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Students with resident status are assessed in-state instructional fees, which are subsidized by funds from the State of Oregon’s Higher Education budget. Nonresident students are assessed a higher level of instructional fees that more closely approximates the actual cost of instruction. This guide is designed to help students understand the classification criteria and the process by which residency classification is determined.
Oregon Residency Guidelines
A few key considerations* in determining whether a student qualifies as an Oregon resident for tuition purposes:
- Student has lived in a residence in Oregon for at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the term in which the student plans to start school or to make a residency case.
- Student is financially dependent on an Oregon resident or has financial independence.
- Student’s primary purpose for being in Oregon is something other than to obtain an education.
- The nature and sources of student’s financial resources are not related to education (e.g., student loans).
- Student can show various indicators of residency (e.g., ownership of a primary residence, permanent employment, or payment of income taxes).
For specific information regarding the rules for determining residency for tuition purposes:
Apply for Residency
After reviewing the Residency Standards, if you believe you qualify for residency for tuition purposes you may submit the residency affidavit and all supporting documentation. See the Guide to Oregon Residence Classification for instructions on how to fill out the residency affidavit. You can also review our FAQ and Case Examples below for additional information.
Submit Your Affidavit
Residency affidavits can be submitted through our secure box folder. You can also drop off your affidavit to the Admissions Office either at the front desk or if it is outside of operating hours there is a secure drop box outside the front doors.
SOU Residency Affidavit Deadlines
Submitting your completed affidavit as soon as possible is recommended. However, residency affidavits with all required supporting documents must be submitted to the Office of Admissions by the close of business on the deadline. The deadline is always the last day of the first week of term in which resident classification is sought. Since the summer term has multiple start dates, the deadline is a little later in the term. See below for specific deadline dates.
Winter 2023: January 13, 2023
Spring 2023: April 7, 2023
Summer 2023: July 7, 2023
How is my classification determined?
A section of the SOU application for admission helps us determine whether the applicant meets the qualifications set forth by the OARs. If the information provided does not meet these criteria, is incomplete, or has conflicting information, the applicant will be considered a nonresident.
How am I notified of my classification?
You will be notified in your Admissions letter. Under “Tuition Classification” the statement will read Resident or Nonresident. If you are uncertain you can always reach out to email@example.com.
Is there a difference between being an Oregon resident and residency for tuition purposes?
Yes. Every state organization may have its own rules and regulations as to what determines a resident. Oregon Public Universities (OPU) are governed by the Residency Standards. You can review the Residency Standards.
Why is there a tuition separation between resident and nonresident?
In Oregon, as in all other states, tuition at publicly supported four-year universities is higher for nonresident students than for resident students. The goal is to provide support preference to residents of Oregon.
Why does my financial aid say I’m a resident when I’m listed as a nonresident?
Financial aid is determined from the information provided by the FAFSA. If you indicated Oregon as your residence on the FAFSA, the aid distributed will list you as a resident. However, this does not qualify you for resident status, as this is determined by the OAR rules. Your financial aid will revert to whatever designation was determined at the time of your admission application.
If I am not a resident of Oregon, where is my residency?
We only determine residency for tuition purposes for Oregon. Each state has its own rules governing residency. You do not have to be a resident of another state to be denied residency for tuition purposes in Oregon.
What is the Residency Officer’s role?
The Residency Officer has the authority to apply and interpret these rules and procedures. They can also advise individuals seeking to gain residency for tuition purposes. No other indication or determination of residency by any other institutional office, department, program, or staff represents the official institutional determination of residency.
QUALIFYING FOR RESIDENCY
What are the key considerations for determining my residency classification?
- The student has lived in a residence in Oregon for at least 12 months prior to the beginning of the term in which the student plans to start school or to make a residency case
- The student is financially dependent on an Oregon resident or has financial independence
- The student’s primary purpose for being in Oregon is something other than to obtain an education
- The nature and sources of student’s financial resources are not related to education (e.g., student loans)
- The student can show various indicators of residency (e.g., ownership of a primary residence, permanent employment, or payment of income taxes)
Can I attend school while attaining residency?
You may take up to 8 credits per term while you are establishing the 12 consecutive months of residence required to achieve resident status; however, you must also make sure that your primary activity and financial support are not related to education. For example, if you receive over 50% of your financial support from educational loans or scholarships and/or you are not working or doing another non-educational activity for the majority of your time, education may still be considered to be your primary activity. Make sure to provide objective evidence to support your claim.
If I live in Oregon for twelve consecutive months, will I be a resident after attending as a nonresident for a year?
Not necessarily, if you take more than two classes (typically 8 credits) per term, in any term, in those first twelve months, the state will presume that your primary purpose for living in Oregon is for educational purposes and you will continue to be classified as a nonresident.
If I live just across the Oregon border, but work in Oregon and pay Oregon taxes, are my dependents or I considered residents for tuition purposes?
No, if you live out of state, you would be considered a nonresident.
If I own property in Oregon, and pay Oregon property taxes, are my dependents or I considered residents for tuition purposes?
If you own property but do not maintain a predominant physical presence in Oregon, you will be considered a nonresident.
If I serve in the military, am I considered an Oregon resident?
Active members of the armed forces (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, Military Reservists, and members of the Oregon National Guard) and their spouses and dependent children shall be considered residents for tuition purposes if certain conditions are met. For more information, see Residency Standards Section F.
Can I be considered a resident if I am not a US citizen?
If I am a member of a Native American tribe, do I qualify for residency?
Enrolled members of a federally recognized tribe of Oregon or enrolled members of a Native American tribe that had traditional and customary tribal boundaries that included parts of the state of Oregon or that ceded or reserved lands within the state of Oregon shall be a resident regardless of the state of residence. For a list of tribes that qualify, see Residency Standards Section F.
If your tribe is not on that list, visit our Aboriginal Rights page.
APPLYING FOR RESIDENCY
How can I prove my residency?
If you were determined to be a nonresident because the residency section on the application was incomplete, you may complete the Residency Supplement and we will reconsider the decision. If you were determined to be a nonresident because we felt that you did not meet the criteria based on the application information, you may submit the Residency Affidavit and all accompanying material to the Residency Officer. To determine which option applies to you, email the Residency Officer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are there deadlines for submitting my residency information?
The last date you can submit either the Residency Supplement or the complete Residency Affidavit is the last day of the first week of term in which resident classification is sought. Since the summer term has multiple start dates, the deadline is a little later in the term. See the SOU Residency Affidavit Deadlines above for specific deadline dates.
Can I apply for residency for prior terms?
No. Residency changes are only good for future terms and complete materials must be submitted by the last day of the first week of the term for which you are applying for residency.
How do I determine if I’m “financially independent or dependent”?
The OARs define a “financially independent person” as someone who declares financial independency, who has not been claimed as a dependent on another person’s current or previous years’ tax returns, and who is not receiving more than 50% financial support from another person. A “financially dependent person” would be someone who does not meet one of these criteria.
What do you consider as being financial support?
Any and all expenses incurred by the applicant over the past year. This includes housing costs, tuition costs, car payments, etc. If there are no direct payments or contracts, as would be the case for an applicant living at home, then estimate the average local cost for room rentals for a year. If you are not paying for those expenses, then we would consider that to be outside support from whoever owns the property.
How do I prove I’m “financially dependent or independent”?
Tax returns are the best way. If you are under 24, you are required to submit a copy of your parent/guardian’s tax returns to prove your status. Other proof would be W-2’s, pay stubs, and other financial statements showing personal income.
It seems invasive. Do I have to submit all these documents?
It may seem invasive, but seeking residency for tuition purposes is no different than seeking financial aid. By submitting the required information to the Residency Officer, you can attain a resident classification that will significantly reduce your tuition. Of course, it is up to you to determine which documentation you wish to provide, but insufficient objective evidence of support may result in a denial of the appeal.
Are there exceptions to these rules?
The Residency Officer is bound by the interpretation and application of these policies to make an initial determination at the campus level. If an applicant disagrees with the Residency Officer’s decision, they may choose to appeal the decision to the Inter-institutional Residency Committee (IRC). The IRC meets once a term to hear and rule on appeals to campus-level decisions.
A student’s parents divorce and the student lives with one parent in another state while the other parent lives in Oregon. The student applies to SOU and requests residency.
If the Oregon parent claims the student on the federal tax return, then the student is a resident. If the other parent claims the student, the student is not a resident.
A student graduates from an Oregon high school. The family has lived in Oregon for quite some time. The student attends college in another state and then transfers to Oregon.
If the student remained a dependent on the family in Oregon they would be an Oregon resident. If the student was no longer a dependent student but never relinquished their Oregon residency, they may still qualify as a resident.
A student graduates from an Oregon high school, attends college in another state, and stays in that state after graduation in order to take a job. After several years, they return to Oregon to attend graduate school.
The student must re-establish Oregon residency. Just as it takes a year to establish residency, if a person is gone for a year or more and has taken a job in another state, they have lost their Oregon residency.
A student graduates from a non-Oregon high school, moves to Oregon to live with a grandparent or other relative, and claims Oregon residency.
The student is only a resident if the relative residing in Oregon has legal custody of the student. Simply moving in with a relative in Oregon does not establish residency.
A non-resident student marries an Oregon resident, then applies for residency.
Marrying an Oregon resident in no way affects residency status. This person must qualify solely on their own merits.
A person moves to Oregon to live with their significant other. They immediately begin going to college and a year later they apply for residency.
As with a married person, they would need to establish residency on their own.
A person joins the military from Oregon as an Oregon resident and applies to SOU after being discharged some years later.
The law requires ex-military members who were Oregon residents to return to Oregon within 60 days of discharge to retain residency. After 60 days the person must re-establish residency.
A person applies for residency but has little if any documentation. They have been camping, bunking with friends, and just hanging out. They do odd jobs for “under the table” money. They may or may not have an Oregon driver’s license or ID card. They may only have an Oregon Health Plan card.
Residency rules are not intended to penalize someone if the person is houseless. However, the person must provide sufficient objective documentation to substantiate being in Oregon for at least 12 months.
A student attends SOU as a non-resident, graduates, obtains employment within Oregon, and several years later, applies to an SOU graduate program.
This student is now a resident, but because they first attended SOU as a non-resident, they must apply for and document their claim to residency.
Domicile – A person’s true, fixed, and permanent home and place of habitation. It is the place where a person intends to remain and to which the person expects to return when the person leaves without intending to establish a new domicile elsewhere. In order to establish a domicile in Oregon, a person must maintain a predominant physical presence in Oregon for 12 consecutive months after moving to the state.
Financially Independent Person – A person who, at the time of application for residency status:
(a) declares himself or herself to be financially independent;
(b) has not been claimed as a dependent during the immediately preceding tax year, and will not be claimed as a dependent during the current tax year, on the federal or state income tax returns of any other person; and
(c) has not received in the immediately preceding calendar year, and will not receive during the current calendar year, one-half or more of his or her support, in cash or in kind, from another person or persons, except for support received from his or her spouse.
Financially Dependent Person – A person who, at the time of application for residency status:
(a) declares himself or herself to be financially dependent; and
(b) has been claimed as a dependent on the federal and state income tax returns of another person during the immediately preceding tax year.
Objective Evidence – Tangible documentation to support the conduct and history of the applicant’s establishment as an Oregon resident. Examples of this type of evidence include, but are not limited to, payment of Oregon income taxes, rental agreements or home purchase agreements, Oregon driver’s license, Oregon voter’s registration card, Oregon employment records, and Oregon automobile registration.
Resident for Tuition Purposes – Each state agency has its own policies governing how the state determines a person to be a resident of the state. A person could be considered a resident of Oregon but not be a resident for tuition purposes, and a person does not have to be a resident of another state to be denied Oregon residency for tuition purposes. The policies for determining residency for tuition purposes are outlined on this page.
For further questions or clarification please contact the SOU Residency Officer at email@example.com .