Residency Information

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A non–resident student can be independent or dependent. An independent student has not established a permanent home in Washington State (for purposes other than educational; enrolling in more than six hours per quarter is coming to state for educational purposes) at least 12 months prior to application. A dependent student lives with a parent or legal guardian who has not been a legal resident of Washington for at least a year prior to application.

Factors considered to determine independence

  • The preceding year's income tax returns of the student and/or the student's parents or legal guardian (an applicant must demonstrate sufficient income to prove independence).
  • The length of time the student has lived independently from parents.

Factors considered to determine residency

  • Student must be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident (resident–alien) status.
  • Student with non–resident parents must prove independence from his or her parents.
  • Student must declare intention to become a legal resident of the state by obtaining the following documents: a Washington driver's license, vehicle registration, and voter registration.

 Note: Native American students of certain tribal affiliations who are residents of Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington can be classified as residents (for tuition purposes only) by submitting qualifying documents.

Other determining factors

  • An independent student must demonstrate sufficient income to prove a claim of independence.
  • Registration with the Selective Service in Washington a full year prior to application.
  • Purchase of a home in Washington State a full year prior to application.
  • Attendance, as a resident, at a state supported college or university in another state within the past year.
  • Receipt of financial assistance from another state government in the past year: includes reciprocity awards.

Factors which will prevent a student from receiving residency

A student cannot qualify for resident status if:

  • The student possesses a current out–of–state driver's license, vehicle registration, or other document that gives evidence of living in another state.
  • The student has received financial assistance from another state government; including reciprocity award in the past year.
  • The student has been attended a Washington college or university as a participant in the National Student Exchange program from another state in the past year.

Residency status/tuition

  • Resident tuition applies to active duty military, Washington state Reservists / Guard members and refugees. Effective July 1, 2003, Washington state law made certain students who are not permanent residents of the United States eligible for resident tuition. Students meeting the criteria who were previously classified as non–residents are responsible for requesting a change in their residency status.
  • For state–supported class tuition purposes, a state resident is one who is a U.S. citizen or who has permanent resident immigrant status, refugee–parolee status, or conditional entrant status.

How to apply for a change in residency

To apply for a change in your residency classification, obtain a  Residence Questionnaire Form (pdf) or pick one up at the Admissions office (2BE1104B). New students submit the completed form to Admissions. Current students submit the form to Registration.


Some non–resident students may qualify, on a quarterly basis, for an exemption from non–resident fees. Students eligible include:

  • Those who have a graduate service appointment involving not less than 20 hours per week.
  • Those employed by an academic department in support of instructional or research programs involving not less than 20 hours per week.
  • Those on active–duty in the military stationed in Washington State.
  • The spouse or dependent of a person who is on active military duty stationed in Washington State can be classified as a resident (for tuition purposes only) by submitting each quarter proof of military assignment in the state.
  • An immigrant having refugee status with the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, if such refugee (a) is on parolee status, or (b) has received an immigrant visa, or (c) has applied for U.S. citizenship.
  • Exemptions may be applied for by submitting proof of status, as indicated above, to the Admissions Office. View the  Residency Affidavit (pdf).


Non–resident tuition exemptions are not applicable at Seattle Central under the current reciprocity agreements.