A Non-Resident Student is Defined as an Individual Who
- Is independent and has not established a domicile in Washington primarily for purposes other than educational at least twelve months prior to application;
- Is a dependent whose parent or legal guardian has not been a legal resident of Washington for at least a year prior to application.
In determining independence, factors considered include the preceding year's income tax returns of the student and/or his or his parents or legal guardian (an applicant must demonstrate sufficient income to prove independence) and the length of time the student has lived independently from parents.
A non-resident student enrolled for more than six hours per quarter is considered as having come to the state primarily for educational purposes unless he/she can prove establishment of domicile in this state for purposes other than educational.
The term "domicile" is a person's true, fixed and permanent home and place of habitation. It is the place where one intends to remain. the burden of proof that a student, parent, or guardian has established a domicile in Washington primarily for purposes other than educational rests with the student.
Effective July 1, 2003, Washington state law made certain students who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States eligible to pay resident tuition rates. Read more about the Washington State Higher Education Residency.
Factors Considered in Determining Residency
Becoming a legal resident of Washington requires more than simply residing in the state for twelve months.
- First, one must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident (resident-alien) status.
- Second, a student with non-resident parents must prove independence from his or her parents.
- Third, you must declare your intention to become a legal resident of the state by obtaining documents such as a Washington driver's license, vehicle registration, or voter registration.
NOTE: Registering to vote, by itself, cannot be regarded as a declaration of one's intent to become a resident if other documents, such as driver's license and vehicle registration are not also obtained at the same time.
It is the policy of the state of Washington to encourage every eligible person to register to vote and to participate fully in all elections and to protect the integrity of the electoral process by providing equal access to the process while guarding against discrimination and fraud." (Revised Code of Washington 29.04.001. Visit the Washington Secretary of State website to get more information about your eligibility to vote.
NOTE: Native American students of certain tribal affiliations who are residents of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington can be classified as residents (for tuition purposes only) by submitting qualifying documents
Other Determining Factors Include:
- In the case of a person applying as an independent student, demonstration of sufficient income to prove a claim of independence.
- Registration with the Selective Service in Washington a full year prior to application.
- Purchase of a residence in Washington a full year prior to application.
- Attendance, as a resident, at a state supported college or university in another state within the past year.
- Receipt of financial assistance from another state government in the past year: includes reciprocity awards.
Factors Which Will Prevent a Student From Receiving Residency
A student cannot qualify for resident status if he/she (or parent, in the case of a dependent student):
- Possesses a current out-of-state driver's license, vehicle registration, or other document that gives evidence of being domiciled in another state.
- Has received, during the past year, financial assistance from another state government; including reciprocity award.
- Has been attending, during the past year, a Washington college or university as a participant in the National Student Exchange program from another state.
How to Apply for a Change in Residency
To apply for a change in your residency classification, obtain a "Residence Questionnaire Form" either online or the Admissions Office, 2BE 1104B (206) 934-5450, or The Registration and Records Office, 2BE1104 (206) 934-6918.
Submit the completed questionnaire to the Admissions Office, if you are going to be a new student. Otherwise, if you are a currently enrolled student, submit the completed questionnaire to the The Registration and Records Office.
Some non-resident students may qualify, on a quarterly basis, for an exemption from all of a portion of non-resident fees. Those who may be eligible include:
- Students who have a graduate service appointment involving not less than 20 hours per week.
- Students employed by an academic department in support of instructional or research programs involving not less than 20 hours per week.
- An active-duty military person stationed in the State of Washington.
- The spouse or dependent of a person who is on active military duty stationed in Washington state can be classified as a resident (for tuition purposes only) by submitting each quarter proof of military assignment in the state.
- An immigrant having refugee status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, if such refugee (a) is on parolee status, or (b) has received an immigrant visa, or (c) has applied for U.S. citizenship.
Exemptions may be applied for by submitting proof of status, as indicated above, to the Admissions Office.
View the Residency Affidavit.
Non-resident tuition exemptions are not applicable at Seattle Central, under the current reciprocity agreements.