Residency Information

California Residency for Tuition Purposes

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. SDSU 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, SDSU must determine the residence status of all new and returning students. Nonresidents are required to pay nonresident tuition and meet other conditions.

To learn more about establishing California residency for tuition purposes, review the information below.

Resident Classification

Under California law, SDSU 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 and the CSU Residence 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 and meet other conditions.

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 applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted prior to or during the term in which reclassification is requested.

The SDSU residence determination dates are:

  • Fall semester: September 20
  • Spring semester: January 25
  • Summer term: June 1

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 SDSU.

If you are a student being claimed on taxes, lived with or supported by parents during any of the past three years, you most likely will not be classified as a California resident for tuition purposes. SDSU is a tax-supported institution and expects the student to be self supporting and 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 the parent they are living with or has most recently lived with.

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 SDSU 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 registration 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

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.

Changes to Residency Status

If you believe you are eligible for residency reclassification or if your personal registration information in the SDSU WebPortal does not indicate the correct residency status, contact the Office of the Registrar during normal business hours.

It is your responsibility to notify the Office of the Registrar 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 the Registrar.

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.

Residence Reclassification Request Instructions

CSU Residence Questionnaire

Grad Residency Instructions