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How to Apply - California Residency

The laws of California require every student attending the California State University (CSU) to be classified as either a resident or nonresident for tuition fee purposes. The eligibility criteria for classification as a California resident for tuition purposes are established by state law (California Education Code, sections 68000-68084 and 68120-68134, and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, sections 41901-41916.). California State University implements these laws and regulations and cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria.

For new students to the CSU, the determination of California residence or non-residence for tuition purposes is based on an analysis of the first four factors listed below. Satisfaction of these conditions must be supported by unambiguous documentation at least one year prior to the Residence Determination Date applicable to the term in which the student will begin attending.

Current CSU students seeking reclassification from non-resident to resident must also demonstrate Financial Independence (condition number 5 below). All students receiving a request for documents must submit the required forms along with the supporting documentation.

  1. Projected applicant age on the Residence Determination Date (this factor determines whether items 2, 3, and 4 below apply to the student, or to the parent with whom they most recently resided.)
  2. Lawful citizenship or immigration status
  3. Length of physical presence in California
  4. Evidence of intent to reside in California
  5. Financial Independence (applies to current CSU Students seeking reclassification)

Residence Determination Date

Fall September 20th
Spring January 25th
Summer June 1st

Evidence of Intent to Reside in California

Examples of Acceptable Documentation

  • Voter Registration
  • Motor Vehicle Registration
  • California driver's license or ID card
  • California and Federal Income Tax Return
  • Apartment Lease or Property Tax Bill
  • Bank statement from California branch
  • Licensing from the state for professional practice
  • Military documents showing California address
  • Military leave and earning statements showing California as legal residence for the prior year
  • Documentation of membership in a California professional organization

Required Forms

CSU Residence Questionnaire for new and current CSU students seeking Residence Reclassification.

  1. Projected Applicant Age
    A. Students who are under 19 years of age by the Residence Determination Date derive their legal residency from the natural parent or adoptive parent with whom the minor maintains, or last maintained their place of abode. B. students who are 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date for the semester to which the student is applying may establish their own residency for tuition purposes in California
  2. Lawful Citizenship/immigration Status
    U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or other immigrants; or someone in nonimmigrant status who is not precluded from establishing a domicile in the U.S., may establish residence for tuition purposes in California. If you are uncertain if your immigration status allows you to establish California residency, or if you are uncertain qualify for an exemption from paying non-resident tuition, please contact the Residency Specialist at csuresidency@sfsu.edu.
  3. Length of Physical Presence in California
    An applicant who is a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or other immigrant; or someone in nonimmigrant status who is not precluded from establishing a domicile in the U.S. must be physically present in California for one year prior to the applicable Residence Determination Date:
  4. Evidence of Intent to Reside in California
    Supporting documentation must demonstrate that the student intends to make California a permanent home. Students who have lived outside of California must demonstrate that they have relinquished ties to any former out-of-state residence at least one year prior to the applicable Residence Determination Date.
  5. Financial Independence (for current CSU students)
    A student who has been classified as a nonresident may seek reclassification for any subsequent term. In the case of a residency reclassification request, the campus must also consider whether the student has been financially dependent on non-resident parents within the last three years, as defined in the California Education Code, section 68044 which mandates that any student
    • Has not and will not be claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his or her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application.
    • Has not and will not receive more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) per year in financial assistance from his or her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application.
    • Has not and will not live with parents for more than 6 weeks per calendar year in the current calendar year nor in any of the previous three calendar years.
    • Must establish his or her own residency. A student’s residency cannot be derived from his or her spouse or domestic partner.

The CSU does not retro-actively reclassify students from non-resident to resident. Below are the Reclassification submission dates for each term.

Residence Questionnaire Submission Date

Fall March 1st
Spring September 15th
Summer February 1st

The student must complete the CSU Residence Questionnaire Form, and submit the form at the Student Services Building, window 1 or mail them to Undergraduate Admissions, San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94132. Residency reclassification requests take approximately three to four weeks for processing. Students are required to apply during the semester prior to the requested reclassification term. Until a decision is made, students will remain classified as non-residents and are responsible for on-time payment of nonresident fees. In addition to the Residency Reclassification Request Form, students must also submit documentation supporting their request. Students may be asked to provide other documentation to clarify or verify their application for reclassification. Failure to provide these documents, or Residency Reclassification Forms submitted with incomplete information can significantly delay the reclassification decision process.

Students denied for reclassification will be notified by letter and have the right to appeal to the California State University Chancellor's Office within 120 days of notification by writing to:

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California 90802-4210

Students approved for reclassification are advised that approval may affect financial aid disbursement or awards and may result in the need for repayment of funds already received. Contact the Financial Aid Office at (415)338-7000 for specific details.

If you have any questions regarding your residency classification for tuition purposes, please contact the Residency Specialist at csuresidency@sfsu.edu.

Appeal Process

Students classified as Nonresidents may appeal to the CSU Chancellor’s Office within 30 calendar days of the final campus decision. The appeal is only applicable if one of the following occurred:

  1. The decision was based on:
    1. A significant error or fact;
    2. A significant procedures error;
    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, become available after the date of the campus decision classifying the student as a nonresident and based on the new information, the classification as nonresident is incorrected.

For more information, please refer to the CSU Chancellor’s Office Student Academic Services website. For instructions for submitting an appeal, please go to http://www.calstate.edu/sas/residency/appeals.shtml.

Qualifying for an Exemption from Non-resident Tuition

California law provides for specific exceptions to non-resident tuition:

  1. If you are a teacher, military service member, CSU staff member, or dependent child of a California resident you may be exempt from paying non-resident tuition.
  2. If you have attended a California high school for three or more years AND you’ve graduated from a California high school (AB 540)
  3. If you have attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high school in California for three or more years, AND you’ve graduated from a California high school (AB 2000)
  4. If you are a non-immigrant and have been granted a T or U visa

If you believe you qualify for an exemption on the basis of items 2, 3, or 4 above, you must complete the California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request.

If you have any questions regarding an exemption from non-resident tuition, please contact the Residency Specialist at csuresidency@sfsu.edu.

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