Determining California Residency

What is Residenc​y?

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 a​nd, 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 ha​ve 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​.​