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Determining California Residency

What is Residency?

Residence is the location where the student is considered to have the most settled and permanent connection -- where they intend to live and return to after any absence.

The determination of residency for purposes of the CSU is not to determine if a student is a resident or non-resident in the state of California, but rather determine whether a student pays university fees on an in-state or out-of-state basis. Each campus admissions office is responsible for determining the residency status of all new and returning students based on the Application for Admission, Residency Questionnaire, Reclassification Form and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by the student.

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 in-state tuition purposes.

Initial Classification

When a student first comes to the CSU as either a first-time freshman or as a transfer, the student must have legal capacity to establish residency. If a student is under the age of 19, he/she cannot establish residency on their own; their status derives from their parent or legal guardian’s residence.

The two requirements to be considered for initial classification are:

  1. Physical Presence: A student must be physically present in California ONE YEAR PRIOR to the Residence Determination Date (in which enrollment is contemplated).
  2. Intent: A student must intend to remain in California ONE YEAR PRIOR to the Residence Determination Date.


To submit for reclassification, a student must demonstrate he/she has lived in California at least ONE YEAR, show an intent to remain in California indefinitely and be financially independent.

Access the Reclassification Form here.