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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 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.

Residency Appeal Process: Updated August 2017

The recent amendments to the California Code of Regulations, Title 5, Section 41908, Residency Appeals Process identify content that must be included in correspondence and communication regarding non-resident residency determination for tuition purposes issue on or after June 15, 2017.

At the May 24, 2017, CSU Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees approved amendments to Section 41908​. These changes relate specifically to the appeals process and do not modify residency requirements. The changes set forth new criteria for appeals, shorten the number of calendar days within which an appeal can be submitted and remove the Office of General Counsel as the designated unit within the Office of the Chancellor to review appeals.

Section 41908 has been amended as follows:

Any student, following a final campus decision concerning the student's residence classification, may make a written appeal to the Chancellor's Office within 30 calendar days of the issuance of the notification of the final campus decision. The campus decision may be appealed only if at least one of the following applies:

  1. The decision was based on:
    1. a significant error of fact;
    2. a significant procedural error; or
    3. an incorrect application of law which, if corrected, would require that the student be reclassified as a resident; and/or,
  2. Significant new information, not previously known or available to the student, became available after the date of the campus decision classifying the student as a nonresident and based on the new information, the classification as a nonresident is incorrect.
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Instructions for submitting an appeal