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Attorney Gets Punished for Faking In-State Tuition 13 Year Before

Sometimes, I think we should be harder on lawyers who have bad intent. But this is a little over the top for me.

In Attorney Grievance Commission v. Kepple, a lawyer was given an indefinite suspension of at least 30 days because 13 years ago she hid her real state of residence so she could get in-state tuition. Basically, she pretended she lived in West Virginia to get in-state tuition.

How did she get caught? Her spiteful ex-husband ratted her out. Lawyers who lie and steal from their clients need to be punished, probably more than they are now in Maryland. But this was a long time ago, she actually had good contacts with West Virginia because she worked there for a time… I just think this is a little over the top. You can find the court’s opinion here.

Cases involving In-State Tuition Fraud

Don’t fake your in-state tuition.  Things don’t always go so well…

YEAR / STATE

CASE SUMMARY

RESULT

2019 – Delaware

A former Delaware State University administrator received $70,000 in bribes from a New Jersey man. In exchange, she faked out-of-state students’ residency documents to qualify them for in-state tuition. This scheme lasted four years. It cost DSU over $3 million. The woman pled guilty to bribery. She received a 15-month federal prison sentence. The man who bribed her received a 42-month sentence.

15 Months – Federal Prison

2015 – Georgia

A Lynchburg, Virginia man fraudulently claimed in-state tuition status for his daughter, a University of Georgia student. He used an Athens address in her application. However, the man’s tax forms showed his Lynchburg address. These discrepancies prompted an investigation. It revealed he spent little time in Athens. The authorities also discovered that his other child was an in-state student at a Virginia school. They obtained an arrest warrant. The man turned himself in. He was charged with four theft counts and one false swearing count.  The man paid $37,000 in restitution, which represented the amount he saved by paying in-state tuition. He faced up to 45 years in prison. His daughter left UGA to attend another school. She faced no charges.

$37,000 – Restitution

Qualifying for in-state tuition in Maryland

How do I qualify for in-state tuition in Maryland?

To qualify for in-state tuition in the State of Maryland, you must prove Maryland residency. This means providing documentation including income tax returns, voter registration, and a state-issued ID card. However, proving residency is not simple for specific individuals including service members and undocumented immigrants. Because of this, Maryland law includes specific provisions that enable them to qualify for in-state tuition.

Can service members and their family members qualify for in-state tuition in Maryland?  

Active service members, their spouses, and their children can qualify for in-state tuition if they are either stationed, residing, or domiciled in Maryland. Honorably discharged veterans and their family members can qualify for in-state tuition if they either reside or are domiciled in the state.

Can undocumented immigrants qualify for in-state tuition in Maryland?

Passed in 2011, Maryland’s SB 167 grants in-state tuition to undocumented community college and university students who qualify. However, they must attend a community college before attending a four-year tertiary institution at in-state tuition rates.

These criteria qualify undocumented community college students for in-state tuition in Maryland:

  • Spent at least three years at a Maryland high school.
  • Have attained either a high school diploma or GED in Maryland.
  • Registered at a Maryland community college no more than six years after high school graduation or GED completion.
  • Possesses documentation showing that either the student or student’s parent/guardian filed income tax returns concurrent with three years of high school attendance.

Undocumented students must meet these criteria to receive in-state tuition at a four-year college or university:

  • Receive either an associate’s degree or finish 60 credits worth of classes at a community college in Maryland.
  • If they are not a permanent resident, they must provide a signed affidavit stating that they will file for permanent residency status within 30 days of eligibility.
  • Register at a four-year college within four years of attaining an associate’s degree or completing 60 credits worth of community college classes.
  • Possess documents showing that either the student or the student’s parents/guardian filed Maryland income taxes since attending a community college.

Can children of Maryland state or public safety employees qualify for in-state tuition? 

Yes, the children of Maryland state or public safety employees can qualify for in-state tuition.

Can AmeriCorps program participants qualify for in-state tuition in Maryland?  

AmeriCorps participants may qualify for in-state tuition at tertiary institutions in Maryland. They must have resided in Maryland for 12 consecutive months before qualifying. Individuals who have completed all their program’s service hours in Maryland may have their residency requirement waived. If they do not retain residency while attending a Maryland institution with in-state status, they are required to pay the difference between out-of-state and in-state tuition.