The SUNY system was designed to provide quality educational access to qualified residents of New York state. New York state residency standards require that students have established a domicile, a principal and permanent home, as opposed to temporary residence incidental to community college or university attendance. A person may have many residences but only one domicile.
Independent individuals who have established a permanent home in New York state for at least one year or dependents of parents who live in New York state are eligible for in-state tuition rates. Living in New York state only while attending college does not qualify as permanent residence.
Individuals who have not established their domicile in New York state for at least one year before first enrolling at SUNY ESF College, or who intend to return to a principal residence outside New York state at the end of their studies here are eligible for out of state tuition rates.
A summary of the policy requirements is provided below. Students and families with questions regarding the residency policy should contact the Office of Business Affairs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students who are currently charged at the non-resident rate, and wish to be considered for resident tuition should review the eligibility requirements, and complete a residency application if they feel they are eligible. The residency application deadline for each semester is the last day of that semester's Add/Drop Period. If you have extenuating circumstances that prevent you from meeting this deadline, you must contact the Office of Business Affairs in advance of the deadline.
Campus Determination of Residency
The initial residency determination is made at the time of admission. Students with missing and/or conflicting information on their initial application are coded as non-resident, pending verification of their residency status.
Some students who indicate that they are residents of the state on their initial University application may be asked to complete a residency application to verify their status. Failure to complete this application can result in the student being charged at the non-resident tuition rate.
It is a student's responsibility to verify their tuition billing rate and follow up with the Office of Business Affairs if they feel that it is incorrect. Residency determinations cannot be made retroactively.
The University must comply with SUNY's administrative policy, "Residency, Establishment of for Tuition Purposes," (SUNY Policy 7810) when determining residency status. Key to any residency case is the determination of domicile, which is defined as a fixed, permanent home to which a person intends to return following an absence. In order to qualify for residency for tuition purposes, it is generally required that a New York State domicile must have been established at least one year prior to the period of registration at the University and maintained beyond that point. The burden of proof is upon the applicant through the submission of documentary evidence sufficient to demonstrate domiciliary status.
Students who have not maintained a domicile in New York state for a period of one year (12 months) prior to their first registration are presumed to be out-of-state residents and are not eligible for the residents tuition rate. One does not acquire domicile by mere physical presence in New York for purposes of attending a college or university.
Proof of domicile is based on documented, previous and continuing intention to remain in New York state. Mere physical presence in New York for a 12-month period does not constitute domicile. Individuals do not meet the twelve-month residency requirement if domiciled in New York State primarily to attend college.
Persons who have been physically present in New York for more than 12 months, but have maintained (or are dependents of someone who maintains) a permanent and principal residence outside of New York or who intend to leave New York upon termination of their studies will not be eligible for resident tuition rates. Students who are receiving resident educational benefits from another state are nonresidents.
Dependent students are considered residents of the state where their parents live. Their documentation would rely on information relating to themselves and parents or legal guardian. Students claiming emancipation must furnish evidence of both financial independence and establishment of domicile. Campuses rely on documents and circumstances such as, but not limited to, 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 the parent(s) or legal guardian.
- Documented duration and purpose of physical presence in New York.
- State of residency of the student's family, spouse and children.
- New York State voter registration.
- New York State driver's license or non-driver identification.
- New York State motor vehicle registration.
- New York State real property ownership.
- New York State residential rental lease.
- New York State and Federal income tax returns.
- Exclusion of parental income on FAFSA documents
- Exclusion of parental claim for dependency on tax returns
- Employment within New York State
- Student's assets or liabilities
- Evidence of utilities in the student's name
- Sources and extend of parental or other income
- Place of residence during school recesses
Driving a vehicle registered to one's parent or use of PLUS loans constitutes acceptance of parental support. If a student continues to accept financial support from a parent, they may not be considered emancipated, even if the parent does not claim the student as a dependent for tax purposes.
Please contact the Office of Business Affairs for complete information and questions regarding residency. Applications for residency for tuition purposes may be obtained at the Office of Business Affairs in person or on the webpage.
Residency applications must be completed no later than the last day to add or register for courses for the semester in question. In accordance with SUNY policy, any student who fails to complete and return the application and provide required documentation in order to confirm New York resident status will be charged nonresident tuition rates.
The application form and instructions are available on the Apply for New York State Residency page.
Exceptions to the Domicile Rule
Military personnel, their spouses or dependents may qualify for resident tuition rates while the military person is stationed on active duty on a full-time basis in New York. Documentation of such must be provided each semester for active military personnel and their dependents, as well as an application for resident tuition rates.
- 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 NY State qualify for resident tuition if the service member's "Home of Record" is New York.
- In-state tuition is afforded to veterans and dependents who meet the eligibility requirements for GI assistance, regardless of where they live.
- Civilian employees of the military are not included in these exceptions to the domicile requirements.
Immigrant, Non-immigrant, Undocumented Students and Other Non-residents
- Students claiming to be immigrants must present proof of their status by providing the campus with a valid Permanent Resident Card or proof of refugee or asylee status. Students who have applied for permanent residency status can also present proof of a pending application. Once a student's immigrant status has been verified, the student may then establish New York State residency by meeting the domicile criteria as described in the Proof of Domicile information provided earlier on this page.
- 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. Please consult the chart of Non-Immigrant Status Classifications (PDF) provided.
- Non-resident students, including undocumented students, who attend for at least two years and graduate from a New York high school and apply to the University within five (5) years of receiving their high school diploma, may be eligible for resident tuition. Such students should complete the Express NYS Resident tuition Application . Undocumented students should also complete the "Affidavit of Intent to Legalize Immigration Status" included in that application.
New York State High School Exception
Former Governor Pataki signed an amendment to section 355 of the Education Law that provides that students who complete both their junior and senior years, as well as graduate from a New York state high school may qualify for resident tuition rates if they attend SUNY ESF College within five years of high school graduation. Certain non-resident students may be eligible for the resident tuition rate:
- if they attended an approved New York State high school for two or more years, graduated from an approved New York State high school and applied for admission to the University within five years of receiving a New York State high school diploma; or
- attended an approved New York State program for a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) exam preparation, received a GED and applied for admission to the University within five years of receiving the GED.
Complete the Express Application for New York State Residency for Tuition Billing Purposes. Include a copy of your official/final high school transcript showing the award of your degree or a copy of your official GED along with documentation of the preparation program attended and submit it to the address on the form by the deadline date indicated for the semester or term for which you are applying for NYS residency.
Glossary of Terms
Some terms used here have special meaning in the University's Resident Tuition policy:
- Domicile - A fixed permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent. Establishing a New York State domicile includes the abandonment of one's prior state of residence and the decision to adopt NYS as one's permanent home. It also includes the intent to remain in New York State permanently.
- Emancipation- Financial Independence - Students under the age of 24 must provide evidence of one year of independent living in order to be considered emancipated. Emancipated students no longer receive any financial support from their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) and are completely responsible for paying all of their educational costs. Students claiming to be emancipated, or financially independent, must provide evidence of both one year of financial independence and domicile.
- "Home of Record" - Part of an armed services record which indicates the state of residency upon joining the military.
- Immigrant Students - Students who lawfully reside in the United States on a permanent basis and hold a valid Permanent Resident Card (green card).
- Non-immigrant Students - Students who enter the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.
- Undocumented Students - Students unable to document their lawful immigration status in the United States.
- Non-resident - a person whose domicile is not New York State.
- Non-U.S. Citizens-Permanent Resident aliens, Refugees and Asylees, including those with pending applications, and some undocumented aliens may establish in-state residence in accordance with SUNY policies. Non-Immigrant Aliens with the following types of visa classifications may also establish in-state residence in accordance with these policies: A1-A3, E1, E2, G1-G5, H1B, H1C, H4, I, K1-K4, L1 and L2, N8 and N9, O1, O3, S5-S7, T1-T4, U1-U4, and V1-V3.