Residence for Tuition Purposes
Students who have not been living in California with intent to make it their permanent home for more than one year immediately before the residence determination date for each term in which they propose to attend the University must pay nonresident supplemental tuition in addition to all other fees. The residence determination date is the day instruction begins at the last of the University of California campuses to open for the quarter, and for schools on the semester system, the day instruction begins for the semester.
Who Is a Resident?
Persons who are adult students (at least 18 years of age) may establish residence for tuition purposes in California if (1) they are U.S. citizens, (2) they are permanent residents or other immigrants, or (3) they are nonimmigrants who are not precluded from establishing a domicile in the U.S.
Nonimmigrants who are not precluded from establishing domicile in the U.S. include those who hold valid visas of the following types: A, E, G, H-1, H-4, I, K, L, O-1, O-3, P-1, R, T, U, or V. To establish residence students must be physically present in California for more than one year, and they must have come here with the intent to make California their home as opposed to coming to this state to go to school. Physical presence within the state solely for educational purposes does not constitute the establishment of California residence, regardless of the length of stay. Students must demonstrate their intention to make California their home by severing any and all residential ties with their former state of residence and establishing those ties with California. If these steps are delayed, the one-year durational period is extended until students have demonstrated both presence and intent for one full year. If their parents are not California residents (over one year of physical presence with intent to remain in the state), students are required to be financially independent in order to be a resident for tuition purposes. Their residence cannot be derived from their spouse, registered domestic partner, or their parents.
Requirements for Financial Independence
Students are considered financially independent if one or more of the following apply: (1) they are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the calendar year for which they are requesting residence classification; (2) they are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces; (3) they are a ward of the court or both parents are deceased; (4) they have legal dependents other than a spouse; (5) they are married, have a registered domestic partner, or are a graduate student or a professional student, and they were not claimed as an income tax deduction by their parents or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which they are requesting resident classification; or (6) they are a single undergraduate student and they were not claimed as an income tax deduction by their parents or any other individual for the two tax years immediately preceding the term for which they are requesting resident classification, and they can demonstrate self-sufficiency for two full years prior to the residence determination date of the term they propose to attend the University through their own resources (such as employment, commercial loans, financial aid, and savings that can be officially documented). The two years required for self-support might not coincide with the two tax years during which they must not have been claimed by their parents.
Note: Financial dependence is not a factor in determining residence status for graduate student instructors, graduate student teaching assistants, research assistants, junior specialists, postgraduate researchers, graduate student researchers, and teaching associates who are employed 49 percent or more of full time or awarded the equivalent in University-administered funds (e.g., grants, stipends, fellowships) in the term for which classification is sought.
Establishing Intent to Become a California Resident
Indications of students’ intent to make California their permanent residence can include the following: (1) registering to vote and voting in California elections, (2) designating California as their permanent address on all school and employment records, including military records if they are in the U.S. Armed Forces, (3) obtaining a California Driver License or, if they do not drive, a California Identification Card, (4) obtaining California vehicle registration, (5) paying California income taxes as a resident, including taxes on income earned outside California from the date they establish residence, (6) establishing a California residence in which they keep their personal belongings, and (7) licensing for professional practice in California.
The absence of these indicia in other states during any period for which students claim residence can also serve as an indication of their intent. Documentary evidence is required, and all relevant indications are considered in determining the classification. Intent is questioned if students return to their prior state of residence when the University is not in session.
General Rules Applying to Minors
If students are unmarried minors (under age 18), the residence of the parent with whom they live is considered to be their residence. If they have a parent living, they cannot change their residence by their own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by the relinquishment of their parent’s right of control. If students live with neither parent, their residence is that of the parent with whom they last lived. Unless they are minor aliens present in the U.S. under the terms of a nonimmigrant visa that precludes them from establishing a domicile in the U.S., students may establish their own residence when both their parents are deceased and a legal guardian has not been appointed. If they derive California residence from a parent, that parent must satisfy the one-year durational residence requirement.
Specific Rules Applying to Minors
Divorced or Separated Parents
Minor U.S. citizens or eligible aliens may be able to derive California resident status from a California resident parent if they move to California to live with that parent before their 18th birthday. If they begin residing with their California parent after their 18th birthday, they are treated like any other adult student coming to California to establish residence.
Parent of Minor Moves from California
Students may be entitled to resident status if they are minor U.S. citizens or eligible aliens whose parent(s) was a resident of California who left the state within one year of the residence determination date if (1) they remained in California after their parent(s) departed, (2) they enroll in a California public postsecondary institution within one year of their parent(s) departure, and (3) once enrolled, they maintain continuous attendance in that institution. Financial independence is not required in this case.
Two-Year Care and Control
A minor or 18-year-old student may be entitled to resident classification if, immediately prior to enrolling in a postsecondary institution, they have been living with and been under the continuous direct care and control of an adult or adults other than a parent for a period of no less than two years. The adult or adults having control must have been residents of California during the one year immediately prior to the residence determination date. The classification continues until students have attained the age of 19 and have lived in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident, so long as continuous full-time attendance is maintained at a public postsecondary institution.
If students are U.S. citizens or eligible aliens and are minors who can prove that they lived in California for the entire year immediately before the residence determination date, that they have been self-supporting for that year, and that they intend to make California their permanent home, they may be eligible for resident status.
Exemptions from Nonresident Supplemental Tuition
Member of the U.S. Armed Forces
Members of the U.S. Armed Forces may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition unless their assignment to California is for the purpose of attending a state-supported institution of higher education. Graduate and professional students are eligible for this exemption for two years, during which time they must fulfill the UC residence requirements in order to maintain their resident status. They must provide the residence deputy on campus with a statement from their commanding officer or personnel officer stating that their assignment to active duty in California is not for educational purposes. The letter must include the dates of their assignment to the state.
Undergraduate students discharged from military service after having been stationed in California on active duty for at least 366 days are entitled to resident classification for the minimum time necessary to establish residence (366 days). In this case, financial independence is not a requirement.
Some members of the U.S. Armed Forces may qualify for an exemption from nonresident supplemental tuition based on the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Under this Act, undergraduate and graduate students who are members of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and whose domicile or permanent duty station is in California, are entitled to an exemption from nonresident supplemental tuition. Students must be continuously enrolled at the University, notwithstanding a subsequent change in their permanent duty station to a location outside of California.
Effective July 2015, certain nonresident veterans (and their dependents) who were separated from U.S. military service within 36 months of enrolling at UC and are eligible for G.I. Bill (Post-9/11 or Montgomery) program funds may qualify for an exemption from nonresident supplemental tuition.
Spouse, Registered Domestic Partner, or Other Dependents of Military Personnel
Students are exempt from payment of nonresident supplemental tuition if they are a spouse, registered domestic partner, or natural or adopted child or stepchild who is a dependent of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in California on active duty. Graduate and professional students are eligible for the exemption only until they have resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a resident (366 days). Students must petition for a waiver of nonresident supplemental tuition each term they are eligible. If they are enrolled in an educational institution and the member of the Armed Forces is transferred on military orders to a place outside California where he or she continues to serve in the Armed Forces, or the member of the Armed Forces retires from active duty immediately after having served in California on active duty, they may retain this exemption under conditions listed above.
Some dependents of members of the U.S. Armed Forces may qualify for an exemption from nonresident supplemental tuition based on the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Under this Act, undergraduate or graduate students who are the spouse, registered domestic partner, or dependent child of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces on active duty for a period of more than 30 days and whose domicile or permanent duty station is in California, are entitled to an exemption from nonresident supplemental tuition. Students must be continuously enrolled at the University, notwithstanding a subsequent change in the U.S. Armed Forces member’s permanent duty station to a location outside of California.
Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of Faculty Member
To the extent funds are available, if students are an unmarried dependent child under age 21, spouse, or registered domestic partner of a member of the University faculty who is a member of the Academic Senate, they may be eligible for a waiver of nonresident supplemental tuition. Confirmation of the faculty member’s membership on the Academic Senate must be secured each term this waiver is granted.
Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of University Employee
Students may be entitled to resident classification if they are an unmarried dependent child, spouse, or registered domestic partner of a full-time University employee whose assignment is outside California (e.g., Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory or University of California Washington, DC, Center). Their parent’s, spouse’s, or registered domestic partner’s employment status with the University must be ascertained each term.
Child, Spouse, or Registered Domestic Partner of Deceased Public Law Enforcement or Fire Suppression Employee
Students may be entitled to a waiver of nonresident supplemental tuition if they are the child, spouse, or registered domestic partner of a deceased public law enforcement or fire suppression employee who was a California resident at the time of his or her death and who was killed in the course of fire suppression or law enforcement duties.
Dependent Child of a California Resident
If students have not been an adult resident of California for more than one year and are the natural or adopted dependent child of a California resident who has been a resident for more than one year immediately prior to the residence determination date, they may be entitled to a waiver of nonresident supplemental tuition until they have resided in California the minimum time necessary to become a resident, so long as continuous attendance is maintained at an institution.
Native American Graduate of a Bureau of Indian Affairs High School
Students who are graduates of a California high school operated by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition.
Employee of a California Public School District
Students holding a valid credential authorizing service in the public schools of the State of California who are employed by a school district in a full-time certificate position may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition.
Student Athlete in Training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center, Chula Vista
Any amateur student athletes in training at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition until they have resided in California the minimum time necessary to become a resident.
Graduate of a California High School
Students who attended high school in California for three or more years (9th grade included) or attained credits/units earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school coursework and attended a combination of elementary, middle, and/or high school (K-12) in California for a total of three or more years, and graduated from a California high school (or attained the equivalent, such as a High School Equivalency Certificate issued by the California state GED Office or a Certificate of Proficiency resulting from the California High School Proficiency Examination), may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition. Nonimmigrant alien students are not eligible for the exemption.
Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and Their Children under Age 28
Undergraduate students who are recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor or who are the children of a recipient may be exempt from nonresident supplemental tuition. Recipients must be California residents, and students must be under age 28. Students’ annual income must not exceed the national poverty level. If the recipient was a parent who died, the parent must have been a California resident at the time of death.
Dependents or Wards of State through California’s Child Welfare System
Notwithstanding any other provisions, students who reside in California and are 19 years of age or under at the time of enrollment, and who are currently dependents or wards of the state through California’s child welfare system, or were served by California’s child welfare system and are no longer being served either due to emancipation or aging out of the system, shall be entitled to a resident classification as long as they remain continuously enrolled.
If persons are nonresident students who are in the process of establishing a residence for tuition purposes and they return to their former home during noninstructional periods, their presence in the state is presumed to be solely for educational purposes and only convincing evidence to the contrary rebuts this presumption. Students who are in the state solely for educational purposes are NOT classified as residents for tuition purposes regardless of the length of their stay.
If persons are students who have been classified as residents for tuition purposes and they leave the state temporarily, their absence could result in the loss of their California residence. The burden is on students (or their parents if they are minors) to verify that they did nothing inconsistent with their claim of a continuing California residence during their absence. Steps that students (or their parents) should take to retain a California residence include the following:
- Continue to use a California permanent address in all records—educational, employment, military, etc.
- Continue to satisfy California tax obligations. If students are claiming California residence, they are liable for payment of income taxes on their total income from the date they establish their residence in the state, including income earned in another state or country.
- Retain California voter registration and vote by absentee ballot.
- Maintain a California Driver License and vehicle registration. If it is necessary to change the driver’s license or vehicle registration, students must change them back within the time prescribed by law.
Petition for Residence Classification
Students may obtain a petition at 1113 Murphy Hall or online for a change of classification from nonresident to resident status. All changes of status must be initiated at least three weeks in advance of the fee payment deadline for the applicable term.
Time Limitation on Providing Documentation
If additional documentation is required for residence classification but is not readily accessible, students are allowed until the end of the applicable term to provide it.
Students who were incorrectly classified as residents are subject to nonresident classification and to payment of all nonresident tuition fees not paid. If they concealed information or furnished false information and were classified incorrectly as a result, they are also subject to University discipline. Resident students who become nonresidents must immediately notify the residence deputy.
Inquiries and Appeals
Inquiries regarding residence requirements, determination, and/or recognized exceptions should be directed to the Residence Deputy, UCLA Registrar’s Office, 1113 Murphy Hall, Box 951429, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1429, 310-825-3447.
Students are cautioned that this summary is NOT a complete explanation of the law regarding residence. Note that changes may be made in the residence requirements between the publication of this statement and the relevant residence determination date.
Students may appeal a campus nonresident determination to the Office of the General Counsel only on the grounds and within the deadline specified below.
Grounds for Appeal
- The decision to classify students as nonresidents for purposes of tuition was based on (a) a significant error of fact, (b) a significant procedural error, or (c) an incorrect application of policy that, if corrected, would require that the students be reclassified as residents.
- Significant new information became available after the date of the campus decision classifying the students as nonresidents; despite the exercise of reasonable diligence (care and attention) the information was not previously known or available to the students; and, based on the new information classification as nonresidents is incorrect.
No appeals based solely on disagreement with the campus decision are acceptable.
The Office of the General Counsel must receive the appeal from students within 30 days of the date of the campus decision notifying students of the nonresident classification. Send the completed Application to Appeal and a copy of the nonresident decision by (1) e-mail to the Residency Analyst, (2) fax to 510-987-9757, or (3) mail to Residency Analyst, UC Office of General Counsel, 1111 Franklin Street, 8th Floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200. No other university personnel are authorized to supply information relative to residence requirements for tuition purposes.
All of the information requested on the Statement of Legal Residence form is required for determining whether or not students are legal residents for tuition purposes. Registration cannot be processed without this information. The Registrar’s Office on campus maintains the requested information. University of California governing residency for tuition purposes are established by The Regents pursuant to and implemented by regulations established by the President, in consultation with the General Counsel (Regents Standing Order 110.2; Regents policies 3105 and 3106). Students have the right to inspect University records containing the residence information requested on the form.