NAU wants Arizona student to pay out-of-state tuition

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By Jim Carr By Jim Carr

PHOENIX -- Abigail Herrera says school has always been her priority and going to college is something she's planned for a long time.

“I'm going to major in mechanical engineering and then go to graduate school to specialize in chemical engineering,” she said.

It's a dream Herrera put into action when she started college at Northern Arizona University this fall. However, even with the help of scholarships and financial aid, Herrera says she's can't afford tuition anymore and it turns out there's a reason why.

“Right now they're saying I owe about $9,000,” Herrera told 3 On Your Side.

It's a steep amount and Herrera can't believe the reason NAU is after her for such an amount.

“They're telling me that I was an out-of-state student,” Herrera explained.

That’s right, NAU wants to charge Herrera out of state tuition even though she's never lived out of state.
“I was born here, I've gone to school here all my life, I even graduated from high school in Phoenix, Arizona!” she said.

For several months, Herrera says she's tried to tell NAU that they're making a horrible mistake, but no one would listen.

“I'd call someone and they're like ok, I fixed it or they'd be like oh send in this paperwork and it'll get fixed and I send in the paperwork and I never got anything back,” Herrera explained.

So, Herrera contacted 3 On Your Side.

“Everybody at school always tells you, work hard, do this, do that and everything will be fine and you'll get everything paid for and it's not true,” she told 3 On Your Side.

NAU immediately looked into the matter for 3 On Your Side and within a few days, school officials contacted Herrera, saying the error had been fixed. This means she’ll now have to pay in-state tuition, which is a fraction of the cost of out-of-state tuition.

Apparently, the problem happened because of a simple mistake made on Herrera’s application form.