Many parents and students are interested in understanding the requirements to qualify for the New York State resident tuition rate at the State University of New York. The difference between the resident and non-resident tuition rates is significant. The requirements can be complex, so please read this entire document carefully and contact the campus if you have further questions. Contact Community Colleges directly for information about their tuition rates. Each individual SUNY campus is responsible for determining a student's residency status and tuition charges. The campus determination is final. See the Glossary for information about terms used in this guide.
Download a NYS residency application.
At the State-operated campuses (University Centers, University Colleges, and Technology Colleges), students are generally considered New York State residents if they have established their domicile in NY State for at least twelve months prior to the last day of the registration period of a particular term.
- Generally, individuals who have maintained their domicile in New York for a period of less than twelve months prior to the end of registration are presumed to be out-of-state residents and are not eligible for the resident tuition rate.
- Individuals do not meet the twelve-month residency requirement if domiciled in New York State primarily to attend college.
- Individuals who are financially dependent and whose custodial parent(s) lives in a state other than New York are generally not eligible for the resident tuition rate. However, students of divorced or legally separated parents may acquire a NY State domicile if the custodial parent is a NY State resident or if the student resides with a non-custodial parent who is a NY State resident and the student intends to continue to reside with that parent throughout their attendance at SUNY.
Determination of Domicile
To determine a student's domicile, campuses use the following principles:
- A person may have multiple residences but only one domicile.
- A person retains a domicile until it is abandoned.
- Physical presence alone does not establish domicile or residency.
Proof of Domicile
Campuses rely on documents and circumstances such as, but not limited to, the following to determine if an individual's domicile is in New York State. For financially dependent students, the campus relies on documents relating to parents or legal guardian.
- Duration of physical presence in NY.
- State of residency of the student's family.
- NY State voter registration.
- NY State driver's license.
- NY State motor vehicle registration.
- NY State real property ownership.
- NY State residential rental lease.
- NY State income tax returns.
Questions about resident and non-resident tuition rates should be directed to the Student Accounts Office at each SUNY campus.
Exceptions to the Domicile Rule
- Members of the U.S. Armed Forces while on full-time active duty and stationed within New York State, as well as their dependents, are eligible for the resident tuition rate.
- Dependents of full-time active duty personnel who are stationed outside NY State qualify for resident tuition if the service member's "Home of Record" is New York.
- Civilian employees of the military are not included in these exceptions to the domicile requirements.
Immigrant, Non-immigrant and undocumented aliens
- Students claiming to be immigrant aliens must present proof of their status by providing the campus with a valid Alien Registration Receipt Card. Once a student's immigrant status has been verified, the student may then establish New York State residency by meeting the domicile criteria. See Proof of Domicile (above).
- Non-immigrants are grouped in categories depending on the type of visa presented at the port of entry. Non-immigrants admitted to the United States in categories that prohibit them from establishing a United States residence are not eligible for resident tuition.
- In general, the Federal Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act prohibits students who are unable to present valid documentation of their alien status from eligibility for the resident tuition rate. However, undocumented aliens who attend for at least two years and graduate from a New York high school may be eligible. See the campus Student Accounts Office (Bursar) for details.
- Certain non-residents who have graduated from a NY high school may be eligible for resident tuition. Contact campuses for details.
Glossary of Terms
Some terms used in this document have special meaning in the University's Resident Tuition policy:
- Domicile- A fixed permanent home to which an individual intends to return whenever absent.
- Emancipation, Financial Independence- Students under the age of 22 must provide evidence of one year of independent living in order to be considered emancipated.
- "Home of Record"- Part of an armed services record, which indicated that state of residency upon joining the military.
- Immigrant Aliens- May lawfully reside in the United States on a permanent basis and hold a valid Alien Registration Card (green card).
- Non-immigrant Aliens- Those aliens who enter the United States on a temporary basis for a specific purpose.
- Undocumented Aliens - Aliens who are unable to document their INS status.