Admissions & Enrollment Planning

Residency for Tuition Purposes


California state law distinguishes between residents and non-residents for tuition purposes. If students are determined non-residents for tuition purposes, they will incur additional fees per unit.

Residency Determination Date

Semester Dates


September 20


January 25


June 1

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The determination of residency for tuition purposes affects whether a student pays in-state or out-of-state tuition fees. Out-of-state tuition fees are higher than in-state tuition fees. Just because a student is or has been a resident of the State of California does not mean that he or she qualifies to receive the in-state tuition rate. Certain requirements, established under California law, must be met. The provisions for California residency for tuition purposes at the California State University (CSU) differ from other provisions of California residency. Additionally, the provisions for residency at the CSU differ from those at the University of California and the California Community Colleges.

A student attending a CSU as a first-time freshman or as a transfer student must have the legal capacity to establish residency in the State of California. If the student is under the age of 19 (with limited exceptions), the student’s residence status is derived from that of the parent or legal guardian. In this case, the parent or legal guardian must have the legal capacity to establish residency in California.

Generally speaking, to be eligible for classification as a California resident for tuition purposes, the student or if the student is a minor, the parent/guardian must provide verification that these requirements are satisfied:

  1. Physical Presence. The student or parent/guardian must be physically present in California immediately one year prior to the Residence Determination Date in which enrollment is contemplated. For example, if a student plans to attend the CSU for the Fall 2019 academic term, and the Residence Determination Date for that term is September 20, 2019, the student must establish physical presence in California no later than September 20, 2018.
  2. Intent. The student or parent/guardian must demonstrate intent to remain indefinitely in the state for more than one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date and sever all residential ties with the former state or country of residence. Additionally, there must be sufficient documentation to demonstrate that intent was established more than one year (a minimum of one year and one day) prior to the Residence Determination Date.Some examples of documents the CSU considers when evaluating intent include:
  • Registering to vote and voting in California
  • Registering a motor vehicle owned or operated in California
  • Obtaining a California driver's license or ID card
  • Filing a resident or nonresident state personal California income tax return
  • Listing a California address on a federal income tax return
  • Listing a permanent military address or home of record in California
  • Licensing from California for professional practice (e.g., nursing, teaching credentials)
  • Maintaining active resident memberships in California based professional organizations (e.g., police union, teachers’ union)
  • Maintaining an active bank account at a California bank

To view CSU exceptions and exemptions, click here.

To file a residency appeal, visit the CSU Chancellor's Office.

DREAMers Ally Network (AB540)
The DREAMers Ally Network serves as a medium for educating dreamers and allies about AB 540, the federal DREAM Act, the CA-Dream Act, Deferred Action, and the rights of undocumented students.

California State University Chancellor's Office-Residency