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:

Jan. 25th
June 1st
Sep. 20th


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

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

No. California State University 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 questionnaires.

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 have the status of one condition below:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Permanent Resident
  • Refugee
  • Asylee
  • Applicants for Temporary Protected Status
  • Temporary Protected Status
  • United States Nationals†
† US Nationals are residents of: American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, Northern Mariana Islands and United States Virgin Islands

Visa Types
  * only if dependent on a H-1 or H-1B
** only if depended on an O-1 visa


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 Questionnaire 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 Questionnaire form with supporting documents by the following priority processing deadlines:
Fall Semester
Spring Semester
May 1st
October 1st
  1. If you submit the request form after the deadline,
    • Processing your request may take more time
    • You will be responsible for all non-resident tuition until reclassification is evaluated and approved.  
    • If your request is approved, we will refund paid fees according to university policy.  
    • We only review requests for residence reclassification for a previous semester on a case-by-case basis.
  2. 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. We may return your application to you if:
    • Your application is incomplete. 
    • We need additional clarification.
    • We will specify the missing information and areas that need clarification.

Where do I submit my Residency forms?

Follow the 3 steps below:

  1. Read instruction:
  2. Download, completely fill out, and sign the Residence Questionnaire [pdf].
  3. Upload the signed Residence Questionnaire and any supporting documents. We do not accept paper copies. 

How do I find out the status of my Residence Questionnaire? 

  1. SJSU normally sends a decision letter regarding Residence Questionnaires about 2-3 weeks after we receive your form.
  2. Expect a 4-6 week turnaround during peak periods times such as the beginning of the semester, end of the calendar year, and the two week period before a tuition payment due date.

How do I find out the status of my Residence Questionnaire?

The Office of Admissions or Graduate Admissions Offices makes the decision about your residency at the time you apply for admission. Review your To Do Checklist to see if you need to submit any other residency related information to complete your application. Contact the Admissions or Graduate Admissions Office 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?

Yes, follow steps below

1. Read these instructions [pdf] before submitting an appeal.

2. Submit your appeal.