Get hitched, apparently.

Given the rather nice discounts in-state students get at California universities, it makes a lot of sense to establish residency. This is virtually impossible, however, if one’s parents live out of state. Unless students get married.

According to an article by Tess Townsend in the Bay Citizen:

A University of California, Berkeley, student from the Midwest felt she couldn’t afford the annual $30,000 in student fees, including $20,000 in out-of-state tuition. She posted that she was looking for a husband on a Facebook page titled “In State Tuition for Out of Staters!” (The woman requested anonymity out of fear of repercussions from the UC.)

An out-of-state student whom she didn’t know responded to her post and they married in 2007, the summer before her junior year. The couple divorced this past summer, having met face-to-face only three times.

“He even walked by me on campus one time and didn’t recognize me,” she said.

It doesn’t much matter who students marry. The point is only that students who are married are automatically counted as independent from their parents, and so they can establish California residency.

University of California schools cost about $33,660 a year for students from out of state and but only about $10,000 for California residents.

It’s hard to identify this as a real trend yet. The author of the piece could find only nine couples at the University of California willing to admit that they had married for cheaper tuition. It’s possible, however, that recent tuition hikes may spur more students to take this (otherwise kind of creepy) step.

There’s even a (admittedly rather low-rent) service designed to help students across the country get in-state tuition through matrimony. Rick Conley runs, a matchmaking site that aims to help students make a mockery of marriage in response to state legislatures making a mockery of the concept of public higher education. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer