Reclassify as an in-state student
To request reclassification as an in-state student, students must submit an Application for Change of Domicile no later than the start of the semester. Reclassification will only be granted from the date the application is received. Processing may take four to six weeks.
It is the student's responsibility to apply for reclassification and to provide sufficient documentation for a determination by clear and convincing evidence. The Office of Records and Registration staff are limited to helping students understand the process and providing information about the relevant sections of the Code of Virginia. We cannot advise students on how to present their case for eligibility for in-state tuition or speculate on a student's chances of being reclassified as in-state.
Virginia law requires an independent student or a dependent student's parents or spouse to establish domicile in Virginia for at least one year prior to the first day of classes of the semester for which in-state tuition is sought. Domicile and residency in Virginia are defined differently under Virginia law. Students seeking eligibility for in-state tuition should be aware that merely residing in Virginia for a year and taking certain steps, such as obtaining a driver's license or registering to vote in Virginia, does not automatically qualify a student for in-state tuition. Further, a student is not able to establish domicile in Virginia if the student is residing in Virginia primarily to attend VCU or another education institution.
Title 23.1, Chapter 5 of the Code of Virginia contains the requirements under Virginia law for eligibility for in-state tuition. Students may review the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia's webpage on Eligibility for In-State Tuition for additional information.
The present, fixed home to which a student returns following temporary absences and at which the student intends to stay indefinitely. The domicile of a dependent student is presumed to be that of the parents. Independent students may establish their own domicile.
A student whose parents have not claimed the student as a dependent on federal or state income tax returns for at least 12 months and have ceased to provide the student with substantial financial support.
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 student under the age of 24 is presumed to be dependent on parents unless the student:
- Is a veteran or an active-duty member of the Armed Forces of the United States
- Is a graduate or professional student
- Is married (a married student whose spouse provides substantial financial support also can be a dependent student)
- Is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18
- Has no adoptive parent or legal guardian and each of the student's parents is deceased
- Has legal dependents other than a spouse
- Can present clear and convincing evidence of financial self-sufficiency
For more definitions, see the SCHEV Domicile Guidelines.
Students who are denied in-state tuition rates may file an appeal by the first day of classes each semester. Per the requirements of Va. Code § 23.1-510, the appeals process includes an intermediate review and a final administrative review.
The intermediate review determination will be in writing and will be sent to the student’s VCU email account within five business days of VCU’s receipt of the appeal. If the student is denied in-state tuition following intermediate review, the student may file an appeal for final administrative review within five business days of receipt of the decision.
The final administrative review will be conducted by an appeals committee consisting of an odd number of voting members. No individual who makes the initial or intermediate determination is eligible to serve as a voting member of the appeals committee. The appeals committee will hold a hearing, at which the student, and any individual through whom the student claims eligibility for in-state tuition, will be provided an opportunity to present information to the committee. The decision of the appeals committee will be in writing and will be sent to the student’s VCU email account within 10 business days of the hearing.
Students who paid tuition at the out-of-state rate while seeking intermediate or final administrative review who are reclassified as in-state may be eligible for tuition reimbursement. Students who disagree with the decision of the appeals committee following final administrative review have the right to appeal their case to the Richmond Circuit Court. A petition for review must be filed within 30 days of receipt of the final decision of the appeals committee.
Citizenship of another country does not automatically disqualify a student from establishing domicile in Virginia because there are numerous conditions under which an eligible alien may legally have the capacity to intend to remain in the United States indefinitely.
See Addendum A of the SCHEV Domicile Guidelines for a description of aliens eligible to establish domicile. A student who is not a U.S. citizen bears the burden of presenting clear and convincing evidence to establish that the student is an eligible alien under the domicile guidelines. No student shall be deemed ineligible to establish domicile and receive in-state tuition charges solely on the basis of the immigration status of the student’s parent.
A student who is not a U.S. citizen who is not eligible to establish domicile may still be eligible for in-state tuition through the following other provisions of Virginia law:
1. Any student who:
- Attended high school for at least two years in Virginia
- Graduated on or after July 1, 2008, from a public or private high school or program of home instruction in Virginia or passed on or after July 1, 2008, a Virginia high school equivalency exam
- Submits evidence that the student has filed Virginia income tax returns for at least two years prior to the date of enrollment or, for a dependent student, at least one parent, guardian or person standing in loco parentis has filed Virginia income tax returns for at least two years prior to the date of enrollment
Students who meet these criteria shall be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, except those students with currently valid F, H-3, J or M visas, who are not eligible.
2. Any student who:
- Was admitted to the U.S. as a refugee under 8 U.S.C. § 1157 within the previous two calendar years
- Received a Special Immigrant Visa that has been granted a status under P.L. 110-181 § 1244, P.L. 109-163 § 1059, or P.L. 111-8 § 602 within the previous two calendar years and, upon entering the United States, resided in Virginia and continues to reside in Virginia as a refugee or pursuant to such Special Immigrant Visa
Students or applicants for admission who are not U.S. citizens who have questions about eligibility for in-state tuition or how to apply for in-state tuition may contact email@example.com.
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. A student can establish Virginia domicile separate from their active-duty military spouse but must meet the same domicile requirements. Prior to completing the Change of Domicile application, please contact Military Student Services by calling (804) 828-6563 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.