Residency, Establishment of for Tuition Purposes
August 26, 2019
This policy item applies to:
This policy summarizes and clarifies the State University of New York’s (SUNY) definition of residency for purposes of determining eligibility for in-state tuition at SUNY state-operated campuses.
Under the SUNY Board of Trustees regulations, a person (U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or certain non-immigrants) whose domicile has been in the State of New York for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the time of registration for any period of attendance shall be a New York resident for the purpose of determining the tuition rate payable for such period. All other persons shall be presumed to be out-of-state residents for such purpose, unless domiciliary status is demonstrated in accordance with these guidelines. 8 NYCRR §302.1(a)(5).
Notwithstanding a student's domiciliary status, a student will be considered a resident eligible for in-state tuition rates where so required under State or federal law. 8 NYCRR §302.1(a)(6). (See Section III (D) of this policy for exceptions to the domiciliary rule made by State or federal law).
Generally, a student's state of residency is considered the same as that of his or her custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s), unless an exception under Section III(C) of this policy applies. Furthermore, students aged 24 and older are considered independent of their parents and are not deemed to have the same state of residency at their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
I. In General
Students enrolled at University campuses are considered New York State residents if they have established their domicile in New York State one year immediately preceding the date of registration at the respective campus. The term “registration” is defined by individual campuses and will vary among the 29 state-operated institutions. A domicile is a fixed, permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent. Determination of a student’s domicile will be based on the factors set forth in Section III.
Students who have not established New York State as their domicile in the one year prior to registration may still be considered residents as described in Section B below.
1. Persons domiciled in New York State for twelve months or more:
Financially independent students who have maintained their domicile in New York State for a period of at least twelve months prior to registration shall be considered New York State residents (See Section III(C) for financially dependent students with out-of-state parents or guardians). Persons who have been physically present in New York State for at least twelve months but have maintained a fixed, permanent and principal residence outside of New York State shall not be considered New York State residents.
2. Persons domiciled in New York State for less than twelve months:
Financially independent individuals who have maintained their domicile in New York State for a period of less than twelve months prior to registration shall be presumed to be out-of-state residents (See Section III(C) for financially dependent students with out-of-state parents or guardians). These individuals may challenge this presumption by presenting sufficient evidence to prove that they have made New York State their fixed, permanent and principal home. (See Section III(B) below)
A. Applying for New York State Residency
Students who have not established a New York State domicile for a period of at least one year immediately preceding the time of registration and who wish to be considered eligible for in-state tuition must submit to the campus a standard Application for New York State Resident Status for Tuition Billing Purposes. The campus may require that the application be notarized. Additionally, in situations where the campus seeks to verify a student’s claim of residency, campus officials may request that the student complete this (or a similar) form. Any student who fails to complete the residency application, including the submission of all supporting documentation, after being requested to do so by a campus official, will be charged out-of-state tuition. A student applying for a change to in-state status must furnish all evidence that the student wishes the SUNY institution to consider at the time the application is due. The due date is based on the deadline set forth by the SUNY institution at which the student seeks to enroll.
B. Initial Determination of Residency
The initial determination of residency status should be based on the information provided by the student during the admissions process. For this reason, SUNY’s Application Services Center the (“ASC”) undergraduate application for admission includes a description of residence as follows: "If your principal or permanent home has not been in New York State for a 12-month period immediately prior to the date you intend to enroll, you will be considered an out-of-state student for tuition purposes." To promote consistency, all other application forms (graduate, professional, or any other non-ASC) should be revised to include this definition. In addition, all application forms should solicit information relative to a student's principal or permanent home for the previous twelve-month period.
C. Submission of Residency Applications
Each campus determines the date by which completed residency applications must be submitted in any given academic term.
A residency determination and any supporting documentation shall be placed in the student’s permanent file.
Each campus shall establish an on-campus procedure for the appeal of residency determinations. The procedure for appeals must be published on the campus’ website. All decisions rendered by the campus appeals officer or board shall be final.
III. Guidelines for Determining Residence/Eligibility for Resident Tuition
In order to determine residency status, the campus must ascertain whether the student or the student’s parent has established a New York State domicile. The following principles govern the determination of a student’s domicile:
1. A domicile is a fixed, permanent home to which a person intends to return following an absence.
2. A person may have multiple residences but only one domicile.
3. A person retains a domicile until it is abandoned and another domicile is established.
4. A person does not acquire a New York State domicile only by being physically present in New York for the sole purpose of attending a New York State campus.
5. A person does not acquire a New York State domicile solely by being physically present in New York State for a period of twelve months.
6. A student of divorced or legally separated parents is presumed to acquire a New York State domicile if:
Dependents of a parent or legal guardian who is a full-time active member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed out-of-state will be considered NYS residents, provided that the parent or legal guardian submits proof of a New York State residency, referred to as a “Home of Record.” Such records are on file at the person’s military base. A home of record designated as part of military service can never be changed, other than if there was an error in the initial assignment or after a break in military service.
Civilian employees of the military and their dependents are not covered under this military “Home of Record” rule.
Civilian employees of the military or other federal agency who are required to work in a non-New York location may still establish domicile in NYS if they can show evidence of domicile listed in Section B below.
B. Proof of Domicile
Proof of a New York State domicile is demonstrated by documents that support an applicant’s contention that his or her permanent home is located in New York State, including but not limited to:
An applicant need not submit all of the above documentation in order to demonstrate a New York State domicile; however, the campus should examine the totality of the circumstances in each individual case and should have at least three forms of the above-referenced documentation.
C. Students With Out-of-State-Resident Parents or Guardians
Generally a dependent student’s state of residency is considered the same as their custodial parent(s) or legal guardian(s). Students aged 24 and older are considered independent of their parents and are not deemed to have the same state of residency as their parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
To be designated a New York State resident, a student with out-of-state parent(s) or legal guardian(s) must fall under an exception to the Domicile rule set forth in Section D below or present evidence of domicile in NY, and that either:
D. Exceptions to the Domicile Rule
Persons with the following status or participating in the following programs shall be accorded the benefits of in-state status for the period in which they hold such status or are engaged in such programs:
For other information regarding programs for non-resident veterans that confer in-state tuition rates, see attached Military/Veteran Chart.
E. Residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands Displaced by Hurricanes Maria and Irma
In September 2017, the Federal Emergency Management Agency declared Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands disaster areas (“Disaster Areas”). On October 6, 2017, the SUNY Board of Trustees authorized the Chancellor or designee to amend these guidelines to make undergraduate and graduate students from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who have been displaced by either Hurricane Maria or Irma eligible for resident tuition rates for the 2017/18 academic year at SUNY State-operated institutions. The Board of Trustees then took the same action to extend this authorization on June 20, 2019 for the 2019/20 academic year.
Accordingly, for the 2017/18, 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years, residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands who, because of the devastation caused by Hurricanes Maria or Irma, have either been displaced from colleges and universities in the Disaster Areas or are currently enrolled as SUNY students and cannot return to the Disaster Areas. Affected students seeking the in-state tuition rate will be required to sign a notarized affidavit, attesting that they are residents of the Disaster Areas and that they have been displaced from their homes or institutions of higher education as a result of the devastation caused by the hurricanes. Additionally, students displaced from their schools will be required to show some form of documentation verifying enrollment in an effected institution of higher education.
F. Residents of the Bahamas Displaced by Hurricane Dorian
In September 2019, Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas and destroyed many of the Island’s residences. On September 24, 2019, the SUNY Board of Trustees authorized the Chancellor or designee to amend these guidelines to make undergraduate and graduate students from the Bahamas who have been displaced by Hurricane Dorian eligible for resident tuition rates for the 2019/20 academic year at SUNY State-operated institutions.
Accordingly, for the 2019/20 academic year, residents of the Bahamas who, because of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, have either been displaced from colleges and universities in the Bahamas or are currently enrolled as SUNY students and cannot return to the Bahamas. Affected students seeking the in-state tuition rate will be required to sign a notarized affidavit, attesting that they are residents of the Bahamas and that they have been displaced from their homes or institutions of higher education as a result of the devastation caused by the hurricane. Additionally, students displaced from their schools will be required to show some form of documentation verifying enrollment in an effected institution of higher education.
IV. Qualifying Immigrant Statuses and Non-immigrant Statuses
A. Lawful Permanent Residents (Resident Aliens)
Current Permanent Resident Status
Resident aliens may lawfully reside in the United States on a permanent basis. There are two acceptable methods for verifying status as a resident alien. The first method is that a student who has requested Federal financial aid, which has been verified by the Federal Financial Aid Central Processor, has his/her status automatically matched by the USCIS, which will be evident through SUNY’s coding of the student as a lawful permanent resident or resident alien. In that case, there is no need for a student to submit a Permanent Resident Card or any other form of documentation regarding permanent residence.
The second way a student can prove he/she is a resident alien if not confirmed through the above match is such student must present proof of their status by providing the campus with a Permanent Resident Card (formerly known as the “Alien Registration Card” and commonly known as a “green card”) prior to registration.
The following proofs are acceptable:
Once a student’s immigrant status has been verified, the student may then establish New York State residency by meeting the criteria set forth in Section III (B).
Pending Permanent Resident Status
A student may also provide a valid application for permanent residency status and upon verification that the application is pending; the student may then also apply for New York State residency status. Proper documentation indicating that a valid application for permanent residency is pending includes:
Note: Students who filed or have an approved petition (Form I-130 or I-140), but have not yet applied for adjustment of status are NOT eligible for in-state or resident tuition.
Dependent Student’s Parents With Immigration Status Permanently Abandon New York State Domicile
In cases where a dependent student’s parents have established immigrant status but subsequently abandon their New York State domicile, the student also loses New York State residency status and the in-state tuition benefit, unless the student can establish New York State domicile under the criteria specified above in Sec. III(C)- Students With Out-of-State-Resident Parents or Guardians
B. Students In Certain Non-Immigrant Statuses
The United States Supreme Court has held that certain non-immigrant aliens have the legal ability to establish New York as their domicile. Non-immigrant aliens are those aliens who enter the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose. Non-immigrants are grouped in categories depending on the type of visa presented at the port of entry. Non-immigrants admitted to the United States in categories which prohibit them from establishing a United States residence would not be eligible for in-state tuition. Non-immigrants included in categories which permit them to establish a United States residence may be eligible for in-state tuition if they meet the criteria set forth in Section III(B)(See lists below for categorization). To seek in-state tuition, persons included in non-immigrant alien categories permitting establishment of U.S. residency must provide documentation of residency in accordance with Section III(B), above.
Non-immigrant Status Eligible for U.S. Residency
The following is a list of the visa categories of non-immigrant aliens who under federal law have the capacity to make New York State their domicile and therefore may qualify for the resident rate of tuition if they otherwise meet the requirements:
A student who is in one of the above categories must provide proof of such status by furnishing his/her I-94 Arrival/Departure record with either the notation Duration of Status (D/S) or an expiration date not yet reached.
Note on applications for extension of stay: Where a qualified non-immigrant has made a timely application for an extension of stay as evidenced by a filing receipt for USCIS Form I-539, he/she remains eligible for in-state tuition. To “timely” file an application means that a person must file the application before his/her current period of authorized stay expires.
Non-immigrant Status Not Eligible for U.S. Residency
The following visa categories of non-immigrant aliens do not qualify for the resident rate of tuition:
C. Students Admitted As Refugees, Or Granted Asylum, Or Granted Withholding Of Deportation Or Removal
Refugees and asylees may also reside permanently in the United States. Students submitting proof of refugee or asylee status or application pending status should be treated as immigrant aliens and permitted to provide evidence of a New York State domicile (See Related Information for Acceptable Documentation).
It should be noted that a person whose evidence of Refugee or Asylum status has expired is nevertheless eligible for in-state tuition. The following are acceptable proofs of this status:
D. Temporary Protected Status
Foreign nationals may also be granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. As long as the individual has TPS, he or she can establish domiciliary status, because the underlying non-immigrant visa status is superseded by the TPS. If the student loses TPS, he or she will revert to the underlying non-immigrant visa status, unless it changed. For example, an F-1 student who has TPS can establish domicile for the time she is in such status. If during the time the student is in school, she loses TPS, then she will revert to F-1 status, and would not be eligible to establish domicile. If her underlying status changed from F-1 to asylee or asylee pending, then she could continue to establish domicile and therefore be considered and in-state resident for the duration of her tenure as a student.
The following are acceptable proofs of this status:
E. Undocumented Aliens and Others without Lawful Immigration Status
Pursuant to the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. §1623), students who are unable to present valid documentation of their alien status are not eligible for in-state tuition rates. Effective July 1, 1998, aliens not lawfully present in the United States are not eligible on the basis of residence within a state for any postsecondary educational benefit unless citizens or nationals of the United States are eligible for the same benefit without regard to state residency. However, certain undocumented aliens or others without lawful immigration status may be eligible for the resident tuition rate pursuant to Section III(D) above.
F. Jay Treaty
The Jay Treaty grants dual citizenship to certain persons for the United States and Canada. Students with citizenship under the Jay Treaty, however, do not qualify for the resident rate of tuition because they cannot establish domicile in New York if they reside in Canada.
A student may rebut such presumption of ineligibility by providing documentation to establish eligibility for the resident rate of tuition under section III of the policy.
Domicile – a fixed, permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent.
Home of Record (Military) – a state of residency from which an individual enters military service. Once designated by the member of the military, it cannot be changed other than if there were an error in the initial assignment or after a break in military service.
Home of Record or Home Leave (Civilian Employees of Federal Government) – a state of residency designated by the individual civilian employee. This can be changed by the individual civilian employee.
Non-Resident – a person whose domicile is not New York State
The following link to FindLaw's New York State Laws is provided for users' convenience; it is not the official site for the State of
NYS Education Law §6301 (Residency definition for tuition at community colleges)
In case of questions, readers are advised to refer to the New York State Legislature site for the menu of New York State Consolidated.
8 USC §1101(a) (15) (Definition of term, immigrant)(Shows nonimmigrant categories ineligible for exception in III.C (3))
8 U.S.C. §1623 (Limitations of eligibility of aliens)
22 CFR §41.12 (Classification symbols)
Summary of Acceptable Documentation (Please note that proper documentation indicating that a valid application for permanent residency is pending is identified in section IV (Immigrant Aliens) of this policy.)
There are no procedures relevant to this policy.
Affidavit - Students Displaced from Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
Application for Residency Status/Resident Tuition Parts A, B, C
Sample Form for Residency Determination
Affidavit - Students Displaced from the Bahamas
USCIS Document Verification Request
The following links to FindLaw's New York State Laws are provided for users' convenience; it is not the official site for the State of
NYS Education Law §355(2)(h) (Regulation of Tuition Generally)
NYS Education Law §355(2)(h)(3) (Exception to domiciliary rule for military stationed in NYS)
NYS Education Law §355(2)(h)(8) (Exception to domiciliary rule for attendance in NYS high school)
In case of questions, readers are advised to refer to the New York State Legislature site for the menu of
There are no appendices relevant to this policy.