Residency Requirements

Residency Requirements

California state law requires that each student enrolled in or applying for admission to a California community college provide information and evidence to determine his/her residence classification for tuition purposes. The guidelines below will help you determine if you are a California resident for purposes of attending a California community college.

Residents of California are entitled to attend a community college by paying the community college enrollment fee. Nonresidents must pay the enrollment fee plus nonresident tuition plus a per unit capital outlay fee. For current fee schedule see: http://admissions.santarosa.edu/fees-refund-information 

To qualify as a resident, the student must meet the following requirements:

1) Be physically present in California for at least one year and one day prior to the first day of the semester.

2) Show documentation of intent to establish California residency dating at least one year and one day prior to the first day of the semester to present.

3) Not be precluded from establishing residency by provisions of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

4) Financial independence: If the student was classified as non-resident in a preceding term, and is under 25 years of age before the first day of the semester, then the student must establish financial independence from a non-resident parent or guardian.


NOTE: If student is under 19 years of age, residency is derived from their parent or legal guardian.

Residence status for tuition purposes at a CA Community College will not transfer to a CSU or UC. The CSU or UC will determine your residence status according to their requirements at the time you apply for admission. For further information please contact the CSU or UC you plan to attend.

Residency Determination

The College will make final determination of residency, but the burden of proof is on the student to demonstrate clearly, with proof, both physical presence in California and intent to establish California residence. Generally, intent cannot be proved with only one or two pieces of evidence. The more evidence you can present to show intent, the easier it is to become a California resident for tuition purposes. A person begins to establish intent by doing as many of the above mentioned actions AS SOON AS POSSIBLE after their arrival in California.

All immigration documentation and proofs of California residency must be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office PRIOR to the start of the semester of attendance.

A person’s presence in California and the factors below are considered in determining California residency:

  • State and federal tax returns with W-2 forms
  • Automobile registration
  • California driver's license/California ID card
  • Voter registration
  • Military personnel: active duty
  • Bank account statements
  • California license for professional practice/membership in California organizations
  • Petitioner for divorce in California
  • Utility bills
  • Proof of employment (pay stubs)
  • Mortgage statements
  • Verification of public assistance

No one factor automatically determines residency.

Financial Independence

A student seeking reclassification from nonresident to resident status who is under 25 years of age before the first day of the semester must show financial independence from their nonresident parent(s) or guardian(s) according to guidelines set forth by the State of California. In order to establish financial independence, a student seeking reclassification must show the extent to which he or she has met the following criteria for the current and each of the immediately preceding three calendar years:

1. That the student has not been claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his or her nonresident parents;

2. That the student has not received more than $750 from his or her nonresident parents; and

3. That the student has not lived in the home of his or her nonresident parents for more than six weeks in any given year.

Failure to satisfy all the financial independence criteria for the entire period will not necessarily result in classification as a nonresident if the showing of one year’s presence and intent is sufficiently strong. However, failure to satisfy all three financial independence criteria for the current and immediately preceding calendar years will normally result in classification as a nonresident, since financial independence is of greater significance for those years.

Financial independence, or want of it, for the second and third calendar years immediately preceding the year in which reclassification is requested will be considered together with all other relevant factors in determining intent.

Evidence of financial independence may be presented in the form of (1) affidavits signed by student and parent indicating the extent to which the three criteria listed above have been met, and (2) copies of the federal and state income tax returns filed by student and/or parent for the current and any applicable preceding calendar years.

CALIFORNIA NON-RESIDENT TUITION EXEMPTION (AB 540)

California law (AB540) provides for students who meet the criteria to be considered as residents for tuition purposes. This applies to students who may be an alien without lawful immigration status, as well as to students who have moved out of state and subsequently returned to California. Students must have attended a California high school for three or more years and have graduated from such high school or have attained the equivalent, such as a High School Equivalency Certificate (GED) or Certificate of Proficiency (CHSPE).

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

For information on residency eligibility for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) click here.

Special Exemptions

Several exceptions to the residency rules apply per Education Code. They include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Active duty military personnel stationed in CA and their dependents or recently discharged military members and their dependents:
  • Certain minors who remained in California when parents moved
  • Full-time employees of the college or a state agency, or a child or spouse of the full-time employee
  • Self-supporting minors

If you are requesting one of the following special exceptions, please submit the required supporting documentation listed next to the exception. You must be a U.S. Citizen or have an INS classification that is eligible to establish residence in CA in order to qualify for the following special exceptions:

Self Support: If you are under 19 years of age and you have supported yourself financially for at least one year and a day prior to the first day of the semester, please provide the following: 1) Documentation of employment (either W-2 forms or a letter from your employer showing earnings for the past year). 2) A statement that you have actually been present in CA for the past year, AND 3) A statement showing all your expenses for the past year. (T5 54040)

Public School Employee with a Valid Credential or Emergency Permit: If you hold a valid credential authorizing service in the CA public schools, are employed by a school district in a full-time position, and are enrolling in SRJC to fulfill credential requirements, please provide the following: 1) A statement from your employer showing that you are employed in a full-time position requiring certification qualifications. AND 2) A copy of your credential. AND 3) Proof of enrollment in courses necessary to fulfill credential requirements.  (T5 54046)

Full-Time employee of a CA State Agency Assigned to Work Outside CA (or Child of Spouse of Such Employee): If you, your parent or spouse is a full-time employee of a CA state agency and assigned to work outside CA, please provide the following: 1) Evidence of such employment. AND 2) Evidence of the out-of-state assignment. AND 3) If you are the spouse or child of such an employee, evidence of your qualifying relationship. (EC 68079)

Adult Dependent of a CA Resident: If you have not been an adult resident of CA for more than one year and you are either the dependent child of a CA resident or have a parent who has both contributed court-ordered support for you on a continuous basis and has been a CA resident for a minimum of one year, please provide documentation of your parent’s CA residency and, if applicable, provide a copy of the court order and proof of continuous payment for the year immediately preceding the first day of the semester. (EC 68076)

Agricultural Laborer for Hire (or Child of Such Laborer): (‘Agricultural labor for hire’ means seasonal employment in connection with actual production of agricultural crops, including seeding, thinning and harvesting.) If you or, if you are under 19 years old before the first day of the semester, your parent, earns a livelihood by performing agricultural labor for hire, please provide the following: 1) Evidence that you or, if you are under 19 years old before the first day of the semester, your parent with whom you live, earns a livelihood primarily by performing agricultural labor for hire and has performed such labor in CA for at least two months in each of the two preceding years. AND 2) (Under 19) Evidence that your parent lives within the district, AND 3)(Under 19)  Proof that your parent claims you as a dependent on his/her income tax return, if your parent had sufficient income to incur personal income tax liability. (You, and, if you are under 19, your parent, must be a U.S Citizen or have an INS classification that is eligible to establish residence in CA to qualify for this special exception.) (T5 54048)

RESIDENCY RECLASSIFICATION Form

Residency changes are not automatic. Students whose residency status changes during their enrollment at Santa Rosa Junior College must complete a Residency Reclassification Request Form prior to being considered California residents.

This information has been extracted from the California Education Code sections 68000 and after, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 54000-54072.

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