Residency Determination

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

In compliance with state law effective February 20, 2017, the University of North Carolina system now requires undergraduate students to request a residency classification from the new Residency Determination Service (RDS). RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina.

The specific requirements for establishing residency for tuition purposes and for eligibility for State financial aid are prescribed by state law.  A North Carolina resident for tuition purposes (and for State financial aid consideration) is a person, or a dependent person (dependent according to IRS tax code – not the FAFSA definition of dependency), whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in North Carolina for at least 12 months.

Residence in North Carolina must be legitimate and be a permanent situation rather than just for the purpose of maintaining a residence prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state residency, you must show that you:

  • Have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina, and
  • Have maintained that domicile for at least twelve (12) consecutive months before the beginning of the term, and
  • Have a residentiary presence in the state, and
  • Intend to make North Carolina your permanent home indefinitely (rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college)

Persons not meeting the 12-month legal residence requirement may be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited “exception” categories authorized by the North Carolina Legislature. All others are ineligible for classification as a North Carolina “resident for tuition purposes” and will be charged out-of-state tuition and not be given consideration for State financial aid. To learn more about residency and complete a determination go to www.NCresidency.org.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

The basis for determining tuition charge is whether a student is a resident or a non-resident for tuition purposes. Initial classification as either a resident or non-resident for tuition purpose is based on information provided on the application for admission. If a student chooses to petition a reclassification of his or her residence status for tuition purposes they must complete and submit the Residence and Tuition Status Application along with all required supporting documentation to the Graduate College no later than 10th day of the term for which they wish to be considered.

Residency decisions are based on North Carolina statutes (G.S. 116-143.1).  The residency classification officer reviews each application on an individual basis using the guidelines provided within these statutes. 

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state residency, you must show that you:

  • Have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina, and
  • Have maintained that domicile for at least twelve (12) consecutive months before the beginning of the term, and
  • Have a residentiary presence in the state, and
  • Intend to make North Carolina your permanent home indefinitely (rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college)

Additional information regarding residency may be found in the North Carolina State Residence Classification Manual.