California Residency

To minimize person-to-person contact during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Office of Admissions and Recruitment is allowing for the online submission of forms and supporting documents. To learn how to submit the packet online.

The Admissions Office is responsible for determining the residency status of Cal State LA applicants and students for CSU tuition purposes. This determination is based on information supplied in the CSU Admission application, the CSU Residence Questionnaire Form, and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by the student. A student who fails to submit adequate information to establish eligibility for CA resident classification will be classified as a nonresident for CSU tuition purposes. Additional information regarding CSU California Residency Determination is available in the University Catalog Appendix B, and on the CSU California Residency for Tuition Purposes webpage.

If you would like the campus to reconsider your initial residence classification, please continue reading below for the next steps.

WHAT IS RESIDENCY FOR CSU TUITION PURPOSES?

Residence is the location where the student is considered to have the most settled and permanent connection -- where they intend to live and return to after any absence.
 
The determination of residency for purposes of the CSU is not to determine if a student is a resident or non-resident in the state of California, but rather determine whether a student pays university fees on an in-state or out-of-state basis. Each campus admissions office is responsible for determining the residency status of all new and returning students based on the Application for Admission, Residency Questionnaire and, as necessary, other evidence furnished by the student.
 
The term “California resident” for tuition purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency. A person who has a California driver’s license/vehicle registration or who is a California resident for tax, voting or welfare purposes may have established legal residence in the state but might not necessarily be considered a resident for in-state tuition purposes.
 

INITIAL CLASSIFICATION

A student attending a Cal State LA as a first-time freshman, transfer or as a post-baccalaureate 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, if both parents are deceased, from that of the legal guardian.

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 for more than one year immediately PRIOR 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 19, 2018.
  2. Intent: The student or parent/guardian must demonstrate intent to remain indefinitely in the state for more than one year immediately PRIOR 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.

Intent to remain indefinitely in California can be supported by various actions and documents. Factors that may be considered in determining intent include the following:

  • State where the student is registered to vote
  • Voting history
  • State driver’s license or identification card
  • State vehicle registration
  • State income tax returns
  • Address that is listed on federal income tax returns
  • Locations listed as the student’s permanent military address or home address
  • State-issued professional licenses (e.g., nursing, teaching credentials)
  • Locations of active memberships in professional organizations (e.g., police union, teachers’ union)
  • Locations of financial accounts

Actions and/or documents which show residential ties to a State or country other than California may be a cause for a denial of residency. For more information about an initial classification of residency in California, see California Education Code Section 68017 and California Code of Regulations Title 5, Sections 41904 and 41905.

If you would like the campus to reconsider your initial residence classification, please see Campus Residence Review Request and Deadlines section below.

10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CALIFORNIA RESIDENCY FOR CSU TUITION PURPOSES

  1. California residency for tuition purposes eligibility criteria are established by State Law and the California Code of Regulations. California State University implements these Laws and Regulations, and cannot alter or waive the eligibility criteria for any reason.
  2. Under California law, if you have moved to California primarily to attend a California institution of higher learning, then you are not eligible for in-state tuition. You must prove through official and/or legal documents that you have moved to California permanently, and are not merely living in California temporarily while you attend Cal State LA, however long your course of study may take.
  3. Living in California for 12 months is not an automatic qualification for in-state tuition. As part of the residency determination process, lawful residence in California for at least one full year prior to a term’s residence determination date is also considered. See Residence Determination Date section for specific dates.
  4. Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating California residency for tuition purposes eligibility.
  5. Legal ties that you maintain in another state or country (e.g., state tax liability, a driver’s license, voter’s registration, etc.) will disqualify you from residency reclassification, regardless of your reason(s) for maintaining these ties.
  6. Evidence that you are receiving financial support in any way, either directly (e.g. tuition payments, parent PLUS loans, etc.), or indirectly (e.g., parent-purchased or co-purchased residences, parent-controlled financial portfolios), will disqualify you from California residency for tuition purposes.
  7. Despite the length of time you attend California State University or live in California, you might not qualify for California residency for tuition purposes. The term "California resident" for tuition purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency. A person who has a California driver's license/vehicle registration or who is a California resident for tax, voting, or welfare purposes may have established legal residence in the state but might not necessarily be considered a resident for tuition purposes.
  8. Residency reclassification applications and all supporting documentation must be submitted by the residence request deadline for the term in which reclassification is requested.
  9. If a student does not qualify as a California resident, there are certain exceptions that may allow a student to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes. To qualify for these exceptions, the student must be legally capable of establishing residence in the United States and satisfy the exception requirements. 
  10. If your status is re-classified to resident for CSU tuition purposes, it will be effective beginning with the term for which the reclassification request is received. Reclassifications are not retroactive, and non-resident fees will not be refunded for previous enrollment terms.

RESIDENCE DETERMINATION DATES

As part of the residency determination process, lawful residence in California for at least one full year prior to a term’s residence determination date is also considered. The residence determination dates for each term are as follows:
 
Term - Semesters
Determination Date
Fall
September 20
Winter (if applicable)
January 5
Spring
January 25
Summer
June 1

CAMPUS RESIDENCE REVIEW REQUEST AND DEADLINES

The following forms are available to applicants and students who may be eligible to have their residency status changed, and must be submitted to the Admissions Office.

  • CSU Residence Questionnaire – To correct reported residency information that may affect CSU tuition and fees status, or to request reclassification of current residency status for CSU tuition and fee purposes due to new/updated information. In addition to the form, the applicant should submit:
  1. A government-issued photo identification (or a school photo ID is acceptable for minors who do not have a government issued ID);
  2. Documentation to support US citizenship/immigration status;
  3. Social Security (SSN) Card; and
  4. Any documentation that will support your claim of California residency and/or responses to the questions on the form. The documentation should verify your physical presence in California, for at least one year immediately prior to the desired term's Residence Determination Date (see dates above). Since each individual’s situation is different and unique, we are unable to provide specific examples, or details, as to what documents are needed to prove California residency.
If the student will not be 19 years old by the desired term's Residence Determination Date, s/he is considered a minor, and the parent with whom the student resides with, or is the dependent of, must answer questions #1-12 on the form. With the form, the parent must also submit a government-issued photo identification, and documentation to demonstrate that the parent resides in California for at least one year immediately prior to the desired term's Residence Determination Date (see dates above).
  • California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB 540) – eligible students who will have at least three years of formal schooling in California high schools, California adult schools, campuses of the California Community Colleges, or a combination of those schools, prior to enrolling at Cal State LA, may request consideration for the non-resident tuition exemption as provided by AB-540. Please submit official copies of CA academic records (e.g., transcripts, proof of attendance, etc.), and if completed a GED, please submit GED certificate. If you are a first-time freshman, and are still in high school, you do not need to submit a high school transcript with the AB-540 form, but please plan to submit a copy of your official, final high school transcript by your admission term's final transcript deadline. For more information about resources for Undocumented Students, please visit the CSU Office of the Chancellor Resources for Undocumented Students webpage.

Be aware: Given the complexity of the residence review process, it may take 4-6 weeks (and possibly longer during peak periods) to complete. Your situation will be carefully reviewed and given thorough consideration. Once a decision is reached, or if additional information is needed, you will be contacted via email at the address listed on GET.

Residency Request and Document Deadlines
Requests/forms must be submitted by the term's residence document deadline date. If submitted after this date, a CSU Residence Questionnaire will need to be resubmitted for the next available term.
Term - Semester Document Deadline - during the term
Fall November 1
Winter (if applicable) January 5
Spring March 1
Summer June 1

HOW TO SUBMIT CAMPUS RESIDENCE REVIEW REQUESTS

Please submit the CSU Residence Questionnaire (or California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request (AB 540)), and original supporting document(s) to the Cal State LA Admissions Office.

  • Mail to:
Cal State LA Admissions
ATTN: Residency
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032
 
If mailing, please do not submit original photo IDs and SSN cards. 
  • Drop off in-person to:

Student Services Center-Admissions Office
Student Affairs Building, Room 101

Short-term metered parking is available near the Student Affairs/Administration Buildings. For more parking information, visit the Visitor Parking webpage.

Completed forms must be submitted with original signatures. They will not be accepted via fax or email.

Given the complexity of the residence review process, it may take 4-6 weeks (and possibly longer during peak periods) to complete. Your situation will be carefully reviewed and given thorough consideration. Once a decision is reached, or if additional information is needed, you will be contacted via email at the address listed on GET. If you disagree with the campus decision to your residency review request, you may file an appeal with the CSU Chancellor's Office. Thank you in advance for your patience and prompt attention to all requests.   

TUITION AND NON-RESIDENT FEE PAYMENT OPTIONS

It does take time to process and review the submitted residence forms. In the meantime, if you need payment assistance with the term’s tuition and non-resident fees, a special installment payment plan is available to defer non-resident fees until your residency status for CSU tuition purposes is determined. To learn more, or to sign up for this plan, please visit Student Loan Services and Collections Office in ADM 140; this plan is not available online via CASHNet SmartPay.

If you submitted your residence request form directly to the Admissions Office/Sandoval Student Services Center in SA 101, and received a document receipt, please bring this receipt with you when you sign up for the payment plan.

Be aware: If it is determined that you do not qualify for a reclassification to resident status for CSU tuition purposes, the non-resident fees will become immediately due, and must be paid before you may enroll for the next term.

RECLASSIFICATION AFTER THE FIRST TERM AT CAL STATE LA (continuing students)

A student classified as a nonresident for a prior term may seek reclassification in any subsequent term; however, reclassification requires that, in addition to satisfying the requirements of physical presence and intent to remain indefinitely in the state, the student must also satisfy the requirement of financial independence as outlined in Title 5 CCR § 41905.5. To do so, the student must contact the appropriate person in the campus admissions office and complete the approved Residence Questionnaire Form and provide supporting documents.

41905.5. Residence Reclassification - Financial Independence Requirement

Any nonresident student requesting reclassification to resident for tuition purposes must demonstrate financial independence

  • Student has not and will not be claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his/her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application
  • Student has not and will not receive more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) per year in financial assistance from his/her parent in the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application
  • Student has not lived and will not live for more than six weeks in the home of his/her parent during the calendar year the reclassification application is made and in any of the three calendar years prior to the reclassification application

Note: Students who receive a government scholarship and/or financial assistance should be viewed the same as state and federal financial aid, and athletics grants-is-aid; and should not be counted as parental support.

Effective Fall 2020 academic term, if the student meets at least one of the following criteria, the student does not have to meet the financial independence requirement.  Student must provide the campus admissions office supporting documents (e.g. state income tax returns, court documents, marriage certificate, military order form) that demonstrate they meet the criteria.

  • Dependent on a parent who has California residence for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date;
  • Enrolled in a graduate or post‐baccalaureate program, regardless of age;
  • Turned 24 years of age by the residence determination date;
  • Married or registered domestic partner as of the residence determination date;
  • Active duty members serving in the U.S Armed Forces
  • Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
  • Legal dependent other than spouse or registered domestic partner
  • Former ward of the court, foster youth, or both parents are deceased
  • Declared by a court to be an emancipated minor
  • Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless

Students financially dependent on nonresident parents are not eligible for reclassification. As with the initial residence classification, the campus must review the information presented by the student in connection with any subsequent reclassification request and notify the student of its decision. If reclassification is denied, the student has the right to appeal if they meet the criteria for appeals.

Resident students who become nonresidents or who no longer meet the criteria for an exception must immediately notify the Cal State LA Admissions Office. Changes may have been made in the rate of nonresident tuition and in the statutes and regulations governing residency for tuition purposes in California between the time this information is published and the relevant residency determination date. Students are urged to review the statutes and regulations stated above.