Domicile for Virginia
The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) provides general, descriptive information about establishing Virginia domicile in order to qualify for in-state tuition.
The conditions by which a student may be considered "in-state" for purposes of tuition classification are set forth by Section 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia. Its attendant guidelines outline the requirements that students must meet to be classified as "in-state" for educational purposes.
An overview of the basic requirements for demonstrating and/or establishing Virginia domicile is offered below. For the most current and detailed information, please visit SCHEV's website.
| Basic Requirements
- An individual must demonstrate residence in Virginia and an
intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely to establish domicile
in Virginia. See the guidelines.
- After meeting the requirements to establish domicile, a person
must continue to be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 months
preceding the first day of classes.
- See also: Offer
for military families
Domicile Affidavit to become eligible for in-state tuition, a
student shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that
for a period of at least one year immediately prior to the first
day of classes, he or she was domiciled in Virginia and has abandoned
any previous domicile, or that the person on whom the student
is legally and financially dependent was domiciled in Virginia.
| Domiciliary Intent
Several factors are used to determine if a person demonstrates
intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely. A college or university
may ask for information from you or your parents about the following
- Continuous residence in Virginia
- Social and economic ties
- Ownership of real property
- Sources of financial support
- Current employment in Virginia
- Enrollment in Virginia post-graduate program
- Military records
- State in which income taxes are paid
- Voter registration, and actual voting
- Driver's license
| Under 24: Dependent and Independent
A dependent student is a student who receives substantial financial
support from his or her parents or legal guardian. If you are
under age 24 on the first day of classes, an institution will
automatically classify you as a dependent student unless you:
- are married
- are a veteran or active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces
- are a graduate or first-professional student
- are a ward of the court or were a ward of the court until
- have no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased
- have legal dependents other than a spouse.
~A college or university in Virginia looks at the parents' domicile
to determine if a dependent student is eligible for in-state tuition
or state financial aid programs.
~If you are older than 24 and do not meet any of these six conditions,
the only way you can be classified as an independent student is
if you convince the institution that you are financially self-sufficient.
~If you are not classified as a dependent student, you may establish
your own Virginia domicile.
| Married Students
A married person may establish domicile like any other student.
A person's domicile is not automatically altered by marriage.
However, if a student receives substantial financial support from
his or her spouse, the student may claim domicile through the
spouse. In such cases, the college or university will look at
the spouse's domicile to determine if the student is eligible
| Veterans, Military Members, Spouses and
Veterans, military members, military spouses, and military dependents should review the State Council's
website for the most current information regarding the establishment of Virginia domicile and the
provisions for in-state tuition rates.
- The fact that an individual is a citizen of another country
does not automatically disqualify that person from establishing
domicile in Virginia. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you
will need to present your immigration documentation to the institution.
- It is very difficult for undocumented aliens to establish domicile
in Virginia. Immigration status is a very strong indication
that the student does not intend to remain in Virginia indefinitely.
| Common Questions about Establishing
- What is "substantial financial support"?
Substantial financial support means financial support in an amount
as much or more than what is required to qualify the individual
to be listed as a dependent on tax returns (50% or more of the
- Can I establish domicile while I am a student?
However, mere physical presence or residence primarily for educational
purposes does not make a student a Virginia domiciliary. If you
leave Virginia for vacations and summer work, you will have an
even more difficult time proving that you intend to stay in Virginia.
- If I am financially dependent on my spouse, can I establish
my own domicile?
Yes. Married persons may establish domicile in the same manner
as unmarried persons, by showing intent to stay in Virginia and
maintaining domicile for 12 months. A married person does not
automatically have the same domicile as his or her spouse even
if the person is financially dependent on the spouse. A person
who is married and is financially dependent on his or her spouse
has the option of claiming the spouse's domicile if the student
chooses to do so.
- What if I disagree with a college or university's determination
of my domicile?
Public institutions of higher education have established an appeals
process for students who question a decision on eligibility for
in-state tuition. A student who wishes to appeal an institution's
final decision may have the case reviewed in circuit court. Decisions
concerning student eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Grant
Program may be appealed to the State Council of Higher Education
| Other ways to qualify for in-state
If you are a student at a public institution and you do not establish
domicile in Virginia, you might still qualify for in-state tuition
if you are:
- a nonmilitary student whose parent or spouse is a member
of the military
- a student who lives outside Virginia but who works or whose
parent works in Virginia
- a high school student who is in a dual enrollment program
at a community college,
- a Clinch Valley College student who resides in Kentucky
and who lives within 50 miles of Clinch Valley College
- a student attending college through a special arrangement
contract entered by your employer and the institution you
plan to attend.
Please contact the college or university you plan to attend to
obtain more information about these ways to qualify for in-state
101 North Fourteenth Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219 Phone: (801) 225-2I37
Fax: (801) 225-2604 TDD: (801) 371-48017
| Domicile Brochure
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