Residency

Qualify for “in-state” tuition? Residency for tuition purposes is guided by State Law (RCW 28B.15.011-RCW 28B.15.015 and WAC 250-18-010-WAC 250-18-06).

At the time of admission, all students entering a Washington state, regional, or community college or university are assigned a residency status of “in-state” or “out-of-state” based on the location and duration of the student’s (or parent’s) one, true domicile. This determines the student’s tuition rate.

Financially Dependent

Financially Independent

Affidavit

Basic “In-State” Requirements

THE DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR RESIDENCY IS 30 CALENDAR DAYS OF THE FIRST DAY OF THE TERM.

If a residency decision is determined after fees are due, your account will be adjusted according to the change.  You are still responsible for paying tuition and fees by the posted deadline. Specific dates can be found on the Academic Calendar.

Basic requirements for an “In-State” Residency Status is a student who is:

  • Financially INDEPENDENT (see Financial Dependence/Independence) for the previous and current calendar years AND has established and maintained a Washington domicile for primary reasons other than education for the 12 months preceding the term of enrollment; or
  • Financially DEPENDENT during the previous and current calendar years AND has a parent/legal guardian who has established and maintained a Washington domicile for the 12 months preceding the term of enrollment; or
  • There are several other groups that may qualify for in-state tuition (see Exceptions)

To be eligible to establish a Washington state Domicile, a person must:

  • be a US citizen
  • permanent resident, or
  • hold a qualifying visa or
  • other qualifying status such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS)
  • or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Undocumented students may also qualify for in-state tuition by submitting a Washington Residency Affidavit Go to Citizenship/Immigration Status for more information regarding how citizenship/immigration status affects residency.

Financial Dependence or Independence

A student’s financial status is significant when determining residency.  A financially independent student can establish residency based on the location and duration of his/her own domicile, while a financially dependent student’s residency status will be based on one or both of their parent’s/legal guardian’s domicile.  The burden of proof regarding financial dependence/independence lies with the student.  See WAC 250-18-035. Note: Financial independence for residency purposes is determined SEPARATELY from financial independence for financial aid.

Students are financially dependent if they are:
  • claimed as dependents on their parent’s/legal guardian’s tax forms for the last year, or receive significant financial support* during the current or previous calendar year.
  • has spent at least seventy-five percent of both junior and senior years in high school in this state, who has at least one parent or legal guardian who had been domiciled in the state for a period of at least one year within the five-year period before the student graduates from high school, and who has enrolled in an institution within six months of leaving high school. The student shall retain resident student status so long as the student remains continuously enrolled for three quarters or two semesters in any calendar year.
  • Example: Fall 2022 starts on 8/22/22. To be eligible for Fall 2022 residency, the parent must move to Washington state no later than 8/22/21.

Domicile Requirement

Residency for Tuition Purposes requires three basic actions from the parent/legal guardian:

  • Move to or live in Washington state for reasons other than education, AND
  • Establish a domicile. Surrender previous state documents and obtain Washington documents, including identification, voter registration (if desired), and vehicle registration (if you drive), AND
  • Wait 12 months from the date of moving to Washington or the date of last action to establish a domicile, whichever is later.

Students are considered financially dependent when they are claimed on someone else’s federal income taxes and/or they receive more than half of their support from another person. The residency of a financially dependent student is based on the domicile of the student’s parent/step-parent or legal guardian, not the domicile of the student. It does not matter where the student lives. It is possible for a student to be considered a resident in more than one state when parents are separated or divorced.

Students are financially independent if they are:
  • not claimed as a dependent on their parent’s/legal guardian’s tax forms for the last year AND do not receive significant financial support* from family during the current and previous calendar year AND have income** to cover the majority of tuition and living expenses for the current and previous calendar year.

Domicile Requirement

Residency for Tuition Purposes requires three basic actions:

  • Move to Washington state for reasons other than educationAND
  • Establish a domicile. Surrender previous state documents and obtain Washington documents, including identification, voter registration (if desired), and vehicle registration (if you drive) within 30 days, AND
  • Wait 12 months from the date of moving to Washington or the date of last action to establish a domicile, whichever is later.

Requirements for residency for tuition purposes

  • Meet domicile requirements, AND
  • Meet financially independent requirements, including:
    • Not claimed as a dependent by anyone on federal IRS income tax returns for the current and prior calendar year, AND
    • Provide documentation of personal financial resources of at least 51% of the EWU Non-Resident Estimated Cost of Attendance for the calendar year prior to the term you are seeking residency, AND
    • Provide documentation of personal financial resources of at least 51% of the EWU Resident Estimated Cost of Attendance for the current calendar year.

Note: If you are 24 years of age or younger, you will need to demonstrate that you are NOT claimed on your parent’s/legal guardian’s taxes by submitting a copy of the first page of their tax return.

*Significant financial assistance is usually defined as more than what the student provides through their income.

**Financial aid, grants, scholarships, and loans authorized by the financial aid office in the student’s name may be considered as personal income. A spouse’s income may also be counted.

***Private loans (from friends, family, or third parties, etc.) cannot be counted towards income.

Documents that may be required to show one’s financial status include:

  • the individual’s sworn statement;
  • state and federal income tax returns from current and previous year;
  • W-2 forms:
  • other documented financial resources;
  • evidence of coverage for medical, life, automobile and property insurance.

Establish Washington Domicile

To be considered a Washington resident for tuition purpose, you must establish that Washington is your one and true bona fide domicile.  Before a bona fide domicile can be established, an individual must complete all basic requirements that a legal Washington resident is required to do by law.  To be considered a resident for tuition purposes, individuals must:

  1. Physically reside in Washington for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the term they are seeking residency for reasons other than education. (See Presumption below).
  2. Demonstrate that Washington is your one and true bona fide domicile by completing the actions below.
  3. Relinquish all ties to your former state.

Note: The 12 month period begins once all residency actions have been taken.

Steps leading to Washington domicile include:

  • obtaining a Washington driver’s license or identification card (Note: residents of Washington State are required to replace their previous state’s driver’s license with a Washington driver’s license/identification card within 30 days of arrival to Washington. Go to the Washington State Department of Licensing  for more information);
  • registering one’s vehicle or paying taxes on other property (Note: residents of Washington State are required to register their vehicles within 30 days of arrival to Washington.  Go to the Washington State Department of Licensing for more information);
  • working full-time in Washington;
  • using Washington residence information on federal and state income tax returns (If you need a copy of your federal income tax return, please go to the Internal Revenue Services );
  • registering to vote (See Washington Secretary of State’s Elections & Voting  for more information);
  • purchasing a home, signing a rental agreement, or providing other evidence of physically residing in Washington;
  • opening a Washington bank account. Existing bank account(s) prior to arriving in Washington is sufficient as long as one’s name and Washington address are associated with the account and documented;
  • becoming a member in a professional, business, civic, or other organization;
  • receiving benefits under a Washington state public assistance program (e.g. housing assistance, food assistance like SNAP and WIC)

For a full list of factors used to determine one’s domicile, click here. Domicile is not determined by one single factor, but on the individual’s overall situation. Documentation of evidence of one’s domicile is required when submitting the residency questionnaire.

Ties to Your Former State
To be considered a resident for tuition purposes, you cannot be receiving or accessing benefits that require you to be a resident of another state.  Some examples of benefits that may negate establishing residency: WUE tuition benefits (Western Undergraduate Exchange)*, driver’s license or car registration from another state, Hunting/Fishing license from another state, in-state tuition benefits from another state, unemployment benefits from another state, Medicaid from another state, etc.)

*Your time receiving this award cannot be used toward fulfilling the 12 month domicile requirement for establishing Washington residency.

Presumption of Non-Residency While Attending School
A presumption exists in WAC 250-18-030 which states that a financially independent, nonresident student attending more than 6 credits per term is presumed to be in Washington for primarily educational purposes and should not count this time toward establishing Washington domicile.  The student must demonstrate that he or she has established a bona fide domicile in Washington primarily for reasons other than education.


Request a Residency Status Review

If you believe you were assigned an incorrect residency status, or if you believe your status has changed since the time of admission.

  • File a Residency Questionnaire by the 30th calendar day of the term.
  • You MUST include supporting documentation. The burden of proof for demonstrating residency lies with the student.
  • Supporting documentation includes:
    • Previous year’s tax return (and current year’s pay stubs) to determine financial independence or dependence
    • Parent’s previous year’s tax return (if 24 years old or younger)
    • Housing documentation for prior 12 months
    • Driver’s license
    • Voter registration
    • Vehicle registration
    • Other documents as needed
    • If financially dependent, the supporting documentation should belong to the parent or legal guardian
  • Applications received after the 30th calendar day will be reviewed for the following term.
  • The normal processing time is 14 days.

Military-affiliated Students, Spouse & Dependents

All military-affiliated students:

Starting June 9, 2022, military members (including national guard and reservists), veterans, and dependents (spouses, former spouses, and children) who are eligible for VA educational assistance or rehabilitation benefits are a Washington resident student.

  • There is no time limit for when the student must enroll.
  • The student does not need to live in Washington.
  • The student does not need to be actively using the benefits.
  • The military member or veteran does not need to serve for a certain amount of time or have a certain type of service.
  • The student maintains resident student status as long as they stay continuously enrolled.
  • The benefits are those defined in Title 38 U.S.C. and Title 10 U.S.C. Chapter 1606. They include:
    • Post-9/11 GI Bill®
    • Montgomery GI Bill® – Active Duty
    • Montgomery GI Bill® – Selected Reserve (for National Guard and Reserve members)
    • Chapter 31 Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment
    • Chapter 35 or Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance (DEA)
    • Marine Gunnery Sergeant John Fry Scholarship
    • Edith Nourse Rogers STEM Scholarship

For additional information on military-related residency benefits, please contact:

Veterans Resource Center
Lena M. Tanguay | VA School Certifying Official
US Navy Veteran – 509.359.6592

M. David Millet | Director
US  Army Veteran – 509.359.2461

Citizenship & Immigration Status

To be eligible to establish Washington domicile, a person must:

  • be a U.S. citizen, or
  • be a permanent resident, or
  • hold a qualifying visa* or
  • hold another qualifying status such as Temporary Protected Status (TPS) of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and
  • provide documented evidence of the qualifying status in addition to meeting the requirements of Washington domicile.

*Certain visa types (e.g. B, C, D, F, J, M) are incompatible with establishing domicile because they preclude the intent to remain in Washington.

Undocumented Students

To qualify for in-state tuition, students must sign a Washington Residency Affidavit affirming that they:

  • have completed and obtained a high school diploma or have obtained the equivalent of a diploma;
  • have continuously lived in the state of Washington for at least a year before the individual is admitted to an institution of higher education and
  • will file to become a permanent resident of the USA as soon as they are eligible.

Exceptions

Exceptions for American Indians

Federally Recognized Indian Tribes

American Indian students who meet the following two conditions are eligible to pay resident tuition:

  1. for a period of one year immediately preceding the term of enrollment, students must have been domiciled in one or a combination of the following state: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington;
  2. students must be a member of one of the federally recognized Indian tribes whose traditional and customary tribal boundaries included portions of the state of Washington or whose tribe was granted reserved lands within the state of Washington. 

Students who meet this exception, please provide Records & Registration with your Tribal Card for review. Students can submit a copy in person, online or fax 509.359.6153.

Residency Affidavit

You can qualify for residency using the affidavit if you meet all the following conditions:

  1. You have received a high school diploma (or equivalent).
  2. You maintained a primary residence in Washington for at least 12 consecutive months immediately before your first term at the college determining residency. The Washington residence must be for purposes other than college. If you take any courses at another Washington college during the prior 12 months, you cannot have taken more than six credits in any given term. If you exceed that limit you must prove that you have a Washington residence for non-college reasons.
  3. You will affirm that you are a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or that you will file an application to become a permanent resident of the United States as soon as you are eligible to apply.

Other Exceptions

Other exceptions may exist for those who have moved outside of Washington on a temporary sojourn or for educational purposes and those who completed 75% of their junior and senior year in a Washington state high school but whose parents have moved out of Washington.

Need Help?

Washington Uniform Residency Questionnaire
Residency Affidavit

Veterans Resident Tuition Exemption: Veterans Resident Tuition Exemption of One Year Waiting Period

Submit Application:

EWU Records and Registration
201 Sutton Hall
Cheney, WA 99004
P: 509.359.2321
F: 509.359.6153
E: regonline@ewu.edu

Resources: