Residency Reclassification FAQs
Q: My admission letter states that I am out-of-state. I have been living in Maryland all my life. What should I do?
A: Newly admitted undergraduate students seeking a review of their initial residency determination must first contact the Office of Undergraduate Admissions at 301-314-8385 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Graduate students may contact the Residency Reclassification Services at 301-314-9596 or email@example.com.
Q: How do I request the Nonresident Exemption for Eligible Maryland High School Graduates?
A: To request a change in residency based on the Nonresident Exemption for Eligible Maryland High School Graduates, complete the University System of Maryland Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request For Eligible Maryland High School Graduates and provide the required supporting documentation listed on the form. You can submit this form along with the supporting documents in person or by mail by the first day of classes for the semester you are submitting the request.
Q: How do I apply for in-state status as a Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA)?
A: The Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals is a type of Deferred Action. First semester students must submit either a copy of their Employment Authorization card (front and back) or a copy of their I-797. In addition, the student must complete the residency information form when they apply to the University. Students must also meet all nine criteria for in-state status as defined by the USM Policy on Student Classification for Admission and Tuition Purposes. DACA students who have completed at least one semester at College Park must complete the Petition for Change in Residency Status form and submit either a copy of their Employment Authorization card (front and back) or a copy of their I-797.
Q: I am classified as out-of-state. I have read the policy and requirement for residency classification and believe I meet all the criteria. How do I request a change in residency status?
A: Students wishing to apply for a change to in-state status after their initial semester can file a petition for a change in residency classification and must provide all the required supporting documents. Download the Petition for Change in Residency Classification. The required supporting documents are listed within the body of the petition. For your convenience, refer to the Checklist.
Q: I maintain a Maryland mailing address. Is this enough to qualify me for in-state tuition?
A: No. Simply living in Maryland for 12 consecutive months or having mail delivered to you in the state does not entitle you to in-state status. A continuous physical presence in Maryland is certainly important, but it is only one of several requirements established by the Regents. Equally important, for example, are the circumstances that brought you to Maryland and the extent to which you have taken other actions which, in the judgment of the Regents, are minimally needed to demonstrate a reasonable probability you intend to remain in Maryland following graduation and benefit the community. Generally, only this narrowly defined group is granted in-state status.
Q: What are all the criteria I must fulfill for 12 months to meet the Regents definition of in-state status?
A: There are 9 criteria. They may be condensed as follows:
- Owning or renting and continuously occupying living quarters in Maryland. There must be a genuine deed or lease in the student's name. It is expected that any mortgage or rent be in sync with market rates.
- Having substantially all personal property in Maryland.
- Paying Maryland income tax.
- Registering all vehicles in Maryland.
- If licensed, possessing a valid Maryland driver's license.
- If registered, being registered to vote in Maryland.
- Receiving no public assistance from a state other than Maryland.
- Having the legal ability under law to live permanently and without interruption in Maryland.
- Rebutting the presumption that he or she is in Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution.
You must read the classification policy to learn the details of each requirement.
Q: I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. I had not previously lived in Maryland. I was admitted as an out-of-state student. Quite some time has now passed and I believe I meet all the criteria for in-state. Am I eligible to be reclassified?
A: Yes. A classification decision is based on the facts as they exist at the time you seek reclassification. However, with the passage of time, your personal, professional, and/economic circumstances may have changed. An examination of the facts in your petition for reclassification may now demonstrate you are residing in Maryland for a more complex set of reasons. For example, you may now hold a job in the community; have bought a house here; have a Maryland spouse; or have children in Maryland public schools. You should outline your reasons for living in Maryland as part of your petition for reclassification.
Q: When I applied to the University I was living in another state and until last year was claimed as a tax-dependent on my parents who are not residents of Maryland. How can I rebut this presumption that I am primarily living in Maryland for educational reasons?
A: There is no formula to rebutting this presumption, rather you must demonstrate that you intend to make Maryland your permanent home and reside in Maryland indefinitely. The policy's section entitled "Rebuttal Evidence," also provides some examples of objectively verifiable conduct upon which the University bases the decision on in-state status. It is important to note that satisfying the minimum civic requirements does not rebut the presumption that you are residing in Maryland primarily for education reasons. Rather, you must provide clear, convincing and objective evidence of your actual primary reason for living in Maryland (e.g. full-time employment, family, etc.)
Q: I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. Before college, however, I had lived my entire life in Maryland. I went to high school in Maryland. My parents have always lived in Maryland. I am financially independent, but shall live at home with them. Will I be admitted as in-state?
A: Not necessarily. Again, because you were residing in another state at the time of application, the out-of-state presumption in the classification policy is triggered. Your status will depend on your ability to assemble sufficient facts about yourself to rebut the conclusion that you are now residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending the University. Again, such things as family circumstances, personal relationships, and employment separate from the campus may also have played a role. These will be considered by the University when assessing your primary reason for residing in the state.
Q: I have read the classification policy. Except for the 12-month requirement, I meet most of the criteria for being an in-state student. I don't qualify for in-state status in any other state. So, in these circumstances won't I be granted in-state status here? After all, a person has to be in-state somewhere?
A: No. You cannot be classified in-state at Maryland by default. The formula for attaining favored tuition status is different In every state. And although classification policies across the country commonly employ the term "resident," they usually also define it differently. In fact, the policies seldom rely on traditional notions of simple "residency," meaning little more than physical presence or domicile. They present a more rigorous set of objective tests, varying in emphasis depending on the purpose and philosophy of each governing board.
Q: My employer has transferred me to Maryland. In this situation, am I still required to meet all 9 criteria for a full twelve months before qualifying for in-state status?
A: Yes. Generally, there is no advantage given persons transferred to Maryland as a condition of employment. The exception in the classification policy is for active duty members of the United States Armed Services.
Q: I have been classified as an out-of-state student and want to qualify for in-state status. Will leaving Maryland for the summer affect my eligibility?
A: Yes, leaving Maryland for the summer or during semester breaks may jeopardize your reclassification. Every case will be judged individually; however, if you regularly return to a former residence in another state it reasonably suggests you are now residing in Maryland primarily to attend the University.
Q: I pay income and property taxes to the State of Maryland. Does this entitle me to in-state status?
A: No. Paying all applicable Maryland taxes is just one of the 9 requirements necessary for In-state classification. Taken by itself, paying Maryland taxes will not qualify you for in-state status. Conversely, however, not paying all required taxes will result in an out-of-dtate classification.
Q: How important is it for me to obtain a Maryland driver's license, register my automobile in Maryland, and register to vote in Maryland?
A: These are three of the 9 requirements in the Regents' definition of an in-state student. The classification policy does not weigh the requirements differently. Satisfying each of the 9 is equally important; neglecting any is potentially disqualifying.
If you maintain a driver's license or own an automobile, it is very important that it be a Maryland license or registration. If before coming to the University you maintained a license or registration in another state, it must be changed to Maryland if you wish to be granted in-state status. It needs to be changed within the time required under Maryland law. The law requires you obtain a Maryland driver's license and register your car within 60 days of moving to Maryland.
If you are registered to vote, you must change the registration to Maryland before voting again. Actively maintaining a voter's registration in another state or voting there, are inconsistent with the requirements of being considered in-state.
Q: Might my classification be affected by my finances?
A: Yes, in one situation it may. If you are financially dependent on a person not a resident of Maryland, then the classification policy presumes you are residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution. You may present evidence to rebut this presumption, but if you are not successful, you will be assigned out-of-state status.
Q: I am a graduate assistant and receive tuition remission. My bill shows I am being charged in-state tuition. Does this mean I have been given in-state status?
A: As part of the compensation package for graduate assistants, the University pays some or all of your tuition through "tuition remission." Graduate assistants receiving remission are billed tuition and fees at the in-state rate. This is just an administrative accounting transaction. It has no relevance or effect on your classification status. Your proper status was indicated on your admission letter. You will always retain that classification unless you successfully petition to have it changed through the established procedures of Residency Reclassification Services. If you were classified as out-of-state, when you no longer receive tuition remission you will be billed at that rate.
Q: Is it true some international students have in-state status?
A: No. "International students" or "foreign students", meaning citizens of another country wishing to enter the United States for the purpose of attending a university, may legally do so only with a visa. International students almost uniformly hold either an "F" or a "J" visa. These visas do not permit them to remain in this country permanently; they must leave when their enrollment ends, and sign a statement to that effect.
"International students" are not to be confused with the broader class of students who simply are not citizens of the United States. The University enrolls many resident (or "immigrant") aliens. Many have lived in the United States for a considerable period of time. They, like citizens, have the legal ability to live permanently without interruption in Maryland. They may be eligible for in-state status.
The University also enrolls many non-resident (or "non-immigrant") aliens. Non-resident aliens living in the United States must hold visas. Depending on the type of visa, a student from a foreign country may well be eligible for in-state status. To discuss whether or not your visa status potentially qualifies for in-state status, please visit Residency Reclassification Services.
Q: When and how is my in-state or out-of-state classification established?
A: Your classification is first established by the Admissions Office at the time of admission to the University and is based on information you have provided as part of the application process. If you have not provided this information, or if it is incomplete, you will be assigned out-of-state status. Once admitted to the University, you will retain this classification unless and until you file a successful Petition for Change in Classification for Admission, Tuition, and Charge Differential ("Petition for Change").
Q: I recently realized I have been paying out-of-state tuition for quite a while. I think this classification was in error. If I file a petition for change and it is granted, will I be eligible for a retroactive tuition refund?
A: No. It is your responsibility to know your classification and take timely action to challenge it if you believe it incorrect. A petition for change is granted only prospectively.
Q: What is the deadline for filing a petition for change?
A: The deadline is the first day of classes in the semester for which in-state status is sought. By that time, a complete petition for change, with all required supporting documents, must be delivered to Residency Reclassifcation Services. Incomplete petitions will not be accepted or considered.
Q: I am classified out-of-state and have filed a petition for change. Does this put a "hold" on my out-of-state tuition charge?
A: No. While your petition for change is being considered, you are responsible for paying your entire out-of-state bill on time. If your petition is granted, you will be credited with the tuition differential.
Q: I do not meet all 9 criteria needed to make me eligible for in-state status. This will cause me such financial hardship that I may not be able to enroll. I need an exception to requirements. Are they ever made in a case like mine?
A: No. The Board of Regents does not permit exceptions on account of personal financial hardship. The Board of Regents has, however, authorized an assignment of in-state status to some groups of persons regardless of the 9 criteria. Relevant to the University, these are:
- Full-time or part-time (50% time or more) regular employees of the University.
- The spouse or dependent child of the above employees.
- Certain full-time active duty members of the United States armed forces and their spouses and dependent children.
- Current active members of the Maryland National Guard.
- Certain honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
- Graduate assistants during the term of their appointment.
You must read the classification policy to learn the requirements of each exception.
The Board of Regents has also authorized the President of the University to waive any of the 9 criteria if he determines "the student is indeed in-state and the application of the criteria creates an unjust result." Waivers are rarely granted by the President. Financial hardship is not an authorized basis for a Presidential waiver.
Q: Does appealing my residency decision guarantee an approval?
A: No. At every level of the petition process, including appeals, your documentation is carefully considered. Appeals are meant for you to bring additional information that supports your case and your inability to meet the policy requirements for the requisite 12 month period. By appealing, you do not earn automatic approval for in-state status. Appeals are warranted if, and only if, a student provides sufficient documentation (as determined by appeal designates) of a rare, unforeseen and/or compelling circumstance that precludes them from meeting any or all of the policy criteria.
Q: Whom should I contact for more information?
A: You may contact Residency Reclassification Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or (301) 314-9596. You may also visit the Office in Room 1130, Mitchell Building.