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The University of California is a public university, and charges different tuition for in-state and out-of-state students.

This means that UC has to decide which level of tuition will be charged for each student. For many students — both in-state and out-of-state — this is simple. But for some students with more complex circumstances, this decision process can be more confusing. This site aims to clarify the UC Residence Policy and Guidelines (pdf) and provide context and guidance about the process.

students in a lecture hall

What is residency for purposes of tuition?

After you've been admitted, the University of California determines if you're a California resident for tuition purposes—that is, whether you qualify for resident or nonresident tuition.

The term “California resident for purposes of tuition” is different from other definitions of California residence. For example, a person who is a California resident for tax or voting purposes is not necessarily a resident for purposes of tuition at the University of California.

Undergraduate admissions offices also have a different definition of residence. For example, there are a number of questions about residency on the application for undergraduate admission. UC uses those answers to assess admissions requirements (since they're different for in-state and out-of-state students), but this information isn't used to determine residency for purposes of tuition.

Because the definition of residency varies between offices, information from the admissions office (or on your financial aid award letter) does not necessarily mean you are a resident for purposes of tuition.

Residency for purposes of tuition is decided by your campus residence deputy (or the Residence Appeals Unit, on appeal). Learn more about the process of filing your Statement of Legal Residence (SLR).


Updated: March 2023