Residency for Tuition Purposes
If you were not unquestionably a resident of North Carolina for at least 2 years before applying to graduate school at Appalachian, you may need to request to be considered a Resident for Tuition Purposes.
If you wish to request a review of your residency status, you must be an admitted student, you must complete the Residency Application, and you should be prepared to provide documentation showing that you meet the Governing Statutes as outlined in the Residency Manual.
Your application and supporting documents will be reviewed by the Residency Officer (Ms. Martha Wilson in the Registrar's Office; 828-262-2050). To build the best possible case for yourself, read the application carefully when answering questions and be prepared to present evidence (financial statements, tax statements, deeds, leases, etc.) to support what you write.
It is very important for you to read the conditions that are detailed in the statutes governing residency in the Manual. In summary you will be responsible for providing a preponderance of evidence for the following through your application and supporting documents.
- financial and legal capacity to make NC your permanent home without significant support from persons in other states, i.e., you are independent or you are dependent on other NC residents;
- presence of at least 365 days as a resident in North Carolina;
- intent to reside indefinitely in NC.
The precise guidelines Appalachian must follow are in the manual, and you need to read it completely and carefully while assembling your documents and your supporting evidence.
The Residency Officer and the Graduate School staff are prohibited from coaching, so please understand that we may not be able to answer some of your questions. We can tell you that there is no list of actions to do that will guarantee you in-state residency; the residency officer will look for a "preponderance" of evidence - preponderance means both quality and quantity of the evidence.
Do not be misled into thinking that you will be considered a resident for tuition purposes as long as you have a driver's license; insurance; voter registration; and a lease agreement. Those are certainly indicators, but are not sufficient evidence in and of themselves.
There are some circumstances that must be interpreted as VERY STRONG evidence that you are NOT a North Carolina resident for tuition purposes:
- being under 24 years old without clear, documented evidence that you have not resided with or received support from parents/guardians living in another state for at least one full year;
- being claimed as a dependent on the income taxes of someone outside North Carolina -- Federal tax regulations indicate that you can only be claimed if the person is providing more than 50% of your support (i.e., you would be receiving significant support from someone in another state and thus dependent on them);
- moving to North Carolina just before applying for admission or after applying and before being admitted (i.e., your actions indicate you moved to North Carolina to go to school);
- being in North Carolina as an international person on a VISA that has a termination date or needs to be renewed in order for you to stay (i.e., you don't have the legal capacity to reside indefinitely in North Carolina).
The bar for residency for tuition purposes is set high because of the cost to the citizens of North Carolina. For each student who is classified as in-state, NC tax revenues are used to pay the difference between in- and out-of-state tuition, which is more than $11,000 per year. Tuition is not waived - real money is sent to Appalachian, so it is a review that we all take very seriously.