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Residency for the Purpose of Determining Tuition

In compliance with state law, the University of North Carolina system now requires students to request a residency classification from the new Residency Determination Service (RDS).  RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina.

The specific requirements for establishing residency for tuition purposes and for eligibility for state financial aid are prescribed by state law.  A North Carolina resident for tuition purposes (and for state financial aid consideration) is a person or a dependent person (dependent according to IRS tax code - not the FAFSA definition of dependency), whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in North Carolina for at least 12 months.

Residence in North Carolina must be legitimate and be a permanent situation rather than just for the purpose of maintaining a residence prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state residency, you must show that you:

  • have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina, and
  • have maintained that domicile for at least twelve (12) consecutive months before the beginning of the term, and
  • have a residentiary presence in the state, and
  • intend to make North Carolina your permanent home indefinitely (rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college).

Persons not meeting the 12-month legal residence requirement may be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited "exception" categories authorized by the North Carolina Legislature.  All others are ineligible for classification as a North Carolina "resident for tuition purposes" and will be charged out-of-state tuition and not be given consideration for state financial aid.  To learn more about residency and complete a determination, go to


I am incorrectly classified as an out-of-state resident, what do I need to do to correct the problem?

Contact the appropriate office in relation to student type for concerns regarding residency coding.

New Undergraduate:  Admission Office - 828.227.7317
Continuing Student:  The Office of the Registrar - 828.227.7216

When is the Deadline to Apply for Residency?

Deadline.  The deadline to submit an application along with all supporting documentation for an initial residency determination or reclassification is the end of the fourth week from the start of the term for which the student is seeking a residency determination or reclassification.  All conditions necessary for achieving in-state status must be satisfied prior to this deadline.  Actions completed after the deadline will not be applicable to the in-progress term.

Responsibility for Supplying Information.  It is the student's responsibility to provide the documentation necessary to support his or her claims for in-state residency for tuition purposes by the deadline.

How long is THE process and review time for the application?

The initial review of the residency application can typically be completed the same day and a decision rendered.  However, this process can take longer if there are documents not included with the initial residency application.

How long DO I have to live in the state of NC to become an IN-state resident for tuition purposes?

The minimum required amount of time to maintain a domicile in North Carolina for tuition purposes is 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment.

I work in NC but I live in another state, am I eligible for in-state tuition?

No. The regulations state that the student’s domicile must be in NC.

I am active duty military or recently separated from the military, would I qualify for residency?

Military members who separate from the military can be granted in-state residency if the Home of Record at the time of separation is listed as NC OR if the family moves to NC immediately upon separation. Contact The Office for Military Student Services at 828.227.7397 for assistance.

My parents are seriously considering moving out-of-state. If that happens, AM I still Eligible FOR in-state tuition? We have been living in NC for over ten years.

The State of North Carolina continues the benefit of in-state tuition to students who move out-of-state for a period of 12 months. However, there are some caveats. Please contact the appropriate office with any questions you may have.

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