Residency For Tuition Purposes
California state law distinguishes between residents and nonresidents for tuition purposes. Students classified as nonresidents for tuition purposes pay an additional fee per unit of nonresident tuition (refer to Tuition and Other Fees for the current fee schedule).
The state requirements to establish residency for tuition purposes are independent from those of other types of residence (such as for tax purposes, jury duty, voting, or other state residence). A resident for tuition purposes is someone who meets the requirements set forth in the California Education Code (sections 68000-68085, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5) and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (sections 41901-41915).
Under California law, San Diego State University must determine the residency status for tuition purposes of all applicants and students.
- Adult students (who will be at least 19 years old on the Residence Determination Date) may establish their own residence for tuition purposes. Minor unmarried students (who will be under the age of 19 on the Residence Determination Date) derive their legal residence from the parent with whom they reside or last resided.
- A non-U.S. citizen may establish residence unless prohibited from establishing a residence in the United States by the Immigration and Nationality Act. Some examples of non-U.S. citizens who may establish residence include permanent residents, refugees, students granted asylum or temporary protected status, and students who hold certain non-immigrant visas.
Additional information is available on the California State University website.
A Residence Determination Date is set for each academic term and is part of the residency determination process. This date is not an application due date. Official documents must be dated one year and a day prior to the residency determination date. For example, if you submit a lease for the summer 2023 application, it must be dated no later than May 31, 2022.The Residence Determination Date for each term is listed below:
|Semester||Residence Determination Date|
A student's initial residency status is determined by the Office of Admissions according to answers to questions on the admissions application. If additional information is required in order to determine residency status, you will be asked to submit a CSU Residence Questionnaire. Log in to your my.SDSU account and select the Tasks tile to review the residency document request. Upload a copy of the completed Clarification of First-Year Student Residency Status form (including signatures) in PDF or JPG format. In order to be classified as a California resident for tuition purposes at time of admission to San Diego State University, a student (or parent in the case of a minor), must demonstrate both physical presence and residential intent.
Physical Presence: The student (or parent in the case of a minor) must establish a physical presence in California more than one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date of the term for which classification as a resident is requested. Continuous physical presence is not mandatory, but a student who leaves California has the burden of clearly demonstrating their retention of California residence during periods of absence.
Residential Intent: Physical presence within California solely for educational purposes does not constitute establishment of California residence. The student (or parent in the case of a minor) must demonstrate that they intend to make California their permanent home by establishing residential ties in California and relinquishing ties to the former place of residence. Proof of intent must be in place more than one year prior to the Residence Determination Date and can include (but is not limited to):
- Obtaining a California driver's license or ID card
- Registering to vote and voting in California
- Registering a vehicle owned or operated in California
- Filing a California state personal income tax return
- Maintaining an active bank account opened in California with a California branch
- Licensing from the state for professional practice
- Listing a permanent California address on home of record, or other military records
Processing Time for Initial Classification: Please allow four to six weeks to process your residency classification requests. All communication, including residency determinations, will be sent via email. Until a decision is made, students will remain classified as either undetermined or nonresidents and are responsible for on-time payment of nonresident fees.
If a student was classified as a nonresident student when they were admitted to SDSU, they may request to be reclassified to California resident in any subsequent term.
Requirements: In order to be eligible for reclassification to California resident, a student:
- Must be able to demonstrate their physical presence in California, show intent to make California their permanent home, and maintain an eligible immigration status for at least one year prior to the Residence Determination Date of the term for which you are requesting reclassification.
- Must provide documentation that proves they have been financially independent from
their parent(s) in the past three tax years (including the term in which the student
is requesting reclassification).Financial independence is a requirement for residence
reclassification. In accordance with California Education Code section 68044, a student shall be considered financially independent if they:
- have not and will not be claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by their parent in the current year or the prior three years; and
- have not and will not receive more than $750 in financial assistance from their parent in the current year or in any of the prior three years; and
- have not and will not live with parents for more than 6 weeks in the current year or in any of the prior three years.
- A student may be exempt from meeting the above financial independence requirements
due to the following updates to California Legislation Title 5, Article 4: Nonresident
Tuition 41905.5. Residence Reclassification - Financial Independence Requirement.
Effective beginning in the fall 2020 academic term, the student does not have to meet
the financial independence requirement if they meet at least one of the following
- Dependent on a parent who has California residence for more than one year immediately
preceding the residence determination date
- Examples of dependency on a parent with California residency includes but is not limited to, records of the parent paying tuition/housing for the student, documents that show the student lives with the parent, student being a dependent on the parent’s health insurance, student being claimed as a dependent on the parent’s taxes, etc.
- Enrolled in a graduate or post‐baccalaureate program, regardless of age
- Turned 24 years of age by the residence determination date
- Married or registered domestic partner as of the residence determination date
- Active duty members serving in the U.S Armed Forces
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Legal dependent other than spouse or registered domestic partner
- Former ward of the court, foster youth or both parents are deceased
- Declared by a court to be an emancipated minor
- Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
- Dependent on a parent who has California residence for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date
In addition to the CSU Residence Questionnaire, you must submit the following documents and a letter of explanation for any item you do not possess:
- Driver's license (or state I.D. card if student does not drive)
- Current and prior vehicle registration
- Voter registration
- Three most recent state income tax returns (For applicants who are exempt from meeting the financial independence requirement, only the most recent copy of state income tax return is required).
- Three most recent federal income tax returns (For applicants who are exempt from meeting the financial independence requirement, only the most recent copy of federal income tax return is required).
- Most recent W2 statement
- Bank statement
- Citizens of other countries will need to provide documentation to verify immigration status
- Mortgage or rental/lease agreement
Filing periods: Application dates for reclassification request are bellow:
- Fall applications are accepted June 2-December 1
- Spring applications are accepted January 3-May 1
- Summer applications are accepted April 1-August 1
Processing Time: Please allow two to three weeks to review reclassification requests. Determinations will not be made until all documents are received. All communication, including determinations, will be sent via email. Until a decision is made, students will remain classified as nonresidents and are responsible for on-time payment of nonresident fees.
California law provides for specific exceptions to nonresident tuition. A full list of exceptions is available on the CSU Residency for Tuition Purposes webpage.
If you do not meet the eligibility requirements for California residency for tuition purposes, you may qualify for an exemption from nonresident tuition commonly known as AB 540. Please review the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption web page for detailed information on the eligibility requirements.
NOTE: Students who qualify for this exemption may also be eligible to apply for and receive funds from certain state and institutional financial assistance programs through the California Dream Act.
Students classified as nonresidents may appeal to the Chancellor's Office within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the notification of the final campus decision. The campus decision may be appealed only if at least one of the following applies:
- The decision was based on:
- a significant error of fact: by the campus; or
- a significant procedural error by the campus; or
- an incorrect application of law which, if corrected, would require that the student be reclassified as a California resident; and/or,
- Significant new information, not previously known or available to the student, became available after the date of the campus decision classifying the student as a nonresident and based on the new information, the classification as a nonresident is incorrect.
Students must explain why the appeal meets one or more of the above appeal criteria and provide supporting documentation. For example, a "significant error of fact" could be demonstrated by stating that the campus incorrectly determined that a specific document, such as a driver's license, was untimely and by providing a copy of the document establishing the error. An appeal that only states "a significant error of fact," will be denied.
If you decide to appeal, you must submit an online appeal on the California Residency for Tuition Purposes web page.
Appeals via email, fax and U.S. mail will not be accepted. A student with a documented disability that prohibits the student from submitting an appeal through the California State University website should contact:
The California State University
Office of the Chancellor
Student Affairs & Enrollment Management
401 Golden Shore, 6th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4210
- The eligibility criteria for California residency for tuition purposes are established by State Law and the California Code of Regulations. San Diego State University implements these laws and regulations.
- SDSU cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria for any reason.
- Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating California residency for tuition purposes eligibility.
- Under California law, if you have moved to California primarily to attend a California institution of higher learning, then you are not eligible for California residency for tuition purposes.
- Living in California for 12 months is not an automatic qualification for California residency for tuition purposes. You must prove through official and/or legal documents that you have moved to California permanently and are not merely living in California temporarily while you attend California State University, however long your course of study may take.
- Despite the length of time you attend SDSU or live in California, you might not qualify for California residency for tuition purposes. You must prove through official and/or legal documents that you meet all of the requirements for California residency for tuition purposes.
- Legal ties that you maintain in another state or country (e.g., state tax liability, a driver's license, voter's registration, etc.), regardless of your reasons for maintaining these ties, will disqualify you from California residency for tuition purposes.
- For students requesting residence reclassification who are required to show financial independence, evidence that you are receiving financial support from your parents in any way, either directly (e.g. tuition payments, parent PLUS loans, etc.) or indirectly (e.g., parent-purchased or co-purchased residences, parent-controlled financial portfolios), will disqualify you from California residency for tuition purposes.
Additional information regarding CSU residency determination is available on the California State University website.
Applicants and newly admitted students: contact the Office of Admissions for more information about your initial classification at SDSU.
Continuing students: contact the Office of the Registrar Residence Specialist at [email protected] for more information about residence reclassification.