Distance, not state, should determine tuition

I am not from Pennsylvania, and it’s ridiculous that residents throughout the entire 45,308 square miles get in-state tuition.

Paying back loans, something so many graduates face after college.

While it is a common dilemma, I fit into the group that it’s worst for at Temple.

I am not from Pennsylvania. Not being from the state, it means I pay out-of-state tuition, and it’s not a small difference.

For the 2008 fall semester at Temple, the price difference between in-state and out-of-state tuition for a full-time student was $8,518 – $19,320 for me, $10,802 for in-staters. Nearly double.Appelblatt, Jeff

It’s not only crazy that someone who lives outside of Pennsylvania has to pay so much more. Yet at the same time, because the commonwealth is such a large state, it’s ridiculous that residents throughout the entire 45,308 square miles get in-state tuition.

For instance, Erie, Pa. is 418 miles away from Temple’s Main Campus, according to Google Maps. More than six hours! To get from Main Campus to Durham, N.C. is only 407 miles. Yet the people in Erie pay half of what the people in Cherry Hill, N.J., less than 10 miles from Main Campus, pay. Half of what those 34 miles away in Wilmington, Del. pay.


State-supported institutions, which Temple has been since the 1960s, must favor their home state, tax-paying students.

But by making out-of-state residents pay double the price for is ridiculous.

I am from Manalapan, N.J., a whopping 58 miles away from Main Campus. Three-hundred sixty miles closer than Erie, Pa. But I’m the one “not close enough.”

“If you’re over in New Jersey and want to pay in-state prices, look at Rutgers,” said Megan McDonald, assistant to the director of the university’s office of academic records.

Yes, it would have cost me $10,686 at Rutgers – $8,634 less than this semester at Temple.

But in the same way, it’s unfair to those in my position to be paying double to come to Temple, it is unfair to those who are traveling 47 miles from Levittown, Pa. and going to Rutgers.

All state colleges have this same problem.

“We look at ways to make changes,” McDonald said. “It’s not something that’s just been there since, say, 1952.”

A much better way to decide who pays more to go to state schools should be based on distance. Forget about in-state and out-of-state. Instead, those less than 100 miles away pay one price and those more than 100 miles away pay another. Or choose some other number of miles.

One of Temple’s most prized assets is its place in Philadelphia, a city, like any other large urban center, that depends on tourism, employees and business from the entire region, which, for Philadelphia, includes South Jersey and Delaware.

Rowan University, a school in New Jersey that is 25 miles away from Temple, boasts how close it is to Philadelphia in its brochures. That alone is proof that it’s not only people from Pennsylvania bringing revenue into Pennsylvania.

In a few weeks, I am graduating. It’s too late for me. I’ll be paying back my loans for my out-of-state tuition in the next year or so. But for the future, today’s tuition categories need to be changed.

Jeff Appelblatt can be reached at the.jeff@temple.edu.


  1. This is a stupid article. Why not realign the state lines while you’re at it? You have the same options as a PA resident attending Temple…you could have gone to Rutgers. If you decide not to go to your state sponsored school, it’s your own fault. It’d be like me (PA resident) going to Rutgers then complaining that I’m paying more. Ignorant argument.

    Additionally, if you perceive Temple to be superior to Rutgers, then that is an issue to take up with your state government and Rutgers.

    Quit complaining and go back to Jersey where you belong.

  2. PA Resident couldn’t have said it better. Go back to New Jersey if you don’t like paying more.

  3. You are an idiot, distance has nothing to do with tuition, it’s place of residence. You don’t pay state residence taxes that support Temple so why should you be entitled to in state tuition?

  4. While the article itself is poorly written, I have to say I agree with the content and share the same sentiments. I’m not the only one, either. Temple depends on out-of-staters to prove that they are more than just another state school. If only PA residents went to Temple, the school’s reputation would be lowered for anyone outside of the state; they’d just assume that Temple was just a peg higher than the average community college. I originally chose Temple for its music program – it is more prestigious than any school in Jersey I could find, Rutgers and Rowan included.

    Perhaps something could be worked out within the tri-state area – PA, NJ, and DE, that is – to lower tuition at least a bit for out-of-staters from those states. The cost of education in America is definitely a problem; it’s not just at Temple. Tuition prices have gotten ridiculous…but that’s for another article to address!

  5. I, as an out-of-state student agree with the PA residents. I am from New York, therefore my taxes benefit the SUNY schools. I personally do not like the SUNY schools that’s why I’m here, along with other reason of course. I don’t expect a break for a state school, especially considering the fact that most private schools cost over $10,000 more than what I pay. And it’s absurd to have schools cost less based on location instead of state, it’ just ridiculous.

  6. The reason that in-staters pay less in tuition is that we and our families pay towards state-funded education out of our paychecks. It isn’t about “distance” at all. Instead of complaining about the “problem,” maybe this writer would benefit more from actually researching the subject before making these comments. As others have said, go to a NJ school if you want cheaper tuition. Your taxes go to fund those schools, so expecting to get a discount to a school that you haven’t helped to fund is ludicrous. It was your conscious decision – not anyone else’s.

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