How You Can Establish North Carolina Residency for Tuition Purposes

How You Can Establish North Carolina Residency for Tuition Purposes

College is expensive, and the rising costs that students face are hotly debated. President-Elect Joe Biden has even formed a committee to see if he can forgive some debt without Congressional action. But who wants to leave their financial future up to others? North Carolina already offers some help with tuition for in-state residents. Here’s what you need to know about establishing North Carolina residency for tuition purposes.

Residency Requirements

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First, you should know that residency requirements for tuition purposes come from the state. That means that they’re the same for all public colleges in North Carolina. The most basic requirement is that students need to live in North Carolina for 12 consecutive months. Of course, there is plenty of fine print.

For starters, it’s not enough to just have an address in North Carolina. You have to prove that your primary home is in North Carolina. That means that you can’t use a relative’s address, nor the residence of a parent you don’t live with. Only the parent who claims you on taxes counts for residence purposes.

Most people have unique circumstances. If you want to know more about your individual status, the state has put together an in-depth guidebook where you can easily look up your specific requirements.

Establishing North Carolina Residency

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Once you’ve figured out what you need to get residency, you need to file a request with the state. North Carolina has to establish residency for tuition purposes before colleges will grant in-state tuition. In order to do this, you need to apply at least 25 days ahead of your first semester.

You can find everything you need, and apply online, with the North Carolina RDS. This website has resources and answers to most questions. When you’re ready, you can make an account and apply right online.

Remember — the residency process can get thorny and bureaucratic. Depending on your circumstances, you may not receive NC residency for tuition purposes the first time. The good news is that you can reapply ahead of the next semester, once you’ve lived here longer and gotten documentation of your residency.

Thinking of going back to school during COVID-19? Check out our education tag. Find more about the cost of college with our college tuition tag.