California Residency for Tuition Purposes

10 Facts to know

The law governing California residency for tuition purposes at the California State University is established by State Law and the California Code of Regulations. Despite the length of time you attend a California State University or live in California, you might not qualify for California residency for tuition purposes. CSU Stanislaus cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria for any reason.

The term “California resident” for tuition purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency. A person who has a California driver’s license, vehicle registration, or who is a California resident for tax, voting, or welfare purposes may have established legal residence in the state but might not necessarily be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Under California law, Stanislaus must determine the residence status of all new and returning students. Nonresidents are required to pay nonresident tuition and meet other conditions.

Resident Classification & Forms

Under California law, Stanislaus must determine the residence status of all new and returning students. Your residence status is determined by the Office of Admissions according to your responses on the admission application, Residency Questionnaire, and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by you. If you do not submit requested information verifying eligibility for a resident classification, you will be classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes. Nonresidents are required to pay nonresident tuition.

Non-resident applicants seeking reclassification are required to complete a supplemental questionnaire concerning their financial independence, which will be considered along with physical presence and intent during the reclassification review. Non-citizens establish residence in the same manner as citizens unless precluded by federal law from establishing domicile in the United States.

Residency Reclassification Request Forms and all supporting documentation must be submitted prior to or during the term in which reclassification is requested.

The CSU Stanislaus residence determination dates are:

  • Fall semester: September 20​ 
  • Spring semester: January 25


Establishing CA Residency

To be eligible for resident classification, you must have established and maintained permanent residence in California at least one full year prior to the residence determination date. You are not eligible if you moved to California primarily to attend a California higher education institution or because you have financial hardship. You must prove that you have moved to California permanently and are not merely living in California temporarily while you attend CSU Stanislaus.

If you are a student being claimed on taxes and/or largely supported by out-of-state persons during any of the past three years, you most likely will not be classified as a California resident for tuition purposes. Stanislaus is a tax-supported institution and expects you, or someone supporting you, to be filing California income taxes. You are expected to establish California residency separate from both of your parents and your enrollment in school. If it appears that you could not be self-supporting, it will be determined that you are most likely in California for educational purposes.

Residency determination of students and applicants under the age of 19 on the residency determination date is based on the residency status of their parents.

Evidence of Permanent Residency

Establishing residence in California for tuition purposes requires that, for at least one full year prior to the residence determination date, you have official and/or legal documents showing that you have been physically present in the state and that you intend to remain in California indefinitely. Living in California or attending Stanislaus for 12 months is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements.

To show your intent to remain in California, acceptable evidence includes, but is not limited to:

  • A valid visa that allows you to establish residency, if not a US citizen
  • California voter registration and voting in California elections
  • California vehicle license plates and driver’s license or I.D. card
  • California state income taxes being filed the previous year
  • Active California bank account
  • Employment (or proof of support for the past year) with copies of W-2 form(s)
  • Active membership in California professional or social organizations
  • A permanent military address and home of record in California
  • Mortgage/lease/rental agreement of a residence where permanent belongings are kept for at least a one year period.

Exceptions for Special Populations

Members of the military and their dependents and certain credentialed employees of school districts and certain high school students who have attended three full years of high school in California and attained the equivalent to high school graduation may be considered exceptions to non-resident classification. Exceptions cannot be determined without the submission of an admission application and necessary supporting documentation. AB 540 Non-Resident Tuition Exemption (PDF)

Changes to Residency Status

If you believe you are eligible for residency reclassification, contact the Office of Admissions during normal business hours.

It is your responsibility to notify the Office of Admissions of any changes in residency status. This includes changes from non-resident to resident and from resident to non-resident. Resident students who become non-residents, or who no longer meet the criteria for an exception, must immediately notify the Office of Admissions.

If you are incorrectly classified as a resident or incorrectly granted an exception from non-resident tuition, you are subject to reclassification as a non-resident and payment of non-resident tuition in arrears. If incorrect classification results from false or concealed facts, you are subject to discipline pursuant to Section 41301 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations.

Changes may be made in the rate of nonresident tuition and in the statutes and regulations governing California residence for tuition purposes between the time this information is published and the relevant residence determination date. You are urged to review the following statutes and regulations: California Education Code sections 68000-68090, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Subchapter 5, Article 4, sections 41900-41916.

Residency Reclassification Request Form

What should I do if I think my residence status is incorrect?

Applicants and new students should complete and submit the CSU Residence Questionnaire as well as copies of any supporting documents (listed above under “Evidence of Permanent Residency”) for review. Current students should file for reclassifications (see above section). If you have any questions, call (209) 667-3152.

Mail all documents to:

California State University, Stanislaus
Office of Admissions
One University Circle
Turlock, CA 95382

How can I appeal my residence classification?

If you’ve received a final campus decision on your residence classification you may appeal the campus’ decision within 120 days of notification by writing to:

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4210