Frequently Asked Questions

COMMON CLASSIFICATION QUESTIONS

Q. Who sets the rules and procedures for considering individuals as "in-state" students for tuition purposes?

A. The tuition law is the basis for considering individuals as "in-state" for tuition purposes. The law authorizes the tuition classification officer at each institution to make the tuition classification decision.

Q. How long must I live in Colorado before I can be considered "in-state" for tuition purposes?

A. By law, an "in-state" student, or student's parents, must be domiciled in Colorado for 12 or more continuous months immediately preceding the first day of classes.

Q. What is domicile?

A. View Definition Here

Q. How old must I be to establish my domicile in Colorado?

A. According to the tuition law, there are three possible situations:

  1. Individuals at least 22 years of age are eligible to establish domicile in Colorado. Physical presence and intent must be established for 12 months prior to the first day of classes. Thus, an individual will meet the requirements of the law no sooner than his/her 23rd birthday.
  2. Individuals under 23 years of age with parents or legal guardians who have established domicile for 12 months prior to the first day of classes could be considered "in-state" for tuition purposes.
  3. Students emancipated prior to the age of 22 are eligible to establish domicile.

Q. What is emancipation?

A. Emancipation is the parental surrender of claim to right of care and custody of a minor.

According to the tuition law, emancipation occurs at the age of 22 years, or upon marriage, or if:

  1. The parents or legal guardians submit an affidavit surrendering any claim or right to the care, custody, and earnings of the minor, as well as the duty to support the minor, together with proof that the minor can independently meet all living expenses, including the cost of education; and
  2. Failure of parents or legal guardians to provide financial support and proof that the minor can independently meet all living expenses, including the cost of education.

The 12 month waiting period for establishing domicile begins only after the date of emancipation has been established by appropriate documentation.

Q. Who can be considered a legal guardian?

A. A legal guardian is defined as someone appointed by the court with personal and financial responsibility for a minor. The tuition law also requires the court document reflecting the appointment to state that the appointment is not for tuition purposes and to certify that parents do not contribute to the minor's support.

Q. What is physical presence?

A. Physical presence refers to the place where a person lives. A person can have only one legal residence which can be considered as physical presence for tuition classification purposes. An individual can establish proof of physical presence by providing rent receipts, lease agreements, home ownership papers, or statements from landlords.

Q. What is intent?

A. Establishing a new domicile requires physical presence in a place with the simultaneous intent to make that place one's permanent home. This domiciliary intent is the intention to remain in that place, on a permanent basis, without the intent to return to one's previous domicile. It is the present intent to make a permanent home in the new location, not the intent to reside in the future. Therefore, temporary or preliminary visits do not establish a new domicile, regardless of whether a person acquires certain characteristics of Colorado domicile, such as a driver's license or property ownership. The tuition law lists several factors which can be used to determine that intent has been established. No one factor by itself is sufficient to measure intent. Each institution must make that determination based on the information provided by the individual. It is the responsibility of the individual to provide as much information and documentation as appropriate to document intent. Several factors which will be considered are:

  • payment of Colorado state income tax as a resident
  • permanent, full-time, off-campus employment
  • withholding of Colorado state taxes from wages
  • obtaining a Colorado Motor Vehicle Operator's License or a valid Colorado ID for identification purposes
  • obtaining Colorado license plates
  • registering to vote in Colorado
  • ownership of residential real property in Colorado
  • any other factors which are peculiar to the individual which tend to establish intent to make Colorado one's permanent home.
There is no one set of criteria that is applied every individual. You are expected to take appropriate action on all factors relevant in your circumstances. It is the responsibility of the individual to document peculiar circumstances.

Q. If I marry a Colorado resident or live with a relative who is a Colorado resident, am I considered an "in-state" student?

A. No. Each individual must establish his/her own domicile as prescribed by the tuition law.

Q. Are there special circumstances for military personnel?

A. Yes. Active-duty military personnel and their family members permanently stationed in Colorado, as defined by military regulations, can qualify for an adjustment of the "out-of-state" portion of their tuition. These individuals should contact the Education Officer at the installation where they are assigned for further information. Military personnel who wish to become permanent Colorado residents may establish their "in-state" status by proving intent according to the tuition law. For More Information...

Q. What if my parents are divorced and only one lives in Colorado?

A. If one of the student's parents has established domicile in Colorado, that unemancipated student can be considered in-state.

Q. Is the tuition classification decision at one institution transferable to another institution?

A. No. You must petition separately at each institution. Each institution must have appropriate documentation to support its classification decision.

Q. Can I establish "in-state" status while a student?

A. Yes, but the mere fact that you are a student, part-time or full-time, is not alone sufficient evidence to consider you an "in-state" student. You must still demonstrate your physical presence and intent before you can be considered "in-state."

Q. May I leave the state for vacations or summer work while establishing my "in-state" status?

A. Yes, but you must maintain the Colorado connections you have established, such as claiming any income as Colorado income for tax purposes. Any interruption or change in these connections could reverse the original classification and cause you to reestablish your domicile upon returning to Colorado. You should check with the institutional tuition classification officer before you leave the state.

Q. Is there any consideration given for a minor whose parents have lived in Colorado for a number of years and established "in-state" status, but who moved out of state during the minor's senior year in high school?

A. Yes. A minor who remains in Colorado may be considered "in-state" for tuition purposes if parents can provide evidence of Colorado domicile for the immediately preceding four years. If the parents or legal guardians leave the state after a minor's junior year of high school, the minor may still be considered "in-state" if he or she enrolls in a Colorado postsecondary institution within 42 months of the parents' move, or maintains a Colorado domicile and complies with the other provisions of the statute.

Q. Are non-U.S. citizens capable of establishing "in-state" classification?

A. Non-U.S. citizens may qualify for in-state classification when they have been granted the status of lawful permanent resident by the U.S. Immigration Service and are physically present in Colorado for 12 continuous months or if they are otherwise lawfully present in the United States.

Generally, time in Colorado during which a person has student immigration status, such as F1 or J1, cannot be included in the one-year period. Unemancipated minors with student immigration status may qualify through their parents so long as the parents do not have student visas.

Q. What if I disagree with a tuition classification decision?

A. Each institution has an established procedure. There are reasonable deadlines and procedures which an individual must follow. There is no central state office or agency which is involved in the appeal process. The decision made by the institution during the appeal process is final.

Q. What organizations as an active duty member in the United States armed forces are eligible for in-state tuition?

A. United States Army, United States Navy, United States Air force, United States Marine Corps, United States Coast Guard

Q. As an active-duty member of the United States armed forces how may I receive in-state tuition status?

A. A member of the armed forces is eligible for in-state status if the member is domiciled in Colorado for twelve continuous months prior to enlistment and returns to Colorado within six months following discharge from the military. A member of the armed forces shall be eligible to obtain in-state status, notwithstanding the length of his or her residency, upon moving to Colorado on a permanent change-of-station basis. However, such in-state status shall not apply to members of the armed forces of the United States who attend education programs on military bases.

Q. As an active-duty member of the United States armed forces are my dependents able to obtain in-state tuition status?

A. A member of the armed forces may also apply for in-state tuition classification for any of his or her dependents. A dependent of a member of the armed forces of the United States on active duty shall not lose the dependent's in-state tuition status if the member is transferred outside of Colorado. A person who is a dependent of a member of the armed forces of the United States who was on active duty in Colorado during the person's last year of high school, and who attends a public institution of higher education in Colorado within twelve months after graduating for a high school in Colorado is also eligible.

 

NOTE: This information is intended to give an overview of the tuition classification process in Colorado.
All questions about a specific circumstance or practices of a particular college or university should be directed to that institution.