Exceptions & Exemptions

Students not classified as California residents for tuition purposes may qualify for an exception or an exemption from payment of nonresident tuition.

Minors capable of establishing legal residence

  1. Parent Was California Resident Who Left the State

    To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

    1. The student must be under the age of 19; and
    2. The student's parent must have been a California resident for at least one year prior to leaving California; and
    3. Within one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date and during the student's minority, the student's parent must have established a residence in another state; and
    4. After his/her parent left California, the student must have remained in California, except for short absences, such as an occasional vacation which can be explained without conflicting with the general requirements; and
    5. Once enrolled, the student must have maintained continuous attendance at the institution. If the student has attended more than one institution, all such attendances must have been contiguous and full time.

    The student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

  2. Self-Support

    To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

    1. The student must be under age 19; and
    2. The student must be entirely self-supporting; and
    3. The student must have been present in the state for one year preceding the Residence Determination Date, except for short absences which can be explained; and
    4. One year prior to the Residence Determination Date, the student must have exhibited the intent to become a California resident.

    Section 41906(a) of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations provides any student seeking application of this exception must provide evidence of self-support, including: documentation showing earnings for the year in the form of a statement from the employer or federal withholding form, a statement the student has actually been in California for the year (short absences from California are permitted), and a statement showing all the student's expenses for the year.

    Any of the following would result in a determination the student is not self-supporting:

    1. A loan made by a bank to a parent who turns the proceeds over to the student
    2. A loan made by a bank to a student co-signed or endorsed by a parent
    3. A loan made by a parent to the student

    The student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

  3. Two-Year Care and Control

    To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

    1. The student must be under the age of 19; and
    2. The student must have lived with and been under the continuous direct care and control of an adult, or series of adults other than a parent, for two years immediately prior to enrollment; and
    3. During the one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date, such adult or adults must have been residents of California while the student was living with them; and
    4. Once enrolled under this exception, the student must maintain continuous attendance at an institution. If the student has attended more than one institution, all such attendances must have been contiguous and full time.

    The student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

Dependent of a California Resident

To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The student must not have been an adult resident of California for more than one year; and
  2. The student must either:
    1. Be identified as a dependent child on the most recent year's income tax return filed by a parent who has had California residence for at least one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date; or
    2. Have a parent who has both contributed court-ordered child support on a continuous basis and has been a California resident for a minimum of one year.
  3. The student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

Graduate of a California school operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs

To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The student must be a graduate of a California school operated by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
  2. Once enrolled under this exception, the student must maintain continuous attendance at the institution.

Employees of the CSU or California State employees assigned outside California and their spouses, registered domestic partners and children

To be eligible for this exception, the student must be either:

  1. A full-time employee of the CSU; or
  2. A full-time employee of any other California state agency who is assigned to work outside the state, or
  3. The spouse, registered domestic partner or child (natural or adopted) of any such employee identified in (a) or (b).

This exception does not require a spouse, domestic partner or child be a dependent of the state employee for income tax reporting purposes, nor does it contain any age limitation.

Student assistants, or employees who work all year on a part-time basis, or who work full-time on a less than annual basis, are not eligible for this exception.

Campus auxiliary organizations are not California State agencies and employees of these organizations and their spouses or children are not eligible for this exception.

CSU Presidents have authority under Chancellor's Executive Order No. 712 to waive entirely, or to reduce fees for employees enrolled in work-related courses. This authority does not extend to nonresident tuition.

A student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

Employee of California school districts

  1. To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:
  2. The student must hold a valid credential, including an emergency permit, authorizing service in California public schools; and
  3. The student must be employed full time by a school district during the year s/he will attend the CSU; and
  4. The school district position held by the student must require certification for the year s/he will attend the CSU; and
  5. The student must:
    1. Hold a provisional credential issued by California and be enrolled in courses necessary to obtain a permanent credential issued by California to teach in the public schools; or
    2. Hold a credential issued by California and pursuant to Education Code Section 44250 (either a "teaching" or "service" credential) and be enrolled in courses necessary to fulfill the credential requirements; or
    3. Be enrolled in courses necessary to fulfill the requirements for a fifth year of education prescribed by Education Code section 44259(b).

A student is eligible for this exception for no more than one academic year.

State government legislature or Executive Fellowship Program enrollee

To be eligible for this exception, the student must show that on the Residence Determination Date s/he is enrolled in a state government legislative or an executive fellowship program administered by the state or by the CSU. The student ceases to be eligible for this exception when s/he is no longer enrolled in the qualifying fellowship.

The National Student Exchange Program (NSE) does not meet the exception. Students enrolled in the NSE program remain degree seeking students at their home campus during their enrollment at the CSU. NSE student participants will be required to demonstrate one year of physical presence combined with intent to remain in California indefinitely for at least one full year following completion of their NSE enrollment in order to qualify for resident classification.

Amateur student athlete

To be eligible for this exception, the student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Present documentation from a United States Olympic Training Center verifying that on the Residence Determination Date, s/he is in training at that facility; and
  2. Present documentation from the national governing body for the sport in which s/he competes that on the Residence Determination Date the student meets its eligibility standards for that sport.

Spouse or child of deceased law enforcement or fire suppression and prevention public employee

To be eligible for this exception, a student, regardless of age, must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be the surviving spouse or natural or adopted child of a deceased employee of a public agency (federal, state or local); and
  2. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee was a resident of California at the time of his/her death; and
  3. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee's principal duties consisted of either:
    1. Active law enforcement service which was not principally clerical; or
    2. Active fire suppression and prevention which was not principally clerical; and
  4. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee was killed in the course of those duties, or
    1. Died as a result of an accident incurred in the course of those duties, or
    2. Died as a result of an injury caused by external violence or physical force incurred in the course of those duties.

In addition to nonresident tuition, all other fees for students qualifying under this exception are waived.

Undergraduate dependent of September 11, 2001 attack victims

To be eligible for this exception, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be enrolled in an undergraduate program; and
  2. Be the surviving spouse or natural or adopted child or other qualifying dependent of any victim of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001

Either the qualifying dependent or the individual killed in the attacks must have been a resident of California on September 11, 2001.

This exception is available to a surviving spouse of a California resident killed in the terror attack of September 11, 2001, until January 1, 2013, after which it expires. This exception is available to a surviving natural or adopted child of a California resident killed in the terror attack of September 11, 2001, until that child reaches the age of 30 (which may be a date after January 1, 2013).

Nonresident Tuition Exemptions for Military Servicemembers, Veterans, and Dependents

Background

Several state and federal laws provide exemptions from paying nonresident tuition for current and former members of the U.S. Armed Forces and their dependents. While these fee exemptions ensure students do not pay more than California residents, they do not establish California residency or establish eligibility for state benefits that require residency. Students receiving an exemption from nonresident tuition are encouraged, but in most cases not required, to take the necessary steps to establish California state residency. Eligibility for exemption from nonresident tuition is evaluated and established at the time of admission to a CSU campus. If a student has a break in enrollment requiring an application for readmission, residency status and eligibility for the nonresident tuition exemption will be reevaluated based on facts presented at the time of reapplication. To meet this exemption, the student must reside in California. However, they are not required to meet physical presence by the Residence Determination Date, intent, or financial independence residency requirements. The student is responsible for submitting supporting documents by the last day of the term. Any documents received after the last day of the term will be processed for the following term.

Servicemembers

A member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed in the state shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition. (Note: California Education Code provides an expanded definition of “member of the Armed Forces of the United States" for this section (see footnote 2).

California law does not provide a nonresident tuition fee exemption to servicemembers on temporary military orders to attend a state-supported institution of higher education.

The following documents must be submitted to show evidence of eligibility:

  • A statement from the student's commanding officer or personnel officer stating that the assignment to active duty in this State is not for educational purposes, and
  • Military orders, a letter from the unit commander or personnel staff, or other military service personnel documents showing the date of assignment to California, and
  • A copy of the servicemember's orders indicating his/her assignment to California is a Permanent Change of Station (PCS).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution. The exemption continues even if the servicemember retires or is transferred to a different state for military duty.

Dependents of Servicemembers

A dependent of an active duty servicemember who meets either of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

The servicemember is on active duty and stationed in California.

Documents required

  • A statement from the servicemember's commanding officer or personnel officer that the servicemember is stationed in California on active duty as of the residence determination date, and
  • A statement that the student is a dependent of the servicemember and was claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The student has received transferred benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of an active duty servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who may be stationed anywhere.

The student has received transferred benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of an active duty servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who may be stationed anywhere.

Document Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution. The exemption continues even if the servicemember retires or is transferred out of California for military duty.

Veterans

A veteran who meets any of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

(1) The veteran was stationed in California on active duty for more than one year immediately prior to being discharged. Note: This is a one-year exemption that must be used within two years of discharge, which requires the veteran to file an affidavit with the campus stating an intent to establish residency in California as soon as possible.

Documents required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • Military orders, a letter from the unit commander or personnel staff, or other military service personnel documents that show the date of assignment to California, and
  • Affidavit stating an intent to establish residency.NOTE: A former member of the U.S. Armed Forces who received a dishonorable or bad conduct discharge (as shown on the DD-214) is not eligible for a nonresident tuition exemption under this code.

(2) The veteran is eligible for either the Montgomery GI Bill® – Active Duty (MGIB – AD) or Post-9/11 GI Bill®

Must reside in California

Documents required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • Certificate of Eligibility from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

(3) The veteran is eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation.

  • Must reside in California

Documents Required

  • DD-214 (Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty), and
  • VA Form 28-1905 “Authorization and Certification of Entrance or Reentrance into Rehabilitation and Certification of Status."

Dependents of Veterans

A dependent of a veteran who meets either of the following criteria shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition.

The student is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®​ and must reside in California

Documents Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

(3) The student is eligible for the Post-9/11 GI Bill®, resides in California, and is the dependent of a servicemember of the U.S. Armed Forces who died in the line of duty after September 10, 2001.


Document Required

  • Certificate of Eligibility from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Exemption from paying nonresident tuition continues for as long as the student is continuously enrolled at the same institution.

ROTC Cadets

Enrollment in ROTC courses does not automatically qualify a student for a nonresident tuition exemption. Students can enroll in these courses without entering military service or incurring a service obligation. At the point a cadet becomes a member of the armed forces, he or she becomes qualified for a nonresident tuition exemption. See rules for Servicemembers above. Documents used to show membership in the armed forces may include a Department of Defense ID card and/or an enlistment contract or orders.

NOTE: Membership in or a contract for the Delayed Entry Program is not acceptable as the student has not yet entered into the service.



Military Definitions
Active Duty- full-time duty in the Armed Forces, other than active duty for training. Includes service as a cadet at the United States Military, Air Force, or Coast Guard Academy, or as a midshipman at the United States Naval Academy. (Does not include full-time National Guard duty.)

Active Duty for Training– full-time duty in the Armed Forces performed by members of the reserve component of the Armed Forces for training purposes
Active Guard and Reserve Duty– means active duty performed by a member of a reserve component of the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps, or full-time National Guard for a period of 180 consecutive days or more.

Certificate of Eligibility (COE) – a letter from the US Department of Veterans Affairs showing a student's eligibility for G.I. Bill benefits, and the number of days of that benefit the student has available. Students who retrieve this information from the VA's eBenefits web portal may provide a document with this information in lieu of a COE.

Continuously Enrolled– enrolled for at least the fall and spring semesters of an academic year, or for at least three quarters in an academic year (the academic year does not include summer or other intersessions).

DD-214 – Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty. This document is provided to servicemembers at the time they are discharged from military service. Member Copy 2 or 4, showing the discharge date, type of discharge, and character of service, must be provided.

Dependent - a servicemember's spouse or child (natural or adopted child or stepchild)

Servicemember– A current member of the United States Armed Forces

Veteran– a person who served in the active military, naval, or air service, and who was discharged or released therefrom under conditions other than dishonorable.

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Armed Forces– The United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, including the reserve components thereof.

Please contact the campus for further information on military exceptions.


AB 540/2000/SB 68

Certain nonresident students (including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and undocumented individuals) who have attended, graduated, or achieved the equivalent from a California school may be exempted from paying nonresident tuition. Such students must remain classified as "nonresidents" for residence classification and financial aid eligibility purposes. Students seeking exemption from nonresident tuition must satisfy attendance requirements and graduation/transfer requirements. Students must also complete and submit the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form, along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance) to the campus Admissions and Records Office.

Attendance Requirements

California Education Code Section 68130.5 states that a student shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California State University and the California Community Colleges if the student meets the following requirements:

Section A

A total attendance of – or attainment of credits earned while in California equivalent to – three or more years of full-time attendance or attainment of credits at any of the following:

  1. California high schools.
  2. California high schools established by the State Board of Education.
  3. California adult schools established by any of the following entities:
    • A county office of education.
    • A unified school district or high school district.
    • The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
  4. Campuses of the California Community Colleges*
  5. (v) A combination of those schools set forth in (i) to (iv), inclusive.

Please note that only two (2) years of community college attendance can be used to satisfy this requirement.  A third year must be taken from attendance at one of the schools listed above (i-iii).

*A year's equivalence at a California community college is either a minimum of 24 semester units of credit or 54 quarter units.  Only two (2) years of full time attendance in credit courses at the California community colleges will count towards the three (3) or more years of attendance. Full-time attendance at a California adult school is a minimum of 420 hours of attendance for each school year.

Section B

Three or more years of full-time high school coursework, and a total of three or more years of attendance in California elementary schools, California secondary schools, or a combination of California elementary and secondary schools.

Graduation/Transfer Requirement

Students must satisfy the graduation/transfer requirement by fulfilling any of the following:

  1. Graduation from a California high school or attainment of the equivalent thereof; or
  2. Attainment of an associate degree from a campus of the California Community Colleges; or
  3. Fulfillment of the minimum transfer requirements established for the CSU for students transferring from a campus of the California Community Colleges.

Summary of Requirements



Attendance
Attendance at a California elementary and/or secondary school
Attendance at a California adult school
Attendance at a California community college


Graduation


Graduation from a California community college
Attainment of an associate degree at a California community college
Fulfillment of the minimum CSU transfer requirements at a California community college
Registration
Registration at a California public institution of higher education (i.e., CCC, CSU or UC)
Affidavit
Submission of the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request and Affidavit


California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request

Remember, students will not be considered for this exemption unless the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form is completed and submitted along with supporting documents (i.e., transcripts, proof of attendance at a California school) to the campus Admissions and Records Office

Additionally, a student who was a lawful non-immigrant individual during his/her high school attendance, but who is no longer a non-immigrant (e.g., a student whose valid non-immigrant visa has expired, but who has not applied for any other non-immigrant status or a student who has applied for permanent residence, asylum, or another immigration classification other than as a non-immigrant), is entitled to this exemption provided s/he has met all other requirements for the exemption. 

For further information, please refer to Resources for Undocumented Students