Many parents and students are interested in understanding the requirements to qualify for the resident tuition rate at the State University of New York. The difference between the resident and non-resident tuition rates is significant. The requirements can be complex, so please read this information carefully and contact the campus if you have further questions.
Contact the Student Accounts Office if you wish to fill out an "Application for NYS Residency Status". Applications must be received by the last day of the Add/Drop period of the semester you are applying for.
At the State-operated campuses, students are generally considered New York State residents if they have established their domicile in NY State for at least twelve months prior to the last day of the registration period. Generally, individuals who have maintained their domicile in New York for a period of less than twelve months prior to the end of registration are presumed to be out-of-state residents and are not eligible for the resident tuition rate.
Individuals who are financially dependent and whose custodial parent(s) lives in a state other than New York are generally not eligible for the resident tuition rate.
Individuals do not meet the twelve-month residency requirement if domiciled in New York State for the sole purpose of attending college.
Dependent students of divorced or legally separated parents may acquire a NY State domicile if the custodial parent is a NY State resident or if the student resides with a non-custodial parent who is a NY State resident and the student intends to continue to reside with that parent throughout their attendance at SUNY Oneonta.
Determination of Domicile
To determine a student's domicile, the following principles are used:
- A person may have multiple residences but only one domicile.
- A person retains a domicile until it is abandoned.
- Physical presence alone does not establish domicile or residency.
Proof of Domicile
Documents and circumstances are relied upon such as the following to determine if an individual's domicile is in New York State. For financially dependent students, the campus relies on documents relating to parents or legal guardian:
- Duration of physical presence in NY.
- NY State voter registration.
- NY State driver's license.
- NY State motor vehicle registration.
- State of residency of the student's family
- NY State residential rental lease.
- NY State income tax returns.
Exceptions to the Domicile Rule:
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces while on full-time active duty and stationed with New York State, as well as their dependents, are eligible for the resident tuition rate.
- Dependents of full-time active duty personnel who are stationed outside NY State qualify for resident tuition if the service member's "Home of Record" is New York.
- Civilian employees of the military are not included in these exceptions to the domicile requirements.
New York State High School Diploma or GED
If a student submits documentation that they are either:
a) graduated from an approved high school in New York state after attending for at least two years, or
b) received a general equivalency diploma (GED) after attending an approved New York state program for a GED exam preparation, then;
for five years after receiving the diploma or GED, the student will be entitled to pay the in-state resident tuition rate regardless of their domicile as long as:
1) the student is not a non-immigrant alien, and
2) if without lawful immigration status, the student submits a notarized affidavit stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize their immigration status, or will file such an application as soon as they are eligible to do so.
Immigrant, Non-Immigrant and Undocumented Aliens
- Students claiming to be immigrant aliens must present proof of their status by providing the campus with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card. Once a student's immigrant status has been verified, the student may then establish New York State residency by meeting the domicile criteria.
- Non-immigrants are grouped in categories depending on the type of visa presented at the port of entry. Non-immigrants admitted to the United States in categories that prohibit them from establishing a United States residence are not eligible for resident tuition. Non-immigrants included in categories that permit them to establish a United States residence may be eligible for the resident tuition if they meet the domicile criteria.
- Pursuant to the Federal Immigration and Nationality Act, students who are unable to present valid documentation of their alien status are not eligible for the resident tuition rates.
Glossary of Terms
- Domicile - A fixed permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent.
- Emancipation, Financial Independence - Students under the age of 21 must provide evidence of one year of independent living in order to be considered emancipated.
- "Home of Record" - Part of an armed services record, which indicates the state of residency upon joining the military.
- Immigrant Aliens - May lawfully reside in the United States on a permanent basis and hold a valid Alien Registration Card (green card)
- Non-Immigrant Aliens - Those aliens who enter the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.
- Undocumented Aliens - Aliens who are unable to document their INS status.