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Frequently Asked Questions about Ohio Residency

What are the requirements for establishing Ohio residency for tuition purposes?

Please carefully read the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines (.pdf), in which residency requirements are outlined in detail.

What documentation do I need to submit to apply for residency?

Documentation varies depending on how you are applying for residency.

In general, unless you are applying for E(1) or C(3) residency or through one of the military exceptions, you must submit a completed and notarized Request for Resident Classification.

The Request for Resident Classification packet is available from Undergraduate Admissions for undergraduate students or Graduate Studies for graduate students. Forms are also available online.

In addition to the Request for Resident Classification, you must submit documentation for all sources of income used during the 12-month period you have been trying to establish residency.

If I own or have the use of a car, am I financially responsible for the upkeep, gas, and insurance and reporting it for residency?

Yes. Students are responsible for reporting and being financially capable of paying for the upkeep, gas, and car insurance of car they own or have the use during their residency review period.

If my parents or spouse move to Ohio, when am I eligible to become a resident?

You may be eligible for "instant residency", C-3, if you are dependent upon a parent who is working full-time and has established domicile in Ohio before the beginning of a semester. You may be eligible if you are a dependent spouse of a person who has begun working full-time and established domicile in Ohio for reasons other than gaining the benefit of a state-supported education, before your initial term of enrollment. Refer to C-3 in the residency guidelines (.pdf) for information on how to apply for this type of residency.

If I am moving to Ohio to attend Ohio University as a graduate student and will be on a fellowship or assistantship, does my spouse qualify for C-3, "instant residency?"

No. To be eligible for "instant residency", a student must be dependent upon a spouse or parent who has full-time employment in Ohio. A graduate fellowship or assistantship is not considered full-time employment. The student could apply for regular residency once s/he lived in Ohio for 12 months. At that time, the income earned by the spouse through a fellowship or assistantship would be considered eligible income (if earned in Ohio).

Can I qualify for C-3, "instant residency" through someone other than my parent/legal guardian or spouse?

No. A student cannot qualify for C-3 "instant residency" through other relatives, fiancee's, in-laws, etc. A student may only be reviewed for "instant residency" through their dependency upon a parent/legal guardian or spouse who is living and working on a full-time basis in Ohio.

Does marrying an Ohio resident automatically make me a resident?

Marriage to a person living in Ohio does not automatically make you an Ohio resident for tuition purposes. The person you marry must qualify as a resident for all legal purposes. See C-1 of the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines (.pdf) for the definition of an Ohio resident for all legal purposes.

If my legal guardian is an Ohio resident will I be considered a resident for tuition purposes?

The residency guidelines allow students to be considered residents if they have a legal guardian who is an Ohio resident. However, setting up a legal guardianship with an Ohio resident in order to qualify for residency is not permitted. The burden of proof is upon the student to show that a legal guardianship was not arranged in order for the student to gain residency. In general, the expectation will be that the legal guardianship has been in effect for at least 12 months, and that the student has been financially dependent upon the legal guardian during that time. The student's relationship and involvement with his or her parents will also be a consideration. Submission of court documents will be required to evidence guardianship.

If my parents move out of Ohio, how is my residency affected?

The state residency guidelines have two "grandfather clauses" to address this.

If your parents are Ohio residents and move out of the state while you are an enrolled resident student at Ohio University, you will continue to be classified as a resident through the completion of one degree program, provided that you maintain continuous enrollment (2 out of 3 semesters each year). If you apply for a second degree program (i.e., graduate or professional school), your residency will be reviewed and you will have to meet the residency criteria on your own.

Similarly, if you are a dependent student applying for admission to Ohio University and your Ohio resident parents move out of the state, you will be considered a resident as long as you enroll within 12 months of the date your parents moved out of Ohio. A student would then have to maintain continuous enrollment (2 out of 3 semesters each year).

I am currently considered a resident of Ohio. How is my residency affected if I leave Ohio?

The Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines allows Ohio residents 12 months out of the state before they "lose" their residency. If you leave the state for more than 12 months, your residency will likely be questioned. For example, if you accept employment in another state, you would likely lose your residency after 12 months. It is important to consider future residency implications when planning a move or extended stay outside Ohio.

Except for the past couple of years, I lived in Ohio my entire life. Shouldn't I (and/or my children and spouse) still be considered a resident?

In determining a person's eligibility for residency, the state guidelines are primarily concerned only with the 12-month period immediately preceding the term for which the student is applying for residency. The cumulative time a person lived in Ohio is not relevant if the person has been away from Ohio for more than the 12 months immediately preceding enrollment.

My parents are divorced, but one of them lives in Ohio. Does that make me a resident?

As long as a dependent student has one parent who has been an Ohio resident for at least the 12 months immediately preceding enrollment, they will be considered a resident whether or not the student actually lives in Ohio.

To apply for residency under this clause, the student should submit a letter from the parent currently residing in Ohio that contains the following information:

  • Student's name and social security number
  • State that the student's parents are divorced or separated
  • Indicate the number of years that parent has lived in Ohio
  • Indicate the number of years that parent has paid taxes in Ohio
  • Indicate whether the student has been claimed as a dependent by at least one of the parents in the previous tax year

I am currently considered a non-resident and my parents, who are not residents of Ohio, claimed me as a tax dependent on their federal income tax return. Am I eligible for Ohio residency?

If you are a dependent of your parents, your residency is determined by their residency status. When a student is applying for residency as an independent student, s/he cannot be claimed as a tax dependent by anyone outside the state of Ohio.

How does being in the military affect my (or my children or spouse's) residency?

For individuals who are on full-time, active duty status with the military, or in the Ohio National Guard, the state has three exceptions in the residency guidelines:

If you are an Ohio resident on full-time, active duty status with the military, you and your dependents are considered residents as long as Ohio has remained your state of domicile and you have fulfilled your tax obligation to the state while on active duty.

If you are not an Ohio resident but are stationed in Ohio on a full-time, active duty status, you and your dependents will be considered residents for tuition purposes for as long as you are stationed in Ohio.

If you are a person who is a member of the Ohio National Guard and who is domiciled in Ohio, you and your dependents will be considered residents for tuition purposes.

For information on how to apply, see Exceptions for Residency.

If I am currently working full-time in Ohio, am I eligible for residency?

If you are employed on a full-time or part-time and self-sustaining basis, you may be eligible for E(1) "Conditional" Residency.

What is E-1 Conditional Residency?

Conditional Residency allows an individual who is living in Ohio and is employed on a full-time or part-time and self-sustaining basis in Ohio to enroll as an in-state student for part-time studies, regardless of how long the individual has lived here.

Conditional Residents must be able to demonstrate that they are self-supporting solely on their current employment income. All income must also be subject to Ohio taxation.

For example, if a person is working as a waiter, their tip income must be documented on a pay stub and subject to taxation to be eligible.

In determining whether or not a student qualifies for Conditional Residency, financial aid, savings, or other sources of income (i.e. VA benefits, social security) cannot be considered as income contributing to a student's self-supporting status, but can be used over and above the amount necessary to meet expenses.

Conditional Residents may not register for more than 11 hours (undergraduate) or 10 hours (graduate), or they will be billed as a non-resident for all hours.

See E-1 Residency under Exceptions for Residency on how to apply for this type of residency.

Note: Students must apply for E-1 residency every semester.

If I'm employed and being paid cash (i.e. tip income, babysitting) is this income eligible for residency?

Employment income earned as cash is only eligible for any type of residency (particularly C-2 & E-1) if it is subject to Ohio taxation. The impetus is on the student to provide proof that the income has been subject to Ohio taxation. Otherwise it is ineligible income.

If I am paying taxes to Ohio, doesn't that make me a resident?

Not necessarily. If you are trying to establish residency in Ohio, paying taxes in Ohio is an indicator of your intent to become an Ohio resident. However, you must meet all the residency criteria to be eligible for residency for tuition purposes.

If you are paying Ohio taxes because you are currently living and working full-time in Ohio, you may be eligible for Conditional Residency.

Will I automatically become a resident for tuition purposes once I have lived in Ohio for a year?

No. Any student who has been classified as a non-resident must apply for reclassification as a resident. Even if you are a Conditional Resident, you must apply if you want to be reviewed for regular residency once you have been in Ohio for 12 months.

Are non-United States citizens eligible for residency for tuition purposes?

If a person is financially independent, they must be a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee, Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa to be eligible for review as an in-state resident for tuition purposes.

If a student is financially dependent upon a spouse or parent, the person they are dependent upon must also must be a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee or Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa in order for the student to qualify to be reviewed for in-state residency.

Students who hold an B, F, J, or M visa are not eligible to establish Ohio residency unless they are financially dependent upon a spouse or parent who is a bona fide Ohio resident. This is defined as a person who meets the criteria established in the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines and is also a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee, Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa.
(NOTE: This change was made by the Ohio Board of Regents and is effective July 28, 2003.)

Students who have been granted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival under the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' discretion may apply to have the non-resident fees from their tuition removed as long as all other Ohio state residency requirements are met. To be considered for in-state fees, students with DACA status should submit the Ohio Request for Residency Review or Forever Buckeye form along with supporting documentation, and the following items:

1.    Copy of unexpired USCIS I-797 receipt notice showing approval has been granted
2.    Employment Authorization Card
3.    Ohio Driver's License or Ohio ID card

Students whose immigration status is pending are eligible to establish Ohio residency only if their most recent immigration status was eligible to establish Ohio residency. Financially dependent is defined as having been claimed for tax purposes since birth.

I own property or a business in Ohio, but live in another state. Does that make me or my dependents Ohio residents for tuition purposes?

No. The state guidelines do not grant residency to individuals or their dependents solely on the basis that they own property or a business in Ohio.

In submitting the Request for Resident Classification, what are some examples of acceptable income documentation?

The following are examples of some of the income documents you may submit with your Request for Resident Classification:

W-2 forms, pay stubs, financial aid award letters, notarized letters of support from Ohio residents, bank statements, and statements showing receipt of government benefits.

What types of income sources are not eligible for helping me establish in-state residency?

The following are examples of income sources that would not be viewed as eligible from a residency standpoint:

  • Support from individuals who are not residents of Ohio
  • PLUS loan money because these types of loans are taken out by the student's parents
  • Personal loans
  • Loans with a co-borrower
  • Savings that have not been in an account in your name for at least one year prior to the beginning of your residency review period
  • Financial aid that required you to be a resident of another state in order to receive it
  • Credit card debt

How important is it that I obtain an Ohio driver license or register to vote in Ohio?

Obtaining an Ohio driver license and registering to vote in Ohio demonstrate your intent to make Ohio your state of residence.

Since the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines are meant to exclude from residency those who are in Ohio for educational purposes only, transferring these items of registration is a way to show that you intend to become an Ohio resident.

I am currently trying to establish residency. How does leaving Ohio for the summer or any period for an internship, study abroad etc. affect my residency application?

The expectation is that students who are in the process of establishing their residency are physically living in the State of Ohio for the 12 consecutive months prior to the semester for which they are requesting reclassification. Leaving the state for the summer or for any length of time longer than a 3-week period seriously jeopardizes your claim to Ohio residency. Students who leave Ohio for internships, study abroad, etc., during their residency review period for any period longer than three weeks must submit a letter from their college Dean's Office stating that the student was encouraged to participate in the internship or program and that it was approved by the college.

Students must also maintain their home in Ohio while in the other state on the internship. Proof that their home in Ohio was maintained will be required which will include but is not limited to copies of canceled checks for the payment of rent, copies of leases, or documents proving the purchase of a home in Ohio. If these documents cannot be provided, the absence will cause a denial of residency.

Any income earned during the internship in another state is not eligible towards residency.

After reading the residency guidelines, I think I should have been considered a resident months ago. Can I apply for a prior term and get a refund if I can show I was a resident then?

No. The state guidelines prohibit retroactive residency decisions. You must apply by the deadline for the semester in question in order to be reviewed for residency for that semester.

Can I use savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc. as "income" for establishing residency during my 12 month residency review period?

Savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., may be used as income during a 12 month residency review period if the account(s) and funds are determined as eligible.

If you have used savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that are in your name, you must also prove that you had these funds in your possession 12 months prior to the beginning of your residency review period. The residency review period is the 12 months proceeding the semester you wish to be reclassified as a resident.

The student must demonstrate and provide documentation proving that they had control over the funds if any other persons name is listed on the account. Eligibility of the account(s) and final determination will be decided by the Residency Officer if another name is on the account other than the student's.

You will then be required to submit a minimum of three account statements: a copy of your account statement from one year prior to the start of your 12-month review period; a copy of your account statement from the beginning of your 12-month review period; and a copy of your most recent account statement. The balance from your most recent account statement will be subtracted from your account statement at the start of your 12-month review period. This "difference" in the balance is the amount you may report as savings used during your review period. This is the amount of savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that have been used to cover your expenses during your residency review period. The amount of savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that you had in your possession 12 months prior to the beginning of your residency review period is the amount that will be eligible to use as a beginning balance at the beginning of your review period.

Students are not allowed to be "gifted" a sum of money, less than 12 months prior to the beginning of their review period, to use towards residency.

How can I appeal a residency decision?

A student who is denied reclassification may appeal the decision by submitting a written request of appeal to the office that issued the initial decision (Undergraduate Admissions or Graduate Student Services).  The residency officer will then forward the appeal letter and all documentation on to the appeals committee on the student's behalf.  The committee may request additional information and/or an interview with the student and/or consult with the Office of Legal Affairs before making a final decision.

The committee will have the final determination whether to uphold the initial decision or grant the request for reclassification.  If a residency decision is reversed, the residency official and the committee, jointly, shall have the opportunity to consult with the Office of Legal Affairs before the decision is finalized.  Once a final decision has been rendered, the student will be notified in writing of the appeal decision.

Where can I get more information about residency for tuition purposes?

For new applicants, most residency decisions are easy to verify based on information submitted with the application for admission. Occasionally a situation presents itself that requires additional information. If residency is questioned, the applicant will be considered a non-Ohio resident until the information requested is received and approved.

Current students attempting to establish Ohio residency must submit the requested documents before a decision can be made.

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