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, plus nonresident tuition (totaling $272 per unit) plus a $10 per unit capital outlay fee.
To qualify as a resident, the student must meet the following requirements:
- A U.S. citizen, permanent resident or hold a valid visa which allows to residency to be established
- 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
- Has lived in California continuously for at least one year and one day, prior to the term applied to be reclassified for, and can prove they intent to make California their permanent home
If the student was born outside of the United States, they must have met the above
mentioned requirements, along with USCIS documentation (notice of action) that is
dated at least one year and one day before the first day of classes for the term they
plan to attend.
If student is under 19 years of age, residency is derived from their parent or legal guardian.
Did you graduate from a California High School?
AB 540 allows for California nonresidents who have attended at least 3 year AND graduated from a California high school to qualify for the non-resident tuition exemption. Please see the link below:
For more information on residency, please contact the Admissions and Records Office at (707) 864-7171.
Process for 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 the intent to establish California as their permanent residence.
Each student at the time of admission or readmission will be classified according to his/her legal residence.
All immigration documentation and proof of California residency must be submitted to the Admissions and Records Office PRIOR to the start of the semester of attendance.
Residency decisions are never made at the Admissions and Records counter, or on the spot. Please allow for 7-10 business days before a residency determination decision will be made. Notification of missing documents, complete or incomplete residency packets will be made to the email address(s) that that applicant has on file.
Basic Residency Questionnaire – Under 19
All documents listed below used to establish residency must include:
- The students name (or parent’s name if student is under 19 and unmarried)
- The students physical address listed as in California (or parent’s name and address if student is under 19 and unmarried)
- Dated one year and one day prior to the start of the term that student is applying to be reclassified for
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 (CA Form 540 preferred)
- Automobile registration in California
- California driver's license/California ID card
- Voter registration in California
- Military personnel: active duty
- Bank account statements with CA address
- California license for professional practice/membership in California organizations
- Petitioner for divorce in California
- Utility bills with name of student and CA address listed
- Proof of employment (pay stubs)
- Mortgage statements
- Verification of public assistance
- Recent High School Transcript
Conduct inconsistent with a claim for California residence that would potential lead to a decision not to reclassify as a California resident for tuition purposes included, but are 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 non-residence 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.
Due to the complexity of determining residency, we reserve the right to ask for any additional documentation as may be needed on a case by case basis (To be determined by the Admissions and Records Office)
This information has been extracted from the California Education Code sections 68000 and after, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 54000-54072.