Residency for the Purpose of Determining Tuition

map showing North Carolina


Consistent with North Carolina’s public policy of providing the benefits of higher education as free as practicable to the people of our state, the General Assembly has placed stringent criteria on who qualifies as a bona fide resident of this state for tuition purposes. While each institution of higher education within the state must allow students a chance to demonstrate that they are bona fide residents of the state pursuant to the provisions of the NC State Residence Classification Manual and applicable laws, the burden of proof of in-state resident status for tuition purposes rests on the student.

Residency Deadlines:

All applications must be received before the end of Add/Drop for the term or period for which an adjustment is sought. Students with pending cases must be prepared to pay the out-of-state rate until their case is resolved. Students who pay the out-of-state rate and who are later determined to in-state will receive a refund for the difference.

Attention Teachers:

The special provision to waive the twelve month domiciliary requirement for teachers and other employees of North Carolina Public Schools who take courses relevant to teacher certification or for professional development as a teacher was repealed effective July 1, 2011. The NC Residency Classification Manual does not yet reflect this legislative change, however, the change is in effect.

Contact Information

New Undergraduate Students:
Office of Admissions
102 Cordelia Camp Building
Cullowhee NC 28723
(828) 227-7317

Continuing Undergraduate Students:
Registrar's Office
206 Killian Annex Building
Cullowhee NC 28723
(828) 227-7216

New & Continuing Graduate Students:
Graduate School
110 Cordelia Camp Building
Cullowhee NC 28723
(828) 227-7398

Local Campus Appeals

Appeal Procedure

A student, who has exhausted the residency application procedure and has been classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes, may request an appeal of that decision to the Residency Appeals Board pursuant to the “Policy and Procedures for Determining Residence Status for Tuition Purposes.”  This request must be in writing to the Chairperson of the Residency Appeals Board and must be submitted to the address listed below at least fifteen (15) business days from the date of the issuance of the letter of determination. The request may consist simply of the statement, "I wish to appeal the decision of my residence classification for tuition purposes." It must be dated and signed and should indicate the applicant's WCU student identification number, academic term, mailing address, e-mail address, and phone number.

Request for appeal of residency should be mailed to the following address:

WCU Office of Admission
 Attn: Residency Appeal Chairperson
 102 Camp Building
 Cullowhee, NC 28723

Appeals to State Residency Board

The student has the right appeal on campus. If denied the local campus appeal information will be sent to the student on how to appeal to the state residency board.

Frequently Asked Questions- Residency

1. I am incorrectly classified as an out-of-state resident, what do I need to do to correct the problem?

Applicants to the university will need to contact the correct office in relation to student type:

Undergraduate Admissions - 828.227.7317
Graduate Admissions - 828.227.7398

If already enrolled, students need to contact the Registrar’s Office through the Student OneStop at 828.227.7170.

These offices will be able to correctly guide students on the steps needed to correct residency coding.

If a student was initially classified as an out-of-state student, but feels that in-state residency for tuition purposes is now the correct classification, then filling out the residency application and submitting it to the correct office for reclassification will be required.

The residency application can be found here.

2. How long is process and review time for the application?

The initial review of the residency application can usually be done on the same day it is received.  Many times this will result in a decision that same day, but sometimes this process can take longer if there are certain documents that the reviewer would like to see which were not submitted with the initial residency application. 

Decisions are mailed to the applicants, so please allow a few days for delivery.

3. How long to I have to live in the state of NC to become an instate resident for tuition purposes?

The minimum required amount of time to maintain a domicile in North Carolina for tuition purposes is 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment.

4. I work in NC but I live in another state, am I eligible for instate tuition?

No. The regulations state that the student’s domicile must be in NC.

5. I am active duty military or recently separated from the military, would I qualify for residency?

Military members who separate from the military can be granted in-state residency if the Home of Record at the time of separation is listed as NC OR if the family moves to NC immediately upon separation. The NC residency manual has a number of exceptions and policies for military and dependants. A full explanation can be found in the manual Section: IV. B 2 page 16.

6. My parents are seriously considering moving out-of-state. If that happens do I still pay in-state tuition or does it turn into out of state? We have been living in NC for over ten years.

The State of North Carolina continues the benefit of in-state tuition to students who move out-of-state for a period of 12 months. However, that are some caveats. You should consult the North Carolina State Residency Classification Manual. Specifically you want to review the section titled "Statutory Grace Period Following Loss of Resident Status" on pages 24/5 to see if you can continue to be charged the in-state rate.

Office of Web Services