Virginia Commonwealth University

Residency

Frequently Asked Questions


What is "Domicile?"
Domicile is the present, fixed home of an individual to which one returns following temporary absences and at which one intends to remain indefinitely. The domicile of a dependent or a minor is presumed to be that of the parent(s).

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How are the rules and procedures established for considering individuals ans in-state students for tuition purposes?
The conditions by which a student may be considered In-State for purposes of tuition classification are set forth by Chapter 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia. Although individuals may be considered state residents for voting, jury duty and other legal purposes after being in the state for a short period of time, the Code outlines specific additional requirements that must be met to be classified as In-State for tuition purposes.

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Who is considered a dependent student?
Any student who is listed as a dependent on tax returns of parents or legal guardians or who receives substantial financial support from them. A married student whose spouse provides substantial financial support also can be a dependent student.

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Who is considered an independent student?
Any student who is over the age of 24 and whose parents have surrendered the right to care, custody and support and have not claimed the student as a dependent on federal and state income tax returns for at least twelve months prior to the date of alleged entitlement. A student will also be considered an "independent student" if the student (i) is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces; (ii) is a graduate or professional student; (iii) is married; (iv) is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18; (v) has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased; (vi) has legal dependents other than a spouse; or (vii) is able to present clear and convincing evidence that he/she is financially self-sufficient.

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Who can I talk to about my chances for getting in-state rates?
The Residency Appeals Officer cannot speculate on your chances for getting reclassified to In-State. There is information available on the requirements for establishing a Virginia domicile. The Domicile Guidelines issued by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia are available online at http://www.schev.edu/students/VAdomicileInfo.asp.

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If I am currently a sudent, may I establish in-state status?
If you are a dependent and your parent(s) or spouse moves to Virginia while you are in school and fulfills the requirements of domicile, you should petition for a change of status effective 12 months after the move. If you entered classified as an Out-of-State student, you must present clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption that you are residing in the Virginia primarily to attend school. Residence or physical presence in Virginia primarily to attend the University does not entitle you to In-State tuition rates.

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I am a new student and I just go a letter informing me that I am classified as out-of-state. Why am I out-of-state?
The Residency Appeals Officer does not have sufficient information to answer this question because the initial decision on your domicile is made by the respective career level Admissions Office. Any questions regarding your initial decision should be forwarded to the appropriate Admissions Office.

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Can I establish in-state status as a student?
Yes, but the mere fact that you are a student is not sufficient evidence to consider you In-State. Physical presence and intent must be demonstrated.

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Are non-U.S. citizens capable of establishing in-state classification?
Non-U.S. citizens are legally capable of establishing domicile where they have been granted the status of lawful permanent residents by the U.S. Immigration Service. Immigrants may claim, and seek to prove, eligibility for In-State tuition rates as Virginia domicile as any citizen of the United States. The burden is on the student to establish, clearly and convincingly, his or her domicile in Virginia for the requisite one-year period.

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How long must I be domiciled in Virginia before I can be considered in-state for tuition purposes?
By law a student or the student's parent(s) must be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 continuous months immediately preceding the first day of classes.

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I have lived in Virginia for twelve months or longer. Can I get in-state rates?
Mere physical presence or residence in Virginia for twelve months does not necessarily qualify you for In-State tuition privileges. The university cannot speculate on your eligibility for In-State status. In order to get a determination, you must complete the Application for Change of Domicile.

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Are dependents and spouses of active duty military personnel always required to pay out-of-state tuition at public institutions?
No. The Code of Virginia provides some exceptions under which In-State tuition or reduced tuition rates might be available. Effective Fall 2006, all dependents of active duty military personnel who are assigned to a permanent duty station in Virginia, and who reside in Virginia, are eligible to receive In-State tuition to the Commonwealth's colleges and universities, so long as they are continuously enrolled in the institution. Military spouses and dependents must APPLY for this benefit.

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Can the non-military spouse establish Virginia domicile separate from the domicile of the active duty military spouse?
Yes. The non-military spouse must meet the same domicile requirements as any new resident to the state.

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To establish domicile, are active duty military persons required to meet the one-year residence requirement?
No. Effective July 1, 2007, active duty military that are assigned to a Virginia military installation and reside in Virginia are eligible for the In-State tuition rate. Military students must APPLY to receive the In-State rate.

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What if I disagree with a tuition classification decision?
Each public institution of higher education has established an appeals process for students who question decisions on eligibility for In-State charges. The appeals process includes an immediate review and a final administrative review. Due process procedures shall be in writing and shall include time limitations in order to provide for orderly and timely resolutions of all disputes. Any party aggrieved by a final administrative decision shall have the right of review in the Circuit Court for the jurisdiction in which the institution is located.

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When do I have to submit the appeal form?
Not later than the first day of classes for the semester in which you seek In-State status. Check the Schedule of Classes for more detailed information on semester start dates.

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If I pay my tuition at the out-of-state rate while I'm waiting for a decision and I get reclassified to in-state, will I get a reimbursement?
Yes, provided you submitted the appeal form in a timely manner.

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How will I know whether or not I have been reclassified?
A student may be notified by either an email or a written letter depending on where they are in the process.

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