FAQs

These FAQs are intended to answer questions for Graduate Students only. If you do not find an immediate answer here, you may contact us.

If you are an undergraduate student and have questions about residence for tuition purposes, please visit the RDS website.

What are the requirements for North Carolina in-state residency for tuition purposes?

This benefit provided by the citizen taxpayers of North Carolina is afforded to residents of the State in anticipation of present and future benefit to the State. Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in-state tuition for a given term, you must prove that you established your legal residence in NC 12 months prior to the start of the term, that you have maintained your legal residence in NC for at least 12 continuous months, and that you are here for a purpose other than school.

Is there a difference between a legal resident of NC and a legal resident for tuition purposes?

Yes. A legal resident is someone who comes to North Carolina and has physical presence for at least one day, with the intent on making NC a permanent home indefinitely. Legal residents typically demonstrate this intent by doing various overt residency acts such as acquiring a driver's license, changing car registration, registering to vote, acquiring real property, employment and paying taxes to NC as a resident, etc.

A legal resident for tuition purposes is someone who has demonstrated that he or she has been a North Carolina legal resident for at least the twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the school term for which he or she is requesting classification of residency for tuition purposes.

If I think I qualify, how do I apply?

All students seeking a residency review must complete a Residence and Tuition Status Application and provide any additional supplemental forms and supporting documentation that may be required. In order to request a review of one's residency status for a particular semester, the application must be submitted to the Residency Determination Office no later than the 5th day of class for that semester.  The application filing deadlines can be found on the Residency Determination Office website.  

How is my residency application processed?

Applications are processed in the date order that they are received.  It may take 3-4 weeks for your application to be reviewed.  If additional documentation is needed, you will be notified by email to your UNC Charlotte email account.  All of the information and documentation that you provide is reviewed.  You will be notified of the decision by a letter mailed to your permanent address.

Do I REALLY need to submit all of the documentation required as listed on the application?

Yes. Providing the documents will assist the classifier in reviewing your application while applying the requirements of North Carolina residency law. If there are any documents required that you cannot provide, you should provide a written explanation as to why you cannot do so.

If I provide all of the supporting documents will I be approved for residency?

Not necessarily. Providing the documents assists the classifier in reviewing your application while applying the requirements of North Carolina residency law. No one is guaranteed a favorable decision.

I read that residency decisions are based on a “preponderance of evidence”. What does this mean?

This refers to a cluster of significant events demonstrating domicile (physical presence and intent) to establish legal residence. North Carolina is not a checklist state, which means that North Carolina residency for tuition purposes is not based on performing a specific set of acts. All of the information you provide on your application and through your supporting documentation is taken into consideration and is used to determine whether a preponderance (or greater weight) of evidence supports the establishment of North Carolina domicile at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the term. 

What do I need to know about residency and my tuition payment?

Students who apply for residency are not guaranteed a favorable decision. As a result, students should be prepared to pay the out-of-state tuition rate and to make the necessary payment arrangements with the Student Accounts Office prior to the bill payment deadline. If you are approved, your tuition charges will be adjusted to reflect the in-state tuition rate.

If I am classified as an in-state student, how long does the benefit last?

You should remain classified as an in-state student until your circumstances change, such as a change in your legal residence.  All students are required to report any changes to their permanent residence.

After I am classified either as a nonresident or resident, what are my obligations and requirements if there is a change in the facts of my situation?

Any change in your circumstances, either favorable or unfavorable, must be reported to Office of the Registrar.  Students are responsible for updating their contact information and ensuring that their address information on their student record is correct through their Banner Self Service accounts.

I applied for residency and was denied but my letter did not say why—will someone tell me why?

The reason anyone is denied in-state residency is stated in the decision letter as follows: “Unfortunately, the preponderance of evidence does not support classification as a resident for tuition purposes."  Residency for tuition purposes is not based on one factor alone.  All of the facts presented in an application supported by documented evidence are taken into consideration when determining whether the preponderance, or greater weight, of evidence supports North Carolina residency.

Through documented evidence, the student must prove that he/she moved to North Carolina for reasons other than attending an institution of higher learning and that he/she established a permanent residence, and maintatined it for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the term of school for which in-state classification is sought.  Some students may never qualify as an in-state resident for tuition purposes, particularly if the student applies for admission to the University from another school and attends school full-time semester after semester.  The burden of proof is on the student to present documented evidence that he/she moved to the state for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a bona fide domicile, instead of merely maintaining a temporary residence incident to enrollment at the University.

If my Residence and Tuition Status Application is denied, is there an appeal available?

Yes. Your residency decision letter will provide you with instructions on how to request an appeal to the University Residence Status Appeals Board (URSAB). If you request an appeal to the URSAB, the Residency Determination Office will schedule a date and time for your appeal hearing.  This information is emailed to your UNC Charlotte email account.

After your hearing, you will be notified of the decision by a letter mailed to your permanent address.  If you appeal and the Board overturns the decision, your tuition charges will be adjusted to reflect the in-state tuition rate.

If my appeal to the University Residence Status Appeals Board (URSAB) is denied, is there another appeal opportunity available?

Yes. Your decision letter from the URSAB will give you the instructions on how to request an appeal to the State Residence Committee (SRC).  The Residency Determination Office will assist you with the State appeal process.

After the SRC reviews your appeal, your decision letter will be mailed to you.  If the SRC overturns the decision, your tuition charges will be adjusted to reflect the in-state tuition rate.

I am not a U.S. Citizen. Can I qualify for North Carolina residency for tuition purposes?

It depends of the type of immigration documents you hold.  There are certain visas and other immigration documents that give an individual the capacity (the legal ability) to establish and maintain a bona fide domicile in the U.S. and thus in North Carolina.  However, that individual must still meet all of the other North Carolina residency requirements.  Please refer to the North Carolina State Residence Classification Manual for more information on the types of visas and immigration documents that give an individual the capacity to establish legal residence for tuition purposes.

Other visas do not allow an individual to establish domicile.  For example, international students who hold, or intend to hold, a student visa (F-1 or J-1) are not eligible to be considered for North Carolina residency status for tuition purposes.

I am married. Are there any special provisions for married students?

A person does not automatically obtain North Carolina residency solely by marrying a North Carolina resident.  However, if both student and spouse have established domicile in NC and the student has not met the 12-month requirement, the student may use the spouse's time in the state to meet the 12-month requirement if the spouse established domicile in NC at least 12 continuous months prior to the start of the term.  In these cases, the student must complete the supplement form for Spouses of NC Residents in addition to completing the Residence and Tuition Status Application, and the student must provide supporting documentation as it relates to both the student and the spouse.  The amount of time the student and spouse have lived in the state cannot be combined to meet the 12-month requirement.

My son has been accepted at UNC Charlotte and I’m going to set him up in a condo near campus. Will he be in-state after 12 months?

No – If he moves to NC and immediately begins school, it is obvious that he came here for the purpose of education. If his parents claim him as a dependent in another state and he does not earn sufficient income in NC to support himself, and he stays in school as a full-time student, he will probably remain out-of-state.

My husband is being transferred to North Carolina by his employer. Do we still have to wait the 12 months for our son to qualify for in-state tuition at UNC Charlotte?

Yes – There is no way to avoid the 12-month waiting period. Some states waive a portion of the waiting period if the move was employment related, but not NC.

Our family is moving to NC. We have a son who is a freshman in college back home. Will he qualify for in-state tuition after we have lived in NC 12 months?

Not necessarily – When a family moves to NC and has children who are already over 18, the children must also come to NC and take steps to establish domicile (i.e. registering to vote, getting driver’s license, working in NC, etc.) on their own before the 12-month waiting period begins. Even though they may be claimed as dependents for tax purposes, under the NC residency law they are considered to be adults capable of establishing domicile.

I own a vacation home in North Carolina. Am I entitled to in-state tuition?

No – Your principal residence must be in North Carolina. Residency acts pointing to one’s legal residence are, for example, where you are registered to vote, where your driver’s license is issued, and where your vehicle is registered.

I’ve had a “green card” for three years and my wife is getting her green card next month. Can she come now as an in-state student?

No – She would first have to be issued a green card, perform residentiary acts in NC to show her intent and then she may borrow from her spouse’s 12 month duration of domicile to meet the requirement. She must first possess a document that would allow her to establish domicile in the US and thus North Carolina.

We are moving to NC in October, but we will not be here 12 months before the beginning of the fall term. If my child starts in August as an out-of-state, will he be changed to in-state in October when we’ve been in NC a year?

No - The classifier must determine whether your child met the 12 month requirement prior to the beginning of the term. The first time he might qualify is for the spring term. He can file a residency application through the Residency Determination Office.

Somebody told me that if you live in NC 12 months you qualify for in-state tuition. Is that right?

Not necessarily – More is involved than just physical presence. A person must prove that legal residence (or domicile) has been established in the state and that it has been maintained at least 12 consecutive months prior to the beginning of the term in which they wish to be considered in-state for tuition purposes. It must be clear that their intent was to make NC their home indefinitely and they did not come to NC solely for the purpose of attending school. To determine whether domicile has been established, the classifier is required to consider a number of things in the residency review – for example, an apartment lease, home purchase agreement or canceled rent checks, a letter from an employer showing the date work began in NC, voter registration, driver’s license, vehicle registration, previous year’s NC income tax return, pay check stubs, a letter from a bank where an account has been established and maintained, etc. A person may not have all of these, but certainly a preponderance (or greater weight) of evidence is necessary.

I moved to NC in September. Can I be in-state for this fall since it’s only two weeks short of the 12 months?

No – The law is very specific. The waiting period must be at least 12 months prior to the first day of class.

Many of the documents required along with the application are sensitive. How can I be assured that my information will be kept confidential?

Confidentiality of student records is the responsibility of everyone at UNC Charlotte as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) enacted in 1974. For more information about FERPA, please refer to the UNC Charlotte Office of Legal Affairs website.

I lived in North Carolina all my life, except that I got a job and moved to Texas two years ago. I still have NC driver’s license and my car’s registered in NC. Wouldn’t I be in-state for tuition when I move back to start school?

No – Residency is determined on where you have lived, worked, etc. for the 12 months immediately preceding the term of school.

I live in South Carolina. SOMEBODY told me that I can take classes there at the in-state rate if my NC employer pays my tuition. Is that true?

No – This provision does not exist in the university system.

I am divorced and have a daughter who lives with her Mom in another state. She is graduating from high school this June and wants to come to UNC Charlotte. Will she be in-state or out-of state?

If the NC parent claims the child as a dependent on NC tax returns for the year preceding the term of school and upon high school graduation the child comes to NC and performs residentiary acts (i.e. registering to vote, obtaining driver’s license, getting a job) and enters a NC institution of higher learning the fall following high school graduation, then the child can qualify as a NC resident. (This condition ONLY applies for the term immediately following high school graduation.)

I was just issued my Permanent Resident (green card), Refugee or Asylum status. I’ve lived in NC for five years. Can I get in-state tuition now?

No – Even though resident aliens have lived in NC and paid taxes for an extended period, they must satisfy the 12-month waiting period from the date that their permanent resident status was issued. The only exception would be if the green card holder is married to a qualified NC resident who is a citizen or has held a green card longer than 12 months prior to the beginning of the term and has performed residency acts in NC. The new card holder could attach to the spouse and borrow from the spouse’s 12 month duration of domicile to meet the requirement. They must complete a residency application and present a copy of their marriage license and green card.

I work in Charlotte, but I live in South Carolina. I pay NC income taxes – will my child be in-state at UNC Charlotte?

No – Residency classification is based on where you maintain your principal residence.

I live in York County in South Carolina. Is there an agreement to waive out-of-state tuition?

No – There is no agreement at present to waive out of state tuition for residents of York County or any neighboring South Carolina counties. If you are an undergraduate, degree-seeking student who is enrolled full time at your institution, but you need to take a course that is not offered at your institution, you may apply to complete that course at another consortium school. The consortium agreement helps you proceed toward graduation without interruption in your degree progression due to limited course availability on your home campus. More information about the Greater Charlotte Consortium can be found on the following website:  https://greatercharlotteconsortium.org/students/.