UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Residence Status for Tuition Purposes

I. Introduction

The majority of this policy applies to Graduate Students.  All Undergraduate Student inquiries about Residence Status for Tuition Purposes should be directed to the Residency Determination Service (RDS), the sole authority for undergraduate residency determinations.  RDS may be reached at: 

II. Policy Statement

Tuition charges are based upon classification of a student as a resident or a non-resident of North Carolina for tuition purposes.  The North Carolina Residency Determination Service (RDS), the sole authority for undergraduate residency determinations, shall determine whether an undergraduate student is a resident or non-resident for tuition purposes.  UNC Charlotte shall determine whether a graduate student is a resident or a non-resident for tuition purposes in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes that are summarized below.  A more complete explanation of the statute and the procedures are contained in The North Carolina State Residence Classification Manual.  Copies of the Manual are available for inspection in the Residency Determination Office.

UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS

Residency Application Procedure

A new, incoming, or current undergraduate student who wishes to request a residency classification will apply using the Residency Determination Service (RDS).  RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina.  To begin the process, visit www.NCresidency.org.  ALL undergraduate student inquiries about initial determinations, reconsiderations or appeals, should be directed to RDS, the sole authority for undergraduate residency determinations.   Students may contact RDS at 844-319-3640 or rdsinfo@ncresidency.org.

Appeal Procedure

A new, incoming, or current undergraduate student who has exhausted the residency application procedure and has been classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes, may request further consideration of that decision to the Residency Determination Service (RDS).  RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina.  ALL undergraduate student inquiries about initial determinations, reconsiderations or appeals, should be directed to RDS, the sole authority for undergraduate residency determinations.   Students may contact RDS at 844-319-3640 or rdsinfo@ncresidency.org.

GRADUATE STUDENTS

Residence

Generally, in order to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes, a person must be a legal resident of North Carolina AND must have been domiciled in North Carolina for at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately prior to the beginning of the term.  In order to be eligible for such classification, the person must establish that his or her presence in the state during such twelve-month period was for purposes of maintaining a bona fide domicile rather than for purposes of mere temporary residence incident to enrollment in an institution of higher education.

Initiative and Proof of Status

A student is responsible for seeking reclassification as a resident for tuition purposes.  A student must (1) provide all of the information that the residency application requires for consideration of residence classification and (2) establish facts that justify classification as a resident for tuition purposes.  (See Residence Application Procedure below.) 

Parents’ Domicile

If a dependent student has living parents or a court-appointed guardian who maintain bona fide domicile in North Carolina, this fact shall be prima facie evidence that the student is also domiciled in North Carolina. This primary proof of the student’s legal residence may be supported or rebutted by other information relative to the applicant’s age and general circumstances. 

If a student’s parents or legal guardian are domiciled outside of North Carolina, this fact shall be prima facie evidence that the student is also not domiciled in North Carolina, unless the student has lived in North Carolina for the five years preceding enrollment or re-registration at UNC Charlotte.

Domicile of Non-U.S. Citizens

If a student is not a U.S. citizen, he or she may or may not qualify for resident tuition on the same basis as a U.S. citizen.  The type of immigration documentation held by the student will determine if he or she has capacity to (i.e., is legally able to) establish legal residence for tuition purposes.  However, that person must still take the actions and have the intent necessary to establish legal residence.

Effect of Marriage

A person does not automatically obtain North Carolina domicile solely by marrying a North Carolina resident.  If both student and spouse have established a North Carolina domicile and the spouse has met the 12-month requirement, the student who has not met the requirement may borrow his or her spouse’s domicile to meet the 12-month requirement.  However, the two durations cannot be added together to meet the 12-month requirement.

Military Personnel

A North Carolinian who serves outside the State in the armed forces does not lose North Carolina domicile and thus North Carolina legal residence simply by reason of such service. Students in the military may prove retention or establishment of legal residence by reference to residentiary acts accompanied by residentiary intent.

An active duty service member stationed in North Carolina, as well as his or her spouse, dependent children, and dependent relatives who are living with the service member shall be charged the in-state tuition rate along with any applicable mandatory fees.  Under this provision, the dependent relative must comply with any applicable requirements of the Selective Service System.

Also, members of the North Carolina National Guard may be eligible to pay the in-state rate while attached to a military unit in North Carolina.  Only the Guard member is eligible for this benefit.

Tuition benefits based on military service may be enjoyed only if requirements for admission to UNC Charlotte have been met.  The military service tuition statute does not qualify a person for or provide the basis for receiving derivative benefits under other tuition statutes.

Employees

Permanent full-time employees of The University of North Carolina who are legal residents of North Carolina qualify for the in-state rate even if they do not meet the twelve-month requirement.  The employee’s spouse and dependent children (using income tax dependency as the standard) who are legal residents also qualify for this benefit. 

Grace Period

If a student (1) is a legal resident of North Carolina, (2) has consequently been classified a resident for tuition purposes, and (3) has subsequently lost North Carolina legal residence while enrolled at UNC Charlotte, the student may continue to enjoy the in-state tuition rate for a grace period of 12 months measured from the date the student lost his or her status as a legal resident.  If the 12 month grace period ends during an academic term in which the student is enrolled at UNC Charlotte, the grace period extends to the end of that term.  Marriage to one domiciled outside of North Carolina does not, by itself, cause loss of legal residence.

Minors

Minors (persons under 18 years of age) usually have the domicile and thus the legal residence of their parents.  This presumption may be rebutted by other information in the case of divorce, legal separation, a deceased parent or a minor living with neither parent.  Certain specific cases are recognized in determining residence for tuition purposes.

  1.  If a minor's parents live apart, the minor's legal residence is deemed to be North Carolina for the time period(s) that either parent, as a legal resident of North Carolina, may claim and does claim the minor as a tax dependent.  Under this provision, a minor deemed to be a legal resident will not, upon turning eighteen before enrolling at an institution of higher education, lose North Carolina legal residence if he or she (1) acts in a manner consistent with bona fide legal residence in North Carolina and (2) begins enrollment at UNC Charlotte no later than the Fall academic term immediately following completion of education prerequisite to admission at UNC Charlotte.
  1.  If a minor has lived for five or more consecutive years in the home of adult relatives (other than parents) who are domiciled in North Carolina and if the relatives have functioned during this time as if they were personal guardians, the minor will be deemed a resident for tuition purposes for the enrolled term commencing immediately after the five years in which these circumstances have existed. Under this provision, a minor deemed to be a resident for tuition purposes immediately prior to his or her eighteenth birthday will be deemed a legal resident of North Carolina for the required 12 month period when he or she turns eighteen; provided he or she does not abandon North Carolina legal residence.

Re-Establishment of Domicile within 12 Months

If a student ceases enrollment at or graduates from an institution of higher education in North Carolina while classified a resident for tuition purposes and then abandons and reestablishes North Carolina legal residence within a 12-month period, that student shall be permitted to re-enroll at UNC Charlotte as a resident for tuition purposes without meeting the 12-month durational requirement.  Under this provision, the student maintains the reestablished legal residence through the beginning of the academic term for which in-state tuition status is sought.  A student may receive the benefit of this provision only once.

Transfer Students

When a student transfers from one institution of higher education to another, he or she is treated as a new student and must be assigned an initial residence classification for tuition purposes.

Admitted and Readmitted Students

A student accepted for initial enrollment at UNC Charlotte or permitted to re-enroll following an absence from the institutional program that involved a formal withdrawal from enrollment will be classified by the admitting institution either as a resident or as a non-resident for tuition purposes prior to actual enrollment.

Residency Application Procedure

A newly admitted graduate student or continuing graduate student who has been classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes may pursue reconsideration of the residency classification by submitting the Residence and Tuition Status Application and supporting documentation to the Residency Determination Office.  The due date for submission of the NC Residence and Tuition Status Application in the Residency Determination Office along with all required documentation is by 5 p.m. on the 5th day of classes.  Refer to the Residency Determination Office website for application deadlines for each semester.

Appeal Procedure

A graduate student, who has exhausted the residency application procedure and has been classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes, may request further consideration of that decision to the UNC Charlotte University Residence Status Appeals Board (URSAB) pursuant to the “Policy and Procedures for Determining Residence Status for Students at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte.”  This request must be in writing to the Chairperson of the URSAB and must be submitted to the Residency Determination Office within twenty (20) business days from the date of the issuance of the letter of determination.  The request may consist simply of the statement, "I wish to appeal the decision of my residence classification for tuition purposes."  It must be dated and signed and should indicate the applicant's UNC Charlotte student identification number, academic term, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

III. Definitions

  • Tuition – The amount of money that colleges charge for coursework and other instruction.  Tuition can vary widely between educational institutions, and does not cover fees, cost of books, and other materials.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Revised:  November 10, 2011  [Removal of NC teacher tuition benefit per repeal by NC General Assembly]
  • Revised:  November 7, 2012  [Addition of "any applicable mandatory fees" to Military Personnel section]
  • Revised:  March 27, 2015  [Changed "Change of Status" title to "Admitted and Readmitted Students"]
  • Revised:  February 20, 2017 [With introduction of the Residency Determination Service (RDS), policy broken out into separate procedures for Undergraduate and Graduate Students]

VI. Related Policies, Procedures and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which students are covered under this policy? 
    This policy applies to graduate students at UNC Charlotte.  Undergraduate students should visit/contact the Residency Determination Service (RDS), the sole authority for undergraduate residency determinations.