UC accidently charges resident out-of-state tuition

November 16, 2010 8:05:06 PM PST
The University of California is openly recruiting out-of-state students, because they pay much higher fees than California residents. But one Cal student, who has lived in the Bay Area all his life, realized he was paying the out-of-state rate and the school refused to refund the difference until 7 on Your Side got involved.

It's tough enough to afford college, but in this case, the university charged one young man tens of thousands of dollars too much by mistake and then refused to give it back.

Greg Redig is a lifelong California resident; he grew up in Orinda and now attends the prestigious University of California at Berkeley. Like all California residents, Greg is entitled to a much lower tuition than out of state students must pay. However, Greg received no such break.

UC Berkeley mistakenly classified Greg as a non resident, so he was charged the out-of-state tuition rates for two years in a row. Instead of paying about $5,000 per semester, Greg was paying $16,000. -- around $11,000 too much per semester. What was worse, when he pointed out the mistake, UC Berkeley refused to give him his money back.

"To see Cal cheat a student out of that amount of money is appalling to me and I'm so disappointed because Cal is a very prestigious school," Greg's mother Miranda said.

What made this even harder? Greg's college fund was a legacy, left to him by his father, John, who died from cancer when Greg was 13. His father made sure to leave enough money so Greg and his sister could go to college. Now, a huge chunk was gone.

"They should give it back; it's not their right to keep it," Greg said.

"We worked hard to save money for the kids for education," Miranda said. "For them not to refund the money that's due him because of their mistake is appalling."

Greg said he didn't question the tuition, since that was the amount on his bill and Cal is such an acclaimed university. But then he noticed a friend was paying a lot less. By that time, UC Berkeley said it was too late to get his money back.

"I think it's ridiculous because it's my money and it was their fault," Greg said.

It was the university's fault because Greg filed a "statement of legal residence" as required to get the lower tuition. However, UC Berkeley said it never received it so he had to pay the higher amount. Luckily, Greg's mother kept copies of the residency statement and the receipt showing it was sent by certified mail. Miranda showed all of this to the university but still UC Berkeley would not refund the money.

Miranda was furious. That's when she called 7 on Your Side. Finally, UC Berkeley agreed to review the case.

"I don't know what happened with that first package that was sent to us, he definitely has the proof that it was received but from there, it was mislaid," UC Berkeley Registrar Anne DeLuca said.

DeLuca couldn't explain what happened to the residency form, but since Greg had proof he mailed something, UC Berkeley to refund the overpaid fees -- $41,752 in all.

"I'm grateful they finally did the right thing," Miranda said.

The registrar says if you don't file the residency form, you will be charged the out of state fees. So make sure to file on time and keep your receipts.


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