Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why are non-residents at California's educational institutions charged higher tuition than resident students?

California institutions of higher education are funded by the State of California. Since non-resident students (and their families) generally have not contributed to the source of this funding of public education in California, they are required to pay fees which more closely represent the actual cost of their education.

What are the determination dates for the CSU system (including SJSU)?

The Residence Determination Dates are as follows:

  • Fall - September 20th            
  • Spring - January 25th       
  • Summer - June 1st

How do I qualify for California resident status? How is intent to remain in CA evaluated?

To be eligible for resident status for tuition purposes, you must, for at least one year prior to the residence determination date, maintain physical presence in California and establish your intent to make California your permanent home. Evidence of intent to remain in California indefinitely can vary based on individual circumstance, but should include items listed below as well as the absence of residential ties to your former state. Keep in mind that physical presence in California for the specific intention of academic study does not constitute intent to make California your permanent home.

If you are not a citizen of the United States, you must also maintain, for one year prior to the residence determination date, an immigration status that allows you to establish California residency.

The following will be considered when your resident status is reviewed:                                                                                    

  • California driver's license
  • California identification card
  • California voter registration
  • California automobile registration
  • California state income tax obligations on total income
  • Immigration status with legal capacity to establish California residency
  • Active, continuous savings and/or checking accounts in a California bank (Please note that information regarding financial independence is not required from applicants for admission, but is required from current students seeking residence reclassification.)
  • Ownership of residential property or continuous occupancy or leasing of an apartment where your personal belongings are kept
  • Maintaining a permanent military address and home of record in California
  • Military leave and earnings statements showing California as legal residence
  • Financial independence from parents for the current year and for three years prior to the current year (Please note that information regarding financial independence is not required from applicants for admission, but is required from current students seeking residence reclassification.)

Note: Any act considered inconsistent with becoming a California resident (such as being registered and/or voting, securing or maintaining a driver’s license or automobile registration in another state or filing taxes as a resident in another state) will result in a non-resident decision.

If I am under age 19, can I establish residency on my own?

No. CaliforniaStateUniversity policy states that the residence of applicants who are under age 19 is based on the residence of the parents or guardians. If you will be under age 19 at the time of the residence determination date, be sure to indicate the identity and residence of your parent or guardian on the CSU admission application and any residency questionnaire or residency reclassification form.

Does living in California with a relative other than parents have any impact on residency status?

No. There will not be any impact. If you are under the age of 19, your residency is based on your parent’s information. If you are over the age of 19, then residency is determined only by what steps you take to establish and maintain your residency.

If a student is a dependent of a California State University alumnus, would it have any effect on his or her tuition classification?


What is an eligible citizenship, visa or immigration status?

A non citizen with a visa that prohibits establishing a domicile in California during any portion of the durational period may not be granted resident status (example: F1 status). Other non citizens may qualify for resident status by meeting all requirements for residency outlined previously.

To establish residency a student must be either a U.S. citizen, Permanent Resident, Refugee, Asylee, Applicants for Temporary Protected Status, Temporary Protected Status, United States Nationals (citizens of American Samoa, Guam, Puero Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and United State Virgin Islands, and those holding the following visa A, E, G, H-1, H-1B, H-4 (only if dependent on a H-1 or H-1B), I, K, L, N, O-1, O-3 (only if dependent on a O-1), R, S, T, U, V.

For new students - when is a student’s residency status determined at SJSU?

The Admissions Office/Graduate Admission at SJSU will determine each student’s residency status when the completed application for admission is received and processed. The decision is based on the information contained in the application for admission, transcripts, and other documents required for admission. The residency status determined at this time remains in effect until the student submits the “Residence Questionnaire”. Use this form only if it is your first semester and you feel that you were incorrectly classified as a non-resident. Submitting the Residence Questionnaire at the time of application for admission will assist the office with making a residency decision.   Failure to submit the form may result in an incorrect decision.

What if I have been attending as a student and now I want to change my residency status? What form do I fill out?

A non-resident student who feels he or she has satisfied the residency requirements may complete the “Residence Reclassification Request Form”. Only submit this form if you have paid non-resident fees as a matriculated student for at least one semester. A change in residency classification is never automatic. It is always the student’s responsibility to initiate the petition. Be sure to include copies of documents that support your claim for residency. 

What steps do I need to take if I am a current SJSU student and I wish to apply for a Residence Reclassification?

  1. Submit the Residence Reclassification Request form with supporting documents by the following priority processing deadlines:

              May 1st for Fall semesters

              October 1st for Spring semesters

  1. If you submit the request form after the deadline, keep in mind that it may take longer to process your request and that you will be responsible for all non-resident tuition until reclassification is evaluated and approved.   Refunds will be made according to university policy.   Requests for residence reclassification for a previous semester will be considered on a case by case basis.
  2. Be sure to include copies of supporting documents that are listed in the section “How do I qualify for California resident status? How is intent to remain in CA evaluated?”
  3. If additional documentation is needed before a final decision can be made, your residency form will be mailed back to you with a letter detailing additional information required.   If clarification is needed to responses on the reclassification form or if the form is incomplete, it will be mailed back to you.

Where do I submit my residency forms?

If you are submitting a Residence Questionnaire, submit it directly to the Admissions Office (window A) or to the Office of Graduate Admissions (Graduate Studies Counter) in the Student Services Center.

You may also mail documentation to:

Office of Admission                            

One Washington Square                                   

San Jose, CA95192-0016                                 


Office of Graduate Admission

One Washington Square

 San Jose, CA95192-0025


If you are submitting a Residence Reclassification Request Form, submit it directly to the Office of the Registrar (window R), also located in the StudentServicesCenter. You may also mail documentation to:

Office of the Registrar

Attn: Residency Specialist

One Washington Square

San Jose, CA 95192-0009

When will a decision be made? How do I find out the status of my Reclassification Request Form? 

Typically, decision letters for all Reclassification Requests are mailed out approximately 2-3 weeks after submission of forms. At peak times, (January, February, August, September, November and December), and two weeks prior to a tuition bill due date, please allow approximately 4-6 weeks for processing.

When will a decision be made? How do I find out the status of my Residence Questionnaire?

 A decision for first time students will be made by the Office of Admissions or Graduate Admissions Offices at the time that you have applied for admission. Be sure to check your To Do Checklist to see if any other residency related information is also needed from you before your application for admission can be completed. Follow up with the Admission or Graduate Admission Office directly if you have further questions regarding your residency and if it is your first term at SJSU.

Can a student appeal if his or her petition for residency is denied?

Students classified as non-residents may appeal a final campus decision within 120 days of written notification by the campus. A campus residence classification appeal must be in writing and submitted to the address listed below.

The California State University
Office of General Counsel
401 Golden Shore, 4th Floor
Long Beach, California90802-4210