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Residency - Determination

University requirements for establishing residency are independent from those of other types of residency, such as for tax purposes, or other state or institutional residency. These regulations were promulgated not to determine whether a student is a resident or nonresident of California, but rather to determine whether a student should pay tuition on an in-state or out-of-state basis. A resident for tuition purposes is someone who meets the requirements set forth in the Uniform Student Residence Requirements. These laws governing residence for tuition purposes at the California State University (CSU) are California Education Code sections 68000-68085, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Subchapter 5, Article 4, sections 41900-41916. This material can be viewed on the Internet by accessing the CSU's website at www.calstate.edu/GC/resources.shtml.

Each campus's Registrar's Office is responsible for determining the residence status of all new and returning students based on the Application for Admission, Residency Questionnaire, Reclassification Request Form, and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by the student. A student who fails to submit adequate information to establish eligibility for resident classification will be classified as a nonresident.

Generally, establishing California residence for tuition purposes requires a combination of physical presence and intent to remain indefinitely. An adult who, at least 366 days prior to the residence determination date for the term in which enrollment is contemplated, can demonstrate both physical presence in the state combined with evidence of intent to remain in California indefinitely may establish California residence for tuition purposes. A minor normally derives residence from the parent(s) with whom they reside or with whom they most recently resided.

Evidence demonstrating intent may vary from case to case but will include, and is not limited to, the absence of residential ties to any other state, California voter registration and voting in California elections, maintaining California vehicle registration and driver's license (or California identification card), maintaining active California bank accounts, filing California income tax returns and listing a California address on federal tax returns, owning residential property or leasing an apartment where permanent belongings are kept, maintaining active memberships in California professional or social organizations, and maintaining a permanent military address and home of record in California.

Nonresident students seeking reclassification are required to complete a supplemental questionnaire that includes questions concerning their financial independence. Financial independence is required, along with physical presence and intent, to be eligible for reclassification. Financial independence is established if in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years preceding the reclassification application the student:

  • has not and will not be claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his/her parent;
  • has not and will not receive more than seven hundred and fifty dollars ($750) per year in financial assistance from his/her parent; and
  • has not lived and will not live longer than six (6) weeks in the home of his/her parent.

A nonresident student who has been appointed as a graduate student teaching assistant, a graduate student research assistant, or a graduate student teaching associate on any CSU campus and is employed on a 0.49 or more time basis is exempt from the financial independence requirement.

Non-citizens establish residence in the same manner as citizens, unless precluded by the Immigration and Nationality Act from establishing domicile in the United States.

Exceptions to the general residence requirements are contained in California Education Code sections 68070-68085 and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Subchapter 5, Article 4, sections 41906-41906.6, and include, but are not limited to, members of the military and their dependents, certain credentialed employees of school districts and most students who have attended three or more years of high school in California and graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent of graduation. Whether an exception applies to a particular student cannot be determined before the submission of an application for admission and, as necessary, additional supporting documentation. Because neither campus nor Chancellor's Office staff may give advice on the application of these laws, applicants are strongly urged to review the material for themselves and consult with a legal advisor.