Students with in-state status pay dramatically less to attend public colleges than out of state students. Different rules apply in different states but, because of this dichotomy, it often makes sense for out-of-state students to try to attain in-state status.

In Colorado there’s now a business to help students make this happen. It’s apparently a very lucrative business, though sort of unnecessary. According to an article by Brittany Anas in The Boulder Daily Camera:

A new company called “Tuition Angels” is trying to capitalize on the interest in gaining in-state tuition.

The company, started by a CU graduate, has been posting fliers on campus, promising students that they’ll do all of the “heavy lifting” to help non-residents switch to in-state status. Tuition Angels doesn’t charge students unless they gain residency. Then, the company charges 10 percent for what students would have paid for out-of-state tuition due every semester the student pays in-state tuition. That could cost a student in the College of Arts and Sciences $2,885 a year.

The lifting, however, isn’t that heavy. Certainly not heavy enough to justify almost $3,000 a year. Employees in the registrar’s office at the University of Colorado at Boulder will apparently help students fill out the same paperwork for free.

Tution Angels explains “we’re experts so you won’t need to become one. Your personal Tuition Angel takes care of everything possible so that you won’t even have to lift a finger unless absolutely necessary.”

This is a scam. Expertise isn’t really necessary here, just a little work. Most students, at least in Colorado, who file petitions apparently get residency anyway. And it’s not really that hard to fill out paperwork, certainly not $3,000 a year-hard.

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