,  I said, 'Let me see the file,' and I looked at it and I said, 'Oh yeah, there's clear and convincing evidence that she is domicilled in state,'" says Summers.

Miller is happy to hear the news and will start classes in January.

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