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Residency Status

For assistance with determining residency status call: (509) 533-3520

Criteria for Resident Status

To be classified as a resident for tuition and fee purposes, a student must either:
  • be financially independent and have established a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington for other than primarily educational purposes for one year immediately prior to the first day of the academic quarter. -OR-
  • be financially dependent and have one or both parents domiciled in the state of Washington for a period of one year immediately prior to the first day of the academic quarter.

All other students are classified non-resident (with waiver) and are required to pay the non-resident (with waiver) tuition and fees.

Change of Residency Status

Are you a Washington resident who has been out of Washington State for educational purposes only? You may qualify for a change of residency status. Apply for change of status as soon as possible, as tuition and fees are due by the payment due date. If your application is submitted during the first 30 days of the quarter and your classification is changed from non-resident to resident, SFCC will refund the difference between resident and non-resident fees.

If you are a Washington resident who has been out of Washington to attend an out-of-state college or university, submit a Residence Questionnaire together with the following:

  1. Verification that you resided in Washington for a minimum of one year prior to leaving the state to attend school.
  2. Verification from the out-of-state college or university that you were enrolled as a non-resident and paid non-resident tuition. If enrolled in a private school, provide verification of enrollment.
  3. Proof that you maintained all ties with Washington and that you did not take steps to establish a domicile in another state. Supporting documentation may includea driver's license, vehicle registration, bank accounts, voter's registration, property ownership, or personal belongings.

Independent Residency Requirements

  1. A person must physically reside in the state of Washington primarily for purposes other than educational for the 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the quarter of application. (You may be a student during the 12 months of establishing residency, as long as you meet all residence requirements outlined below.)
  2. For a student to be considered independent of parents for residency purposes, the student:
    • cannot be claimed as a dependent by parents for the current and prior calendar year.
    • must be financially self-supporting for the current and prior calendar year.
    • Note: Any student who lived at a parent's home during his or her senior year of high school may not count that year for independent status.
  3. The following documents will assist in the determination of residency status:
    1. Verification of your financially independent status for the current calendar year and the prior calendar year (for example, tax return for the most recent tax year, W-2 forms, financial aid award letters, irrevocable trust funds with documentation that you are withdrawing funds from the trust, or paycheck stubs showing year-to-date income). You must show your plan for continuing to independently finance your education.
    2. A copy of your parent's federal tax return for the most recent tax year (top portion listing dependents claimed). This is only required if you are 24 years of age or younger.
    3. Copies of rent receipts, lease agreement, letter from landlord, canceled rent checks or home purchase agreement verifying physical residence in Washington for the 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of the quarter of application.
    4. Proof of any permanent full-time or part-time employment in Washington during the one year prior to the quarter of application.
    5. A copy of Washington State driver's license if you drive. license should be acquired upon moving to this state or at least one year prior to the quarter of application. You may not wait until the expiration date on an out-of-state license. If you do not drive, provide a copy of your Washington State identification card.
    6. A copy of Washington State vehicle registration if you own or drive a vehicle for the one year prior to the quarter of application. A copy of your title will not suffice.
    7. A copy of Washington voter registration for the one year prior to the quarter of application.
    8. Proof of having established a bank account in Washington and any other documents you may have to show that you have established other "ties" with Washington for the one year prior to the quarter of application (clubs, organizations, etc.)
    9. If you are not a U.S. citizen but hold permanent resident immigration status, temporary resident status, or Refugee status, attach a copy of both sides of your Resident Alien Card, Form I-94, Temporary Resident card or other verification of your status with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). (A person holding immigrant status may apply for a change in residence classification one year after application for the qualifying visa.)

Establishing residency if you are financially dependent on parents

  1. For a student to apply for residency as a dependent, one or both of the student's parents or court-appointed legal guardians must have physically resided in the state of Washington for the 12 consecutive months prior to the quarter for which the student is applying for a change of status.
  2. The student must be identified as a dependent on the most recent federal income tax return of the parents or court-appointed legal guardian.
    NOTE: If parents are separated, student can be claimed as a dependent by either parent, as long as one parent has resided in Washington for one year prior to the quarter of application and has established a domicile.
  3. The student completes Section 1 and 2 of the questionnaire, parent or legal guardian completes Section 3 and submits the following documentation showing his or her ties with Washington for a minimum of one year:
    1. A copy of parent's most recent federal tax return identifying the applicant as a dependent (top portion only listing dependents claimed).
    2. A copy of parent's rent receipts, lease, or home purchase agreement covering the 12 consecutive months prior to the quarter of application.
    3. A copy of parent's Washington State motor vehicle registration, and Washington driver's license.
    4. A copy of parent's Washington State voter registration.
    5. If parents or legal guardians are not U.S. citizens but hold permanent or temporary resident status, or Refugee status, attach a copy of both sides of parent's Resident Alien Card, Form I-94, Temporary Resident Card, or other verification of their status with Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

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