Admissions and Records

California Residency for CSU Tuition Purposes

General Information

By California law, every student attending the California State University (CSU) must be classified as either a resident or nonresident for tuition purposes. This classification is important because only nonresidents must pay an additional amount per unit. Helpful: CSUN Tuition and Other Fees

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Residence for Tuition Purposes

"Residence" for purposes of tuition classification is the location with which a person is considered to have the most settled and permanent connection, where that person intends to remain, and to return. Under California law:

  • Residence is formally defined as "the place where one remains when not called elsewhere for labor or other special or temporary purpose, and to which s/he returns in seasons of repose" (Education Code § 68062(b)).
  • Each person may have only one residence. Residence may be changed only by a combination of physical presence and intention to remain at a new place indefinitely. A former residence is not lost until a new one is gained (Education Code § 68062(c)).

Note:  The term “California resident” for tuition purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency.

Residency Determination Dates

In general, to be classified as a California resident for CSU tuition purposes, a person must meet certain eligibility requirements one year and one day (i.e., 366 days) prior to the Residency Determination Date for the academic term or semester in which s/he is considering enrollment. Residence is determined after the student has been accepted for admission (new students), or upon request for a residence reclassification (continuing students). 

Students must establish residency by the following dates of the prior calendar year to qualify for resident tuition.

Residency Determination Dates
Academic Term / SemesterResidency Determination Date
FallSeptember 20
SpringJanuary 25
SummerJune 1

CalState TEACH operates on a trimester system, and these students must establish residency by the following dates of the prior calendar year to qualify for resident tuition.

Cal TEACH Residency Determination Dates
Academic TermCal TEACH Residency Determination Date
FallSeptember 20
SpringJanuary 5
SummerJune 1

Establishing Residency

To be classified as a resident for tuition purposes, a student (or parent in the case of a minor) must demonstrate a physical presence in California coupled with the intent to make California their permanent home. Evidence of physical presence and intent must be in place one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date.

Note: Physical presence within California solely for educational purposes does not constitute establishment of California residence.

Incoming and continuing CSUN students seeking to change their classification from nonresident to resident for tuition purposes should:

  1. Complete the CSU Residency Questionnaire
  2. ONLY if requested by us, provide one copy of two or more of the following or similar documents (proofs must be in place one year prior to the Residence Determination Date):
    • Valid CA identification card
    • Valid CA driver's license (may also include expired date to show residency)
    • Valid CA motor vehicle registration
    • Active bank account statement showing date opened
    • CA voter registration
    • CA state income tax return (or federal return showing a California home address)
    • CA property title
    • CA property lease agreement
    • Permanent military address or home of record on military records
    • Professional license issued by CA
    • W-2 form or pay stubs

The burden of proof of residence rests solely with the student. Students from whom additional information is required will be contacted by letter or email with further instructions. Students who do not qualify as California residents for tuition purposes will be notified in writing and given the opportunity to appeal to the California State University Chancellor's Office (see below).

Residency Forms

Choose the form and instructions below for your student group:

To check eligibility, please review "10 Things You Need to Know about California Residency for Tuition Purposes" on this page.

Residence Determination Appeals

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:

1.  The decision was based on:

a) a significant error of fact;
b) a significant procedural error; or
c) an incorrect application of law which, if corrected, would require that the student be reclassified as a resident;

and/or,

2.  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.

For more information, please see Chancellor's Office Instructions to Appeal.

10 Things You Need to Know about California Residency for Tuition Purposes

Are You Eligible for Resident Tuition?

The following list clarifies several misconceptions about establishing residency for CSU tuition purposes. 

  1. California residency for tuition purposes eligibility criteria are established by State Law and the California Code of Regulations. California State University implements these Laws and Regulations.
  2. California State University cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria for any reason.
  3. Under California law, if you have moved to California primarily to attend a California institution of higher learning, then you are not eligible for in-state tuition.
  4. Living in California for 12 months is not an automatic qualification for in-state tuition.
  5. 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.
  6. Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating California residency for tuition purposes eligibility.
  7. Legal ties that you maintain in another state or country (e.g., state tax liability, a driver’s license, voter’s registration, etc.) will disqualify you from residency reclassification, regardless of your reason(s) for maintaining these ties.
  8. Evidence that you are receiving out-of-state financial support 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 for one or more of the following situations:

a.  You have been claimed as a dependent on anyone’s income tax return within the past 3 years

b.  You have accepted more than $750 in financial support in any form

c.  You have lived with a parent during the past 3 years for more than 6 weeks in each year 

Then you shall not be considered financially dependent and therefore cannot meet the core requirement of demonstrated financial independence necessary to qualify for reclassification from nonresident to resident.

  1. Despite the length of time you attend California State University or live in California, you might not qualify for California residency for-tuition-purposes.
  2. Residency reclassification applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted during the term in which reclassification is requested.

Note: 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.

For more information, please refer to the California Education Code, sections 6800-68090, 68120-68134, 89705-89707.5, and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, sections 41900-41916.

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