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 ($46 per unit). Nonresidents must pay the enrollment fee ($46 per unit) plus nonresident tuition ($181 per unit) plus a $9 per unit capital outlay fee.

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

  • have been physically present in California
  • have taken steps to make California your sole state of residence as of one year and a day before the first day of classes for the session you want to attend.

If the student was born outside of the United States, they must have met the above mentioned requirements, along with BCIS documentation that is dated at least one year and one day before the first day of classes for the semester they plan to attend.

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

California non-residents who have graduated from a California high school may qualify for the non-resident tuition exemption.


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.

Each student at the time of admission or readmission will be classified according to his/her legal residence.

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.

The following will be accepted as proof of intent to establish California residence for tuition purposes:

  • 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

Conduct inconsistent with a claim for California residence includes but is not limited to:

  • Maintaining voter registration and voting in another state.
  • Being a petitioner for a divorce or lawsuit as a resident in another state.
  • Attending an out-of-state institution as a resident of that state.
  • Declaring nonresidence for California income tax purposes.
  • Driver's license and/or vehicle registration in another state
  • In the U.S. with a nonresident visa

Please note the following requirements:

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.

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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Last updated: 8/6/2012 9:57:50 AM