State Residency and Your College

State Residency and Your College
  • Opening Intro -

    You live in one state and plan to attend college in another state, but there is one big drawback: the public university that has accepted you will be charging you at an out-of-state rate.


You knew this before applying, but at a price that is nearly double what in-state students are paying, you realize that your costs will rival some of the pricier private schools you were also considering.

One way to avoid the extra cost is to take up residency in the other state. Completing the process will take time, which leaves you with a choice: either pay up for the first year or put off beginning your schooling until after you have established residency. We’ll look at this challenge through the lens of the first option.

1. Choose your college. Get accepted into your desired college. As soon as you finish up high school, leave home, move to the new state and rent an apartment. Expect your parents to co-sign your lease if you do not already have a job.

2. Understand your college’s policy. What makes a student a state resident? How long is the transition process? The answer to the first question may mean setting up a residence. For the second question, that answer typically ranges from six to twelve months, or long after you already started your freshman year.

3. Put roots down. With your residence established, you need to begin the process of switching over. Find employment locally and apply for your new state’s driver’s license. Both moves are important as they demonstrate that you’re committed to living there as a state resident.

4. Pull together your documentation. Your college will explain to you what documents are required to demonstrate residency. These may include: your driver’s license, a state tax filing, your lease agreement and utility bills. Provide copies or original documentation as required.

5. Just prove it. Your plans to claim residency can be thwarted if you are not a self-supporting student. Colleges understand the various “tricks” that some students resort to and will look very closely at your claim. For instance, if you rent an $800 per month apartment and are working part-time, your claim may be turned down as it is apparent that your parents are supporting you.

More Information

Contact your college’s admissions office to understand what is required of you to claim residency. You will want to concentrate on doing what matters most and what can be accomplished as soon as possible. To delay the process may mean that you will pay at an out-of-state rate for another year, a prohibitive expense for some college students.

See AlsoSmart Tips for Keeping a Car on Campus


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Categories: Education Tips