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  Graduate School-New Brunswick 2005-2007 Academic Policies and Procedures Student Residency for Tuition Purposes Factors Considered in Determining Residency for Tuition Assessment  

Factors Considered in Determining Residency for Tuition Assessment

This section of the policy statement conforms to the regulations of the New Jersey Administrative Code, Volume 9A: 5-1.1-12 and 9A:9-2.6.


A student shall be classified as a resident for tuition purposes upon admission to a public institution of higher education in the state of New Jersey if the student or the parent(s)/or court-appointed legal guardian(s) (ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction prior to the time the student becomes 18 years of age) upon whom the student is dependent (See section II., C) has been domiciled within the state of New Jersey for at least one year immediately prior to enrollment.

Persons who have been domiciled within this state for less than 12 months prior to initial enrollment are presumed to be nondomiciliaries for tuition purposes. Persons presumed to be nondomiciled or persons who are presumed to be domiciled but whose domiciliary status is challenged by the institution must prove their domicile according to the following regulations.


Domicile is a legal concept defined by New Jersey law. In general terms, domicile means the place where a person has his or her true, fixed, permanent home and principal living establishment, and to which, whenever he or she is absent, he or she has the intention of returning. New Jersey domicile must be acquired prior to the beginning of the term for which you are requesting a change in residency status. Although actual presence is not necessary to preserve domicile once it has been acquired, a person, if absent from the state, must have the intention of returning to New Jersey in order to remain a domiciliary. Domicile is distinct from residence, while a person may have several residences, he or she can have only one legal domicile. Therefore, in order to establish a new domicile in New Jersey, a student [or the parent(s) or guardian(s)] must first abandon the prior domicile in which he or she previously resided and sever all legal connections to that former domicile.

In determining whether domiciliary status has been shown, mere physical presence and declaration of intent to remain in the state may not be sufficient. To assist in determining whether a person is a New Jersey domiciliary, the primary evidence is, but is not limited to, a notarized affidavit setting forth domicile and a state certified copy of a New Jersey Resident Income Tax Return or in the case of a dependent student, a state-certified copy of his or her parent's(s')/or U.S. court-appointed (prior to the student attaining age 18) legal guardian's(s') New Jersey Resident Income Tax Return. The following additional items may be considered: voter registration materials for the individual in New Jersey; a New Jersey driver's license; New Jersey motor vehicle registration; a long-term apartment/house lease or a house deed; presence of spouse and children in New Jersey; the use of a local New Jersey bank(s); and copies of monthly bills (utility, phone, etc.) addressed to the claimant. In unusual circumstances, if primary evidence is not available, the institution may make a determination of New Jersey domicile based exclusively on supplementary evidence. However, supplementary evidence may be deemed insufficient to justify a determination of domiciliary status.

Dependent/Independent Student Defined

In determining whether a student is independent, the following is considered (New Jersey Administrative Code 9A:9-2.6.).

The term independent when used with respect to a student means any individual who:

1. Is 24 years of age or older by December 31st of the award year. Documentation: birth certificate, secondary school transcript, driver's license, draft registration letter; or

2. Meets the requirements below

a. Is an orphan or ward of the court; or was a ward of the court until age 18; documentation for orphan: death certificate or a letter from a social services agency or from a respected member of the community who is unrelated to the applicant (minister, school administrator, etc.) Documentation for ward of the court: court document or a letter from DYFS or other social agency, or

3. Is a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States. Documentation: DD214; or

4. Is a graduate or graduate professional student; (not applicable for undergraduate students), or

5. Is a married individual; Documentation: marriage certificate; or

6. Has legal dependents other than a spouse; Documentation if dependent is a child: birth certificate. Documentation if dependent is other than a child: if the person was dependent on the applicant in the prior year, IRS or New Jersey Division of Taxation certified copy of the applicant's prior year tax return showing the person listed as an other dependent. If the person was not dependent on the applicant in the prior year, a document such as a driver's license, a post office address change, or a statement from the landlord or respected member of the community confirming that the person currently resides in the student's household; or

7. Is a student for whom a financial aid administrator makes a documented determination of independence by reason of other unusual circumstances as provided under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, 20 U.S.C. 1087vv, and its implementing regulations and rules. For purposes of receiving state financial assistance as an independent student due to unusual circumstances, the following conditions apply:

a. determinations of independence must satisfy all applicable federal standards set forth under Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended, and its implementing regulations and rules;

b. individual determinations of independent student status for state student aid programs shall be made in a manner consistent with the institutional policies regarding the awarding of all need-based financial aid, including federal and state aid; and

c. the institution shall share with the Office of Student Assistance any material findings or audit exceptions related to the determination of dependency status at any time they are revealed in the course of an audit or program review.

A dependent student shall be any student who does not meet any of the eligibility criteria listed above for independent student status.

The university reserves the right to request a student to have the Internal Revenue Service and/or New Jersey Division of Taxation forward tax records to the appropriate university office for review.

An individual who claims to have established a new domicile in New Jersey must show (1) a physical abandonment of the previous domicile, together with an intent not to return to it, and (2) actual presence in New Jersey with the intention of remaining permanently in the state.

An individual from another state who has enrolled in any type of educational institution in New Jersey will be presumed to be in New Jersey primarily for educational purposes and will be presumed not to have established domicile in New Jersey. Although the student may present proof to overcome these presumptions, it must be noted that continued residence in New Jersey during vacation periods or occasional periods of interruption to the course of study does not of itself overcome the presumptions. All students who are not domiciliaries of New Jersey will be assessed out-of-state tuition rates. Residency for tuition purposes is governed by New Jersey Administrative Code 9A:5-1.1 et seq. which requires that individuals must be legally domiciled in the state for 12 months before becoming eligible for in-state tuition rates. The law also permits those living in the state for less than 12 months to petition for resident status through the admissions office or the Office of the Registrar, as appropriate. Petitions for resident status will be granted only in those cases where there is clear and compelling evidence that New Jersey is the legal domicile of the student or of the parent(s) or of the U.S. court-appointed (prior to the student attaining age 18) legal guardian(s) on whom the student is dependent.

The Effect of Marriage

A nonresident student who marries a bona fide New Jersey domiciliary assumes the domicile of that spouse for tuition purposes in the term following marriage. The same test for residency will be applied to spouses when a marriage is claimed as the basis for domicile. No change in status will occur when a domiciliary student marries a nondomiciliary.

Foreign Nationals

Alien nationals who are in the United States with resident immigrant visas, or special refugee visas (being processed for permanent residency) will be considered the same as United States citizens for purposes of assessing tuition. In either instance, the approval date on the visa must be prior to the first day of the term for which the change in status is sought. However, any other nonimmigrant alien will be classified as a nonresident for assessment of tuition unless he or she demonstrates by affirmative proof that he or she has a domicile in New Jersey.

For additional information, contact RU-info at 732/932-info (4636) or
Comments and corrections to: Campus Information Services.

2005 Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. All rights reserved.