Students who are California residents pay in-state tuition of $46 per unit, whereas students who are non-residents pay out-of-state tuition of $353 per unit. (Note: Tuition fees are for the 2020-21 academic year.) Community college enrollment fees are set by the California State Legislature. All fees are subject to change.
The term "California resident" for fee purposes may differ from other definitions of California residency. A person who has a California driver's license and/or vehicle registration or who is a California resident for tax, voting, or welfare purposes may have established legal residence in the state but not necessarily be considered a resident for fee purposes.
To be eligible for California residency, a student must do the following:
The following visa status holders cannot establish residency regardless of the length of time in California: B-1, B-2, C, D-1, D-2, F-1, F-2, H-2, H-3, J-1, J-2, M-1, M-2, O-2, P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, Q, and TN/TD.
If you are the holder of one of these types of visas – but you have filed for a change of status – then you may submit a request for residency reclassification. Your residency determination date is based on the date of your application of change of status. Make sure to include a copy of the Notice of Action from INS for the status adjustment.
Verify physical presence in California for at least one year and one day prior to the first day of the semester.
The first day of the semester is the residency determination date. Living in California for 12 months does not automatically qualify you for in-state tuition fees.
Under California law, if you moved to California primarily to attend a California college, then you are not eligible for in-state tuition fees.
You must prove through official and/or legal documents that you have moved to California permanently and are not just living in California temporarily while you attend college, however long your course of study takes.
Students under 19 years of age and unmarried typically derive California residency from their parents. The parents must meet the eligibility requirements and provide documentation demonstrating physical presence in California and intent to make California their permanent residence. Note: Students older than 19 usually do not derive residency from a parent.
Alternatively, students seeking reclassification from non-resident to resident status can show financial independence from any non-resident parent or guardian according to guidelines set forth by the State of California.
To establish financial independence, a student seeking reclassification must show the extent to which they have met the following criteria for the current and each of the immediately preceding three (3) calendar years:
- The student has not been claimed as an exemption for state or federal tax purposes by their non-resident parents.
- The student has not received more than $750 from their non-resident parents.
- The student has not lived in the home of their non-resident parents for more than six weeks in any given year.
Failure to satisfy all the financial independence criteria for the entire period will not necessarily result in classification as a non-resident if the showing of one year’s presence and intent is sufficiently strong. However, failure to satisfy all three financial independence criteria for the current and immediately preceding calendar years will normally result in classification as a non-resident, since financial independence is of greater significance for those years.
Financial independence, or want of it, for the second and third calendar years immediately preceding the year in which reclassification is requested will be considered together with all other relevant factors in determining intent, with no special weight attached to the financial independence factor. Evidence of financial independence may be presented in the form of:
- Affidavits signed by student and parent indicating the extent to which the three criteria listed above have been met
- Copies of the federal and state income tax returns filed by student and/or parent for the current and any applicable preceding calendar years
Learn about exemptions and special considerations.
How to Apply for Reclassification of Residency
We encourage students to start the residency reclassification process before they sign up for classes. If you don't pay your fees on time because you are trying to get in-state tuition, then you may be dropped from your classes.
California regulations allow students who meet certain criteria to pay California resident fee rates even if they have not met the requirements of physical presence and intent to be a resident. To be considered under any of the following special provisions, you must meet the criteria listed.
Students who attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated or received a GED or certificate of completion may qualify for the AB 540, AB 200, or SB 68 non-resident tuition exemption. Additional factors such as community college, elementary, middle, and adult school attendance in California may be considered in some circumstances.
If you meet this exemption, then submit the following form instead of instead of the Residency Reclassification Application:
If you were admitted to the US under a Special Immigration Visa or as a refugee and you settled in California less than one year from the residency determination date, then you are eligible for exemption from paying the non-resident tuition fee for the length of time you live in California up to the minimum time necessary to become a resident. After this period has expired, recipients will be considered non-residents for tuition purposes and may attend as non-residents or request residency reclassification.
If you meet this exemption, then submit the following form instead of the Residency Reclassification Application:
Two Year Care and Control
Education Code, 68073; Title 5, 54047
If, immediately prior to enrolling at the college, you lived with and have been under the direct care and control of any adult(s), other than a parent, for a period of at least two years, provided that the adult(s) having control have been domiciled in California during the year immediately prior to the residence determination date, please provide evidence of both the following:
- A statement form the adult(s) showing that you have lived with him/her and have been under his/her continuous direct care for more than two years
- Evidence that the adult has California residence for more than one year prior to the residence determination date.
Adult Dependent of a California Resident
Education Code, 68076; Title 5, 54047
If you have not been an adult resident of California for more than one year and either of the following are true, then provide documentation of your parent's California residency:
- You are the dependent child of a California resident who has had residence in California for more than one year
- You have a parent who has both contributed court-ordered support for you on a continuous basis and has been a California resident for at least one year
Education Code, 68071; Title 5, 54040
If you are under 19 years of age and have supported yourself financially for at least one year and a day, then please provide both of the following:
- W-2 forms or other documentation showing your earnings for the past year
- A written statement showing your expenses during the past year
Note: To claim this status, you must have been physically present in California for the past year.
Minor Remaining in California
Education Code, 68070
If you are a minor whose California resident parent(s) moved from California to establish residence elsewhere within one year prior to the residence determination date, and you have remained in California, then please provide all of the following:
- Evidence your parent(s) lived in California at least one year prior to leaving
- Evidence parent(s) left California to establish residence elsewhere within one year of the resident determination date
- Evidence you are under age nineteen and are in the process of becoming a California resident
Current and Former Foster Youth
Education Code, 68730
If you are or have recently been a foster care youth (ward or dependent of the State of California), then please provide documentation showing this relationship. You must be 24 years old or younger to qualify.
Member of the US Military on Active Duty in California or Maintaining Domicile in California
Education Code, 68075; Title 5, 54042
If you are a member of the United States Military (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, or Coast Guard) assigned to active duty for more than 30 days, then please provide one of the following:
- Evidence of the date of assignment to California on active duty status
- Documentation that you are assigned to active duty in any location and maintain your primary home in California
Note: Members of the National Guard are not eligible for this exemption.
Spouse or Dependent Child of Member of the Military Stationed in California or Maintaining Domicile in California
Education Code, 68074; Title 5, 54041
If you are the spouse or dependent child of a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is stationed in California, then please provide all of the following:
- Proof that the military member has been assigned to active duty for more than 30 days
- Documentation of the military member’s assignment to active duty in California or proof of that the military member’s primary home is in California
- Evidence that you are the spouse of the military member or a dependent child for federal tax purposes
Discharged Member of the US Military Remaining in California
Education Code, 68075.5; Title 5, 54041
If you were a member of the United States Military who was stationed in California for more than one year immediately prior to being discharged and you have remained in California for less than a year and one day, then please provide a copy of your Military Discharge Form. You may be temporarily classified as a California Resident for up to one year, but will need to provide evidence of intent to establish California residency at the end of the one-year waiting period to maintain your residency status.
Graduate of a School in California Operated by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs
Education Code, 68082
If you graduated from a school operated by the US Bureau of Indian Affairs that is located in California, then please provide a copy of your diploma.
Employee (or the Spouse or Child of an Employee) of a California State Agency Assigned to Work Outside of California
Education Code, 68079
If you, your parent, or your spouse is employed full-time by a California state agency and is assigned to work outside of California, then please provide both of the following:
- Proof of employment
- Proof of assignment outside of California
Employee (or the Spouse or Child of an Employee) of a California Community College, California State University or Colleges, University of California, or California Maritime Academy
Education Code, 68079
If you, your parent, or your spouse is employed full-time by one of the California institutions listed above, then please provide the following:
- Proof of employment
- Proof of assignment outside of California
In the Process of Being Classified as a Peace Officer and are Enrolled in Los Rios Police Academy Training Courses
Education Code, 76140.5
If you are currently enrolled in police academy training courses and a public agency intends to classify you as a police officer upon successful completion of the courses, then please provide evidence that the public agency intends to classify you as a peace officer.
Agricultural Laborer for Hire or Child of an Agricultural Laborer
Education Code, 68100; Title 5, 54048
If you or your parent is seasonally employed in connection with production of agricultural crops including seeding, thinning, and harvesting, then please provide the following:
- Evidence that you or your parent earned a livelihood by performing agricultural labor in California for at least two months during each of the preceding two years
- Dependents only: Evidence that your parent lives within the district and proof that your parent claims you as a dependent on his or her income tax forms
Public School Employee with a Valid Credential or Emergency Permit
Education Code, 68078; Title 5, 54046
If you are employed by a school district in a full-time position and hold a valid credential or valid emergency permit and are enrolled in courses to meet credential requirements, then please provide both of the following:
- Copy of your credential or emergency permit
- Statement from your employer that you are employed in a fulltime position requiring certification qualifications
Surviving Dependent of Any Individual Killed in the September 11 Terrorist Attacks
Education Code, 68121
If you are a surviving dependent of an individual killed in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, then please provide a copy of your written notice of eligibility for a tuition/fee waiver by the California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board.
California Residence Requirements for Minors
The residence of a minor (a person under 18 years of age) is determined in accordance with the following, per California Education Code and Title 5:
- The residence of the parent (natural or legally adoptive ) with whom an unmarried minor lives is the residence of that minor, regardless of the length of time the minor has resided with that parent. This rule applies equally to a minor whose parents have permanently separated.
- A married minor may establish their own residence. A minor who has married but thereafter divorced retains the capacity to establish their own residence. A minor whose marriage has been annulled must be treated as an unmarried minor since, for all intents and purposes, a marriage has not occurred.
- If the minor lives alone, they take the residence status of the parent with whom they last lived.
- If both parents are deceased and there is no court-appointed guardian, then the minor may establish residence as though they were an adult.
- The residence of an unmarried minor who has a living parent cannot be changed by the minor's own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by relinquishment of a parent's right of control.
- A student who has been adult for less than a full year (is under 19 years of age) may under certain circumstances combine the immediate pre-majority derived California residence with the immediate post-majority California residence to satisfy the one year necessary for residency classification.
Financial hardship cannot be considered in evaluating California residency for the purpose of in-state fee eligibility.
Residency Status of a Spouse or Domestic Partner
A student cannot derive residency status from their spouse or domestic partner.