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Learn more about residency requirements
California law requires students who apply to go to public colleges and universities prove they have lived in California for over a year in order to receive in-state tuition. Otherwise, students pay out-of-state tuition.
Below describes what you need to prove you have lived in California for at least a year and a day before the start of classes at the beginning of the term you plan to attend. After you read the information below, if you still have questions, please contact Admissions and Records or make a QLess appointment to help you with the process.
For tuition purposes, California law (EC §68000 & Code of Regulations Title 5, §54000-54072) requires that every student who applies for admission or enrolls in courses at any public college provides evidence and information that proves their residency in California. If you are 18 years old or younger, go to the information “for those 18 years old and younger” below.
To qualify as a California resident, you must have:
- Been physically present in the state of California, and
- Taken steps to make California your sole place of residence for one year and one day prior to the first day of classes of the semester or term you want to attend.
This is also known as Physical Presence and Proof of Intent, and you are required to show proof of these. All documentation must be given to Admissions & Records in person before you start your first class.
Here are examples of the documentation that confirm Physical Presence. These documents must be valid, readable, dated within the past year, and have your name and California address clearly listed.
One document is required to meet evidence of Physical Presence:
- Active checking or savings statements for a California bank account
- Utility bills, such as electric, internet, or cable bill
- Proof of employment, such as a pay stub
- Rental agreement or mortgage statements
- Divorce petition in California
- Verification of public assistance in California
- DD-214 military discharge form
- Active resident membership in a California professional, social, or service organization
- If you are a California nonresident who graduated from a California high school, find out if you qualify for AB 540 Tuition Exemption Request for Eligible High School Graduates
- If you hold a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV), you are granted an immediate nonresident tuition fee-waiver for one year from the date you arrived in California after entering the U.S. – please contact Admissions & Records for more information
Proof of Intent
Examples of Proof of Intent documentation are the following. These must also be valid, readable, have your name and
California address listed, and dated at least one year and a day before your first day of classes for the semester you
want to attend.
Two documents are needed to meet evidence of Proof of Intent:
- California state (540) and federal (1040) tax returns with W-2 forms (bring in all tax documents)
- California driver’s license and/or California ID card
- California automobile registration
- California voter registration
- Active duty orders and military ID for military personnel
Be advised: LASC will make the final determination of residency, and we reserve the right to ask for additional documentation that may be needed to assist us in determining your residency. The more evidence you can show towards your intent to remain in California, the easier it is to receive California residency. We recommend you start building your list of these documents as soon as you possibly can after arriving in California.
If both you and your parent(s) or legal guardians can show that you all have had residency in California continuously for the past two years before the start of your first class, LASC assumes you meet the residency requirements of physical presence and intent.
To prove this, please show documents from the above lists with the exception that they must show a duration of a two-year period instead of only one. If you do not have documentation showing a two-year period, contact Admissions & Records for what documentation is acceptable to determine Physical Presence and Intent for a year.
If you are 18 years old or younger and are married or if your parents died and there is no legally-appointed guardian, you do not need your parents’ information and will need to establish your own residency. If you are a minor living independently of your parents, you would take the residency status of the parent you last lived with. Please contact the Admissions & Records Office for further information regarding minors.
If you have done any of the following over the past year in a state other than California, these are considered actions against intent, and you will not be granted California residency. Some examples are:
- Attending an educational institution as a resident of another state
- Having a driver’s license or automobile registration in another state
- Voter registration and voting in another state
- Having a divorce petition or lawsuit in another state
- Reporting tax information in another state
- Entering into a legal agreement in another state
- In the U.S. with a nonresident visa
If you are incorrectly classified as a resident of California, you will be reclassified as a nonresident and will need to pay all nonresident fees associated with being a nonresident. If it is found you provided us misinformation or falsified documentation, you may be excluded from classes or expelled from the college.
You could qualify for a California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request for Eligible High School Graduates under Assembly Bill (AB) 540. Qualifications are:
- Must be a California high school graduate
- Have a minimum of 3 years attendance at a California high school
- You can apply regardless of if you are a U.S. citizen, DACA recipient, permanent resident, have a T or U Visa, or are undocumented without a lawful immigration status
- Must provide your official, sealed high school transcripts sent directly from your high school to LASC
Find out about the California Dream Act Application.
Please contact the Veterans Resource Center for how to establish your California residency.
By law, if you were classified as a nonresident and you disagree with the classification, you have the right to appeal and have your information reviewed by the Vice President of Student Services within 30 days of the written decision by Admissions & Records Office.
Submit your appeal to Admissions & Records who will submit it to the Vice President of Student Services (VPSS). Copies of all of your documentation will be sent to the VPSS along with information as to why Admissions & Records determined your status originally. The VPSS has the right to ask you and/or Admissions & Records for more information and documentation. The VPSS will send a written decision to you within 30 days of your submitted appeal stating specific reasons as to why your appeal was denied or accepted. All results of the appeal are final.
Please contact Admissions & Records during our office hours if you have any questions or concerns regarding any of this information.