The State of Washington regulates residency determinations at Washington community colleges and public universities in accordance with RCW 28B.15.012-014. To be considered eligible for the lower resident-tuition rate, a student (or his/her parent or legal guardian in the case of a dependent student) must:
- Be a U.S. citizen or have permanent resident immigration status in the U.S. for at least one year, or hold an eligible visa classification (A, E, G, H, I, K or L)
- Be physically present (or his/her parent or legal guardian) in Washington for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter
- Have established a bona fide domicile (or his/her parent legal guardian) 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter
To determine if a bona fide domicile has been established, a variety of factors are considered. Simply living in Washington for 12 continuous months prior to the beginning of the quarter does not establish residency or intent to become a permanent resident of Washington. Other factors include:
- Visa classification—some classifications will allow a student to establish residency, others do not
- Residency status while enrolled at an out-of-state college or university
- Financial assistance received from an out-of-state source where residency of that state is a requirement
- Out-of-state driver’s license, vehicle registration, and voter registration
- Students who enroll in six credits or more shortly after arriving in Washington state are presumed to have come to the state primarily for educational purposes and will need to overcome this presumption
Applications to change residency status will be accepted up to the 30th calendar day of the quarter in which the change would apply. The residency questionnaire is available at Enrollment Services. The questionnaire and all supporting documentation are reviewed by the residency officer. If a change to resident status is substantiated, a refund is processed for the difference between nonresident and resident tuition.
Some students may qualify, on a quarterly basis, for an exemption from all or a portion of the nonresident fees. Those who may qualify include:
- U.S. citizens, and immigrants who hold permanent resident alien status who have not yet established Washington residency may qualify for the nonresident on waiver tuition rate.
- In accordance with HB 1079, which became effective July 1, 2003, TCC complies with guidelines that allow individuals who are not permanent residents or citizens of the United States to pay resident tuition. These individuals must meet certain criteria, and sign and return the Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit/Declaration/Certification form (available at Enrollment Services). These students are not eligible to receive need-based state or federal financial aid.
- Eligible visa classifications: A, E, G, H, I, K or L. A student (or his/her parent or legal guardian in the case of a dependent student) may be eligible to apply for the resident tuition rate if residency requirements are met (with the exception of registering to vote).
- Active duty military, Washington National Guard members, and their spouses and dependents are eligible for the resident tuition rate. The student’s military ID and orders showing the individual is stationed in Washington must be on file in the Enrollment Services office.
- A student on Refugee Status (or spouse or dependent children of such refugee) if the refugee (a) is on parole status, (b) has received an immigrant visa, or (c) has applied for U.S. citizenship may qualify for the refugee tuition rate. Appropriate documentation must be on file in Enrollment Services.
- A student domiciled for one year in one or a combination of the following states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington, and who is a member of a qualifying American Indian tribe (for list contact Enrollment Services) may be eligible for resident tuition.