I recently transferred to UTK this past August from Christopher Newport University, which is a liberal arts school in Virginia.

Tuition there for me was only $14,754. Since transferring, I cannot help but notice how ridiculously expensive it is to attend school here at UTK. Looking over the various attendance costs between in-state and out-of-state students, it is very noticeable how much more the cost of attendance is here for out-of-state students versus those who receive in-state tuition.

The one question I can’t seem to overlook since transferring is: Why is it so expensive for a student coming from out-of-state if all students supposedly receive very similar educational backgrounds in high school, take the same standardized tests and begin college in the same classes?

Looking back at that question, if all students start classes here at UTK taking basic Gen Ed classes, why does a student coming from out-of-state pay more than double for the same classes?

Currently at The University of Tennessee Knoxville, tuition and fees costs for undergraduate students for the Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters are $13,006. Now take that number and compare it to the $31,426 dollars that out-of-state students pay to enroll in classes here. There is absolutely no comparison between the two numerical figures, and I honestly don’t see why out-of-state students are expected to pay so much more in tuition expenses.

When you factor in other expenses such as housing, living expenses and transportation, those tuition numbers only go up. UTK charges the same amount for room and board, transportation and personal expenses regardless if you are in-state or out-of-state. This brings the overall estimated cost to attend Tennessee to an astronomical $49,930. The problem with this figure is students are not left with a variety of options towards deciding how to pay for school.

If you are an out-of-state student, UTK does not offer many options for scholarships. Even though you are paying 2.4 times more in tuition costs, you are essentially forgotten about.

For example, Hope and Tennessee Pledge scholarships are available for in-state students, but if you transfer to UTK from out-of-state, there are less options through the school except the Volunteer Transfer Scholarship. The issue with this is that you must have an exceptional transfer GPA from your previous college to qualify, and the scholarship amounts are tiny compared to the overall cost of tuition.

Let’s say one transferred from an out of state college/university with a 3.7 GPA, he/she would only be eligible to receive $3,000 per semester. When you analyze that $31,426 in tuition plus other expenses, a mere $6,000 a year is not very much. Out-state-students are still at a huge disadvantage financially compared to those who receive in-state tuition rates.

Attending college is becoming more and more expensive every year, with around 70% of all students taking a loan to pay for school in some form. A huge problem with this is that the average debt per student borrower is $27,975.

The reason that figure is so high in my opinion is because schools such as the University of Tennessee charge an outrageous amount for an out-of-state student to enroll for an education and leave them with no choice but to take out extensive amounts in student loans.

At the end of the day, the goal of going to college is to receive an education. Every student at this school takes the SAT/ACT test, takes a similar curriculum in high school, so why is it that students who apply from out-of-state must pay so much more money for the same education? The reason for this is because education is a political matter, and schools receive subsidies by the State for students who reside in the state. If a student goes to a school out of his/her home state, the subsides are not provided to the school, thus meaning the school charges a ridiculous amount to the student. I find it very inconsiderate that politics is determining the cost of education and that schools can charge students different amounts to take the same classes. 

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