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.
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 email@example.com.