Residency

In-State Tuition for Washington State Residents

To pay resident tuition for your SPSCC classes, you must:

  • be a U.S. citizen, have a U.S. permanent resident card, or hold a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, I, K, L, U, or T) or refugee-parolee status
  • hold a current and valid Employment Authorization Card issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
  • have current or previously approved Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status
  • qualify under House Bill 1079 or Exceptions listed below

AND

  • have lived in Washington primarily for purposes other than education for the year before classification as residents (see information below regarding establishing and changing residency)
Establishing and Changing Residency

Establishing residency:
To establish domicile in the state of Washington, students must provide documentation showing they meet the following guidelines:

  1. Students must prove conclusively that they have not come to Washington State primarily for educational purposes. Current guidelines require students who are enrolled for 7 credits or more a quarter must be employed at least 30 hours per week at a non-student job to overcome the presumption of educational purposes.
  2. Live in the state for at least 12 consecutive months as legal residents. A legal resident is an individual who has relinquished all valid legal ties (e.g., driver's license, voter registration, etc.) with their former state of residence and established such ties in Washington in accordance with state and local legislation.
  3. Establish legal ties:
    • Employment (if taking 7 or more credits a quarter during the first year of being present in Washington State).
    • Driver's license/state ID. Students must obtain a Washington State Driver’s License within 30 days of arrival if they have a current out-of-state driver's license. Students who do not possess a driver's license from any state, must obtain a Washington State Identification Card.
    • Vehicle registration. Students who own or drive a vehicle in Washington must be registered in Washington within 30 days of arrival.
    • Voter registration. Students who have a current out-of-state voter's registration must register to vote in Washington within 30 days of arrival. If an individual has previously registered to vote in another state, they must register to vote in Washington. If the student does not register to vote in Washington, this means that s/he may still vote absentee in the prior state of residency
    • Establish a bank account in Washington.
    • Be financially independent for the current and prior calendar years. (Students who are not 25 years of age or older must submit their parents' most recent tax returns).

Once the individual is in full compliance with all of Washington's requirements for residency, then s/he, has established domicile. Once domicile is established, the student is eligible for in-state tuition 12 months from the date of arrival if all legal ties were are in place. Washington statute says that domicile must be in existence for one year immediately prior to the first day of the quarter for which the student wants to be classified as a resident.

Examples of other factors that may help students establish proof of domicile include: disposition of property in the former state of residence, relocation of household members, participation in local community organizations, and generally becoming involved in activities that will help prove their intent to make Washington their official place of residence.

Changing residency:
To apply for a change in residency classification:

  • Complete and print the Residence Questionnaire.
  • Return the completed original Residency Questionnaire (we cannot accept photocopies or faxes) to the Student Services One-Stop along with original supporting documents (copies of original documents will be made by the staff at our office; copies made by students are not acceptable).
  • To be effective for the current quarter, the deadline to submit the Residency Questionnaire and/or all required documentation is the 30th calendar day of the quarter. For questionnaires and/or documentation submitted after the 30th calendar day of the current quarter, approved residency changes will not take effect until the next quarter.

Please note: Once the application and its contents have been submitted, it becomes the property of South Puget Sound Community College and will not be returned to students. The College keeps the documentation in a high security vault for 7 years (for records and auditing purposes) and destroys the files after that time period. It is suggested students make copies for themselves in case they need it for future references.

Residency for Independent vs. Dependent Students

Residency for financially dependent students:
If you are financially dependent upon your parents or legal guardians, you must provide documentation to prove your parents/legal guardians have established a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington. You must also provide documentation to show that you are a dependent who is claimed by the parents/legal guardians on their most recent U.S. Federal Income Tax return.

If your parents or legal guardians are either divorced or legally separated, you may be classified as residents if:

  • You are claimed as a dependent on the most recent U.S. Federal Income Tax return by one of your parents/legal guardians.
  • At least one of your parents or legal guardian has established a bona fide domicile in the State of Washington. You and your parents/legal guardians both need to fill out the Residence Questionnaire and all of the documentation required should be from your parent/legal guardian.

Residency for financially independent students:
If you are younger than 25 and financially independent, you must establish a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington if your parents or court-appointed legal guardians do not reside in Washington. You must provide documentation showing independent status along with your Residence Questionnaire and submitting:

  • Your parents' most recent tax return (limited to the first page showing dependents claimed and the signature page).
  • Verification of year-to-date earnings (your most recent pay stub with year-to-date earnings listed). Students may be requested to submit their most recent tax return to establish financial independence. (If you did not file a tax return, you should complete the Residency Income and Expense Report.)

Note: A married student applying for residency status should apply as a financially independent student. See Establishing a Bona Fide Domicile for more information.

Residency for American Indians

American Indian students who meet the following two conditions are eligible to pay resident tuition at colleges and universities in Washington State:

  • For a period of one year immediately prior to enrollment at a state institution of higher education, you must have been domiciled in one or a combination of the following states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington.
  • You must be a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe, as determined under Title 25 of the Code of Federal Regulations (25CFR), whose traditional and customary tribal boundaries included portions of the state of Washington or whose tribe was granted reserved lands within the state of Washington.

If you qualify under these conditions, please complete the Resident Tuition for American Indian Students form.

Residency for Military Personnel

Active Duty Members Stationed in Washington:
To apply for residency for tuition as active duty military members or as a member's spouse or dependents, you must:

  • Complete and print the Non-Resident Waiver Request form for Active Duty Military personnel or dependents living in Washington.
  • Return the original, completed Non-Resident Waiver Request form (we DO NOT accept photocopies or faxes) to our office along with the supporting documentation (i.e., your military ID and orders to be stationed in Washington).

Washington National Guard Members:
To apply for residency for tuition as Washington National Guard members or as a member's spouse or dependents, you must:

  • Complete and print the Non-Resident Waiver Request form for Active Duty Military personnel or dependents living in Washington.
  • Return the completed, original Non-Resident Waiver Request form (we DO NOT accept photocopies or faxes) to our office along with the supporting documentation.

Discharged Members:
To apply as discharged member who now lives in Washington, you must:

  • Submit your DD-214 (member 4 page) showing length of service, discharge date, and type of discharge, and Certificate of Eligibility Letter.
  • Provide verification that you have located to Washington within 3 years of discharge.

Washington Members Stationed Elsewhere:
To apply as members (or dependents) who are from Washington, but stationed in another state or overseas, you must:

  • Complete and print the Residency Questionnaire.
  • Provide documentation of your (or, the active duty military member's) home of record (L.E.S. - Leave and Earnings Statement).
  • Submit documentation that you are maintaining your Washington legal ties while being stationed elsewhere. You need at least three of the following:
    • driver's license
    • voter's registration
    • vehicle registration
    • bank account
    • property ownership
Residents Absent from the State

Absence due to military/civil service:
Washington residents who enter military/civil service while domiciled in Washington, or persons who establish a domicile while stationed here for a period of at least one year, will remain residents while stationed outside of Washington if they return within one year of discharge/end of service with the intent to be domiciled in Washington. Please see our military personnel page for information.

Absence for educational purposes only:
Students who are Washington residents and have been out of Washington to attend an out-of-state college or university, need to submit a completed Residence Questionnaire to our office along with the following additional documentation:

  • Verification that they resided in Washington for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state to attend school.
  • Verification from the out-of-state college or university that they were enrolled as a nonresident and paid nonresident tuition. (If you were enrolled in a private school, provide verification of enrollment.)
  • Proof that they maintained all ties with Washington (such as driver's license, vehicle registration, bank accounts, voter's registration, property, etc.) and did not take steps to establish a domicile in another state
In-State Tuition through House Bill 1079

Students may be eligible to pay resident tuition rates if they meet all of the following 3 criteria:

  • Received a diploma from a Washington high school or the equivalent of a diploma in Washington State.
  • Lived in Washington for at least 3 calendar years (not school years) prior to receiving their diploma or its equivalent.
  • Continuously resided in Washington since receiving the high school diploma or its equivalent.

Students who meet all of the above criteria are required to provide a completed Washington Higher Education Residency Affidavit to the Admissions Office verifying they will file an application to become a U.S. Permanent Resident at the earliest opportunity.

Tuition Reciprocity for Out-of-State Students

SPSCC does not currently have reciprocity agreements with neighboring states.