Paying in-state tuition instead of out-of-state tuition can save you thousands of dollars on your college education. Each state sets its own residency requirements, which can differ widely from one to the next. However, many states demand students or their families be state residents for at least one full year before enrollment in order to qualify. It is always a good idea to contact the specific school to determine its residency requirements before you apply.
Residency generally requires living in the state in question and demonstrating an intent to be part of its citizenry. For instance, paying state taxes, obtaining a driver's license, registering to vote, graduating from one of the state's high schools and buying property may all indicate such intent. Dependents may use their custodial parent's residency to fulfill the requirement. If you are independent because you are emancipated, married or supporting yourself, your age may make a difference. For instance, you must reach the age of 22 before you can begin to establish independent residency in Colorado.
Military personnel or children in military families typically qualify for in-state tuition for the state in which they or their parents are stationed regardless of how long they have resided there. Some schools, such as many in Michigan, extend in-state tuition exemptions to veterans, as well. Institutions may also allow family members of employees to pay in-state tuition regardless of residency status. Check with the school's financial aid office to determine the specific requirements and documentation needed.
Kristie Sweet has been writing professionally since 1982, most recently publishing for various websites on topics like health and wellness, and education. She holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Northern Colorado.