ESTABLISHING RESIDENCY (SCHEV)
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia provides general, descriptive information about establishing Virginia domicile in order to qualify for in-state tuition. Inquiries about institutional tuition classification decisions, or explanations involving special circumstances, should be directed to the institution a student plans to attend.
How are the rules and procedures established for considering individuals as "in-state" students for tuition purposes?
The conditions by which a student may be considered "in-state" for purposes of tuition classification are set forth by Chapter 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia. Although individuals may be considered state residents for voting and other legal purposes after being in the state for a short period of time, the Code outlines specific additional requirements that must be met to be classified as "in-state" for tuition purposes.
How long must I be domiciled in Virginia before I can be considered "in-state" for tuition purposes?
By law a student or the student's parent(s) must be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 continuous months immediately preceding the first day of classes.
May I leave the state for vacations or summer work while establishing my "in-state" status?
Yes, but you must maintain the Virginia connections you have established, such as claiming any income as Virginia income for tax purposes. Any interruption or change in these connections could be sufficient cause to negate whatever domicile has been established and could result in having to reestablish domicile upon returning to Virginia. You should check with the institutional tuition classification officer before you leave the state.
Can I establish "in-state" status as a student?
Yes, but the mere fact that you are a student is not sufficient evidence to consider you "in-state." Physical presence and intent must be demonstrated.
If I marry a Virginia resident or live with a relative who is a Virginia resident, am I considered an "in-state" student?
Not necessarily. Each individual must establish his or her own domicile as prescribed by tuition law.
Does the tuition classification law affect students who attend private schools?
Yes, recipients of the Tuition Assistance Grant (TAG) and other Virginia student aid programs must be domiciliary residents.
Are non-U.S. citizens capable of establishing "in-state" classification?
Non-U.S. citizens are legally capable of establishing domicile where they have been granted the status of lawful permanent residents by the U.S. Immigration Service. Immigrants may claim, and seek to prove, eligibility for in-state tuition rates as Virginia domicile as any citizen of the United States. The burden is on the student to establish, clearly and convincingly, his or her domicile in Virginia for the requisite one-year period.
Are dependents and spouses of active duty military personnel always required to pay out-of-state tuition at public institutions?
No. The Code of Virginia provides some exceptions under which in-state tuition or reduced tuition rates might be available. Effective Fall 2006, all dependents of active duty military personnel who are assigned to a permanent duty station in Virginia, and who reside in Virginia, are eligible to receive in-state tuition to the Commonwealth's colleges and universities, so long as they are continuously enrolled in the institution. Military spouses and dependents must APPLY for this benefit. See Military Students and Spouses.
Can the non-military spouse establish Virginia domicile separate from the domicile of the active duty military spouse?
Yes. The non-military spouse must meet the same domicile requirements as any new resident to the state.
To establish domicile, are active duty military persons required to meet the one-year residence requirement?
No. Effective July 1, 2007, active duty military who are assigned to a Virginia military installation and reside in Virginia are eligible for the in-state tuition rate. Military students must APPLY to receive the in-state rate. See Military Students and Spouses.
Is the tuition classification decision at one institution transferable to another institution?
No. Applicants must petition separately at each institution. Each institution must have appropriate documentation to support its classification decision.
What if I disagree with a tuition classification decision?
Each public institution of higher education has established an appeals process for students who question decisions on eligibility for in-state charges. The appeals process includes an immediate review and a final administrative review. Due process procedures shall be in writing and shall include time limitations in order to provide for orderly and timely resolutions of all disputes. Any party aggrieved by a final administrative decision shall have the right of review in the Circuit Court for the jurisdiction in which the institution is located.
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, or disability in employment of the provision of services.