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Residency

Sandra Ramos

California Law and Residency

Because Cuyamaca College is a state supported institution it must follow California laws pertaining to residency classification, in addition to many other regulations, for all students at California Community Colleges. All students must be classified as either "resident" or "nonresident" for tuition purposes. Students who are applying for admission, or currently enrolled students requesting residency reclassification, are required to provide supplemental information and supporting documentation or evidence to determine his or her residence classification.

  • Students who are over 19 years of age: Residency is based on factors pertaining to the student.

  • Students who are under 19 years of age: Students must complete an Under 19 Supplemental Information form. For unmarried students, residency is based on factors pertaining to the parent that the student is living with. If the student is not living with either parent, residency is based on factors pertaining to the parent the student last lived with. Married students may establish residence on their own (a copy of the marriage certificate must be submitted). There are some exceptions for students under 19 years of age, which are listed in the Cuyamaca College Catalog.

When Additional Documentation is Needed

Many times the Application for Admission does not provide enough information to make a residency determination and additional information and/or documents are needed before a determination can be made. In this case, a Supplemental Residence Questionnaire must be completed. If additional documents are needed, the student will be notified. All requested documents should be submitted to the Residency Specialist in the Admissions and Records Office.

Factors

Two factors are considered together when determining residency classification. To obtain "resident" status for a term, students must have:

1. Lived in California for at least one year (physical presence) AND

2. Taken action to make California their legal residence for at least one year prior to the start of the term (intent to reside).

In other words, the student needs to provide proof of BOTH physical presence AND intent to reside, to be considered a resident for tuition purposes. Physical presence must have been maintained for at least one continuous year prior to the start of the term and intent to reside must have been established a minimum of one year prior to the start of the term for which the student is planning to enroll.

Providing Documentation

Residency determination is a complex process that is governed by many rules and policies. Often several types of documents are needed before a determination can be made. No single document is decisive.

The following are examples of documents that may demonstrate a student's intent to reside in California. At least one of the documents must be dated more than one year prior to the start of the term:

  • Filing California State income taxes as a resident

  • California voter registration card

  • California Driver's License or California Identification Card from the Department of Motor Vehicles

  • Resident California vehicle registration

  • Petitioning for divorce as a resident of California

  • Employment or carrying on of a business in California

  • Military Leave and Earnings Statements and W-2 forms showing California as the state of legal residence

  • California fishing or hunting license

  • California license for professional practice

The following are examples of documents that may demonstrate evidence of a student maintaining physical presence in California for at least one year prior to the start of the term:

  • Employment or carrying on of a business in California

  • Bank statements or bills showing a California address

  • Ownership of property or apartment rental contract/lease in California

  • Active membership in California service or social organizations

  • Verification of California public assistance

  • Transcripts showing California school attendance

The following are examples of actions that are inconsistent with a claim for California residency, especially when action has been taken during the year of establishing residency:

  • Filing California State income taxes as a nonresident or filing income taxes as a resident of another state

  • Maintaining out-of-state driver's license and/or vehicle registration

  • Maintaining voter registration in another state

  • Attending an out-of-state institution as a resident of that state

  • Petitioning for divorce in another state

Citizenship Status

Students who are eligible to establish residency include U.S. Citizens, permanent residents, lawful temporary residents, amnesty residents, refugees and asylum residents. Additionally, the following nonimmigrant visa types: A, E, G, H-1, H-4, I, K, L, O-1, O-3, R and V. For anyone other than a U.S. Citizen, the one-year duration period begins after the application for adjustment of status to one of these classifications has been filed with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (uscis.gov). This requirement is in addition to the California residency requirements of physical presence and intent to reside.

Undocumented immigrants*, out-of-status non-immigrants and non-immigrants with B, C, D, F, H-2, H-3, J, M, O-2, P, Q, (NAFTA) TN and TD visas are not eligible to establish residency.

*Legislation (AB540) went into effect January 1, 2002 allowing undocumented immigrants and any student, other than non-immigrants (those with B visas, F visas, etc.), to be exempted from paying nonresident tuition, if they meet the following requirements:

  • Attendance at a California high school for three or more years.

  • Graduation from a California high school or the equivalent (e.g., a GED or a high school proficiency exam).

  • A California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request form must be filed with the college stating that the student has met these requirements. Undocumented immigrants must file this affidavit stating that the student has applied for legalization or will do so as soon as the student is eligible to do so.

AB540 Students may receive services on campus through our Borderless Spaces program. Please visit EOPS Borderless Spaces for more information.

Notes:
Students must be physically attending classes they are enrolled in. Students living outside of California and enrolled via distance education are not eligible for this exemption.

Under this exemption U.S. Citizens or permanent residents are not eligible to apply for state financial aid, but are eligible to apply for federal financial aid. Undocumented immigrants are NOT eligible to apply for state and federal financial aid.

Military Personnel and Military Dependents

Military personnel, stationed on active duty in California, and their dependents who are "undergraduates" are exempt from paying nonresident tuition and are classified as "residents" for fee purposes for the duration of their enrollment at a California Community College. Active military personnel and their dependents who have received a bachelor's degree or higher are exempt from paying nonresident tuition for 1 year from the date of their arrival in California. NOTE: Military personnel (and the dependents of) assigned to California for educational purposes are eligible for this exemption.

Non-resident: A Military Tuition Waiver form must be completed and students must submit a copy of their active duty or dependent ID card. Note: Residents are also eligible for this exemption.

Residents who have been stationed in California for more than one year: Military W-2 forms or Leave and Earnings Statements must be submitted showing California as the state of legal residence (one dated more than one year prior to the semester and a current one). A copy of the DD214 is additionally needed, if the military person has been discharged.

Nonresident military personnel, stationed on active duty in California for more than one year immediately prior to being discharged, and their dependents who are "undergraduates" are exempt from paying nonresident tuition for up to one year he or she lives in California after the military person has been discharged. Military orders, or official military documents, showing that the military person was stationed in California on active duty for more than one year immediately prior to discharge and a copy of the DD214 showing discharge for less than one year must be submitted.

Requesting Reclassification

Prior to the time of registration, nonresident students who believe they qualify for California resident status may apply for reclassification. The reclassification forms are a Financial Independence Information form and a Supplemental Residence Questionnaire. Documents will be required to demonstrate residence as outlined in this text. Colleges are additionally required to consider financial independence when reclassifying a student, who was a nonresident in a previous term, to resident status. Financial independence during the current year and preceding two years will be considered.

Additional Information

This text is a summary of residency information and is by no means complete. Also, changes may have been made in the statutes and regulations between the time this text was published and the beginning of the term of attendance. There are some additional exceptions, not mentioned, that exist which apply to specific circumstances. Forms are available on line at FORMS and in the Admissions and Records Office. For more residency information, please refer to the Cuyamaca College Catalog or contact the Residency Specialist in the Admissions and Records Office at (619) 660-4725.

Nonresident Tuition

A person classified as a nonresident will be required to pay nonresident tuition, in addition to other fees required by the college. Nonresident tuition must be paid at the time of registration.

Foreign Transcripts

See the policies and procedures for the evaluation of foreign country transcripts or those in languages other than English.

Last Updated: 11/02/2016
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