TCC charged student Meaghan Drumm as out-of-state resident for tuition; Problem Solvers step in

TULSA -- Out-of-state tuition versus in-state tuition.

It can be the difference of hundreds even thousands of dollars.  A 2NEWS viewer and Green Country resident was being overcharged at a local college, so she called 2NEWS anchor Deana Silk for help.

Meaghan Drumm is a student at Tulsa Community College and says she was being charged as a student with residency in another state.

"They are trying to charge me non-resident tuition when I've lived in Oklahoma for almost three years now," said Meaghan.

Meaghan had everything figured out. She needed to take two courses at TCC this summer before she would transfer those hours to NSU Broken Arrow and graduate in the fall.

But her plan hit a snag.

"It is very stressful because it's something that could keep me from graduating in December," she explained.

Out-of-state tuition is much more expensive than in-state tuition.

"They're charging me $771 for three hours and their in-state tuition rate is $76 per credit hour," she said.

A difference of more than $500. 

Unwilling to pay the non-resident tuition until she got it corrected to the lower amount, Meaghan was dropped from the classes the same day she signed up.  

She contacted Tulsa Community College and was told she had "to prove my residency, they told me to fill out a petition, which I did and brought them all the documentation."

Meaghan says even after submitting the required paperwork, she says she was told multiple times that her petition for resident tuition would most likely be denied and now one of the classes she needed was already full.

"I kind of feel like they're jerking me around a little bit," she said.

So that's when Meaghan contacted the 2NEWS Problem Solvers.

"I thought having some exposure would help them see the light and make the right decision," she said.

We collected Meaghan's paperwork and contacted TCC. They informed us they were already in the process of reviewing her case and the very next morning the problem was fixed.

"I visited with her on the phone, walked through the residency petition with her, asked a few questions and I was able to determine she could be a resident," said Lindsay Fields, director of Enrollment Services for TCC.  

According to Fields, Meaghan had applied to TCC years ago, before she had actually lived in Oklahoma for a full year, which is a requirement to be eligible for in-state tuition.

However, Meaghan says she reapplied last fall and the non-resident status was never mentioned to her. TCC tells us they do answer a lot of questions about residency and understand it can be complicated.

"Anytime a student fills out a residency petition we look at questions answered on the admissions application... sometimes the answers are different," said Fields. 

School officials then have to contact the student and gather all the correct information.

Despite all the obstacles, Meaghan is enrolled in her two summer classes and on track to graduate in December again.

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