Residency Classification

Determination of Residency for Tuition Purposes

How do I qualify as an in-state resident for tuition purposes? Residency for tuition purposes is defined and solely controlled by regulations of the Board of Governors of the State System of Higher Education. In order to qualify under the regulations, an individual must be able to demonstrate an established intent to reside permanently or indefinitely in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There are numerous factors that may be considered in determining whether or not an individual has this appropriate intent.  

What does "domicile" mean?  "Domicile" is a legal term that is defined as the place where an individual intends to remain and live permanently or indefinitely. It is the place where a person intends to return to after any absence. A person may live in a place for temporary purposes, such as a vacation or attending college. Once the goal of the temporary purpose is accomplished, however, the person does not intend to remain in that place. Since the person's presence is only for temporary reasons, the individual cannot be considered an in-state resident for tuition purposes.  

How can I show that I intend to live in Pennsylvania either permanently or indefinitely?  Because the intent to reside in-state is subjective, only you can know your true intent. Your actions and conduct, however, can demonstrate to others whether you possess such intent. You alone have the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that you possess the requisite intent to reside in Pennsylvania either permanently or indefinitely. Based upon the evidence that you submit or that may otherwise be available, a university administrator or committee will decide whether it is more likely than not that you intend to remain in Pennsylvania on a permanent or indefinite basis. Your overall conduct and actions will be reviewed and no single factor can demonstrate the appropriate intent to remain living in state.   

A decision will be made by looking at your total circumstances as to whether your conduct and actions show that you are not merely living in Pennsylvania for the temporary purpose of attending college. There is no checklist of conduct or actions that will automatically result in anyone being reclassified as an in-state resident. In an application for classification, you will, however, be asked a number of questions. The items of information requested are not equally demonstrative of one's intent to reside in Pennsylvania. Certain actions can be easily taken, although a person only intends to temporarily reside in Pennsylvania. Thus, it will be the quality and not the quantity of information you submit that will lead to a determination. 

Among the information you will be requested to submit for review is the following:

  • Do you have financial aid based upon maintaining a residency in a state other than Pennsylvania?
  • Do you lease or own a permanent, independent residence in Pennsylvania?
  • Do you pay Pennsylvania and local taxes, particularly during temporary absences from the state?

For additional information, please contact Ms. Sarah Stone by phone at 610-683-4729, or send an email to:

Link to additional information for out-of-state students