Residency status

To be considered for in-state tuition, students must meet certain residency requirements set forth by the Code of Virginia.

Dependent and independent students

A student or the student’s parents must be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 continuous months immediately preceding the first day of classes. The domicile of a dependent student is presumed to be that of the parents. Independent students may establish their own domicile.

Dependent student: Any student who is listed as a dependent on tax returns of parents or legal guardians, or who receives substantial financial support from them. A married student whose spouse provides substantial financial support also can be a dependent student.

Independent student: Any student who is over the age of 24 and whose parents have not claimed them as a dependent on federal and state income tax returns for at least 12 months. A student under the age of 24 will be considered independent if they meet at least one of these conditions:

  • Is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces
  • Is a graduate or professional student
  • Is married
  • Is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18
  • Has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased
  • Has legal dependents other than a spouse
  • Is able to present clear and convincing evidence that they are financially self-sufficient

Change of residency

Residency is initially determined by the Office of Admissions when a student applies to VCU. If an independent student or a dependent student’s parents or spouse moves to Virginia and fulfills the requirements of domicile, the student can petition for a change of status 12 months after the move. Petitioners must prove that they are not residing in Virginia primarily to attend VCU.

To change residency status, submit an  no later than 30 days before the start of the semester. Residency changes will only be granted from the date the application is received. Processing may take four to six weeks.

It’s the student’s responsibility to apply for a change of residency. Our service is limited to helping students understand the process and providing information about relevant sections of the Code of Virginia. We cannot advise students on how to present their case or speculate on their chances of getting reclassified as in-state.

Non-U.S. citizens

Non-U.S. citizens may seek eligibility for in-state tuition rates if they have been granted lawful permanent resident status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. The burden is on the student to establish their domicile in Virginia for the required 12-month period.

Military dependents

All dependents of active-duty military personnel who are assigned to a permanent duty station in Virginia, and who reside in Virginia, are eligible to receive in-state tuition, as long as they are continuously enrolled at VCU. Military spouses and dependents must apply for this benefit. Students can establish Virginia domicile separate from their active-duty military spouse, but must meet the same domicile requirements as any new resident to the state. Prior to completing the Change of Domicile application, please contact Military Student Services by calling (804) 828-6563 or by emailing militaryserv@vcu.edu.

Appeals

Students who are denied in-state tuition rates may file an appeal by the first day of classes each semester. The appeals process includes an immediate review and a final administrative review. Students who paid tuition at the out-of-state rate while waiting for a decision and get reclassified as in-state may be eligible for a reimbursement.

Parties who disagree with the administrative decision have the right to appeal their case to the Richmond Circuit Court. 

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