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Guide to Resident Tuition Policy

Eligibility Requirements for New York State Tuition

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 entire page carefully and contact Student Financial Services at [email protected] if you have further questions.

Download Application for New York State Residency Status

Application Deadlines

For full consideration of a change in New York State residency status, complete applications must be received by Student Financial Services:

  • by the last day of the fourth week of the semester when the semester is fall or spring
  • by the last day of the semester when the semester is summer or winter

Eligibility Basics

At state-operated campuses, students are generally considered New York state residents if they have established their domicile in New York state for at least twelve months prior to the last day of the registration period of a particular term.

  • 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 primarily to attend college.
  • Dependent students of divorced or legally separated parents may acquire a New York state domicile if the custodial parent is a New York state resident or if the student resides with a non-custodial parent who is a New York state resident and the student intends to continue to reside with that parent throughout his/her attendance at SUNY.
  • Certain non-residents may be eligible for resident tuition based on special state law. See exceptions below.
  • Questions about resident and non-resident tuition rates should be directed to Student Financial Services: [email protected].

Determination of Domicile

To determine a student’s domicile, campuses use the following principles:

  • 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

Campuses rely on documents and circumstances 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 N.Y.
  • State of residency of the student’s family.
  • N.Y. state voter registration.
  • N.Y. state driver’s license.
  • N.Y. state motor vehicle registration.
  • N.Y. state real property ownership.
  • N.Y. state residential rental lease.
  • N.Y. state income tax returns.

Domicile Rule Exceptions: Military Staff & Others


  • Members of the U.S. Armed Forces while on full-time active duty and stationed within 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 of New York 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.
  • Certain non-residents who have graduated from a New York high school or received a GED from a New York program may be eligible for resident tuition.

Each individual SUNY campus is responsible for determining a student’s residency status and tuition charge. The campus determination is final.

Immigrant, Non-Immigrant & 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.
  • In general, the Federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act prohibits students who are unable to present valid documentation of their alien status from eligibility for the resident tuition rate. However, undocumented aliens who attend for at least two years and graduate from a New York high school may be eligible.

Appeal of Residency Determination

Appeals for a change in a residency determination are warranted when the determination was based upon an incorrect interpretation or application of SUNY Policy. Appeals are also warranted when new circumstances or information arise that necessitate a change in the residency determination. Send written appeals to the Interim VP of Administration & Finance, Todd Moravec, at [email protected].

Glossary of Terms

Some terms used in this brochure have special meaning in the university’s resident tuition policy:

  • Domicile — A fixed permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent.
  • Emancipation, Financial Independence — Students under the age of 22 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.
  • Non-resident — A person whose domicile is not New York state.
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