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Residency: Frequently Asked Questions

  • A student can qualify for in-state classification for tuition purposes even if the parent that lives in Tennessee does not have primary custody of the student.
  • A student who falls into this category must complete an Undergraduate Application for in-state classification and submit this along with supporting documentation to the residency classifier.

No, if only one parent lives in Tennessee and they are not divorced, legally separated, or never married you do not qualify for in-state classification for tuition purposes. To be eligible both parents must be primarily and currently domiciled in the state.

As long as you remain continuously enrolled at a higher educational facility in Tennessee you will not lose your in-state classification (continuous enrollment is defined as Fall and Spring semesters, not attending for Summer semester is not included for continuous enrollment).

The admissions process looks at many different items when making an initial residency determination for a student. Items such as address of student and parents, high school graduation state, including home school affiliation outside of Tennessee, transfer work from out-of-state educational facilities, and tax information. Any one of these items indicating and out-of-state connection for a student can provide an out-of-state classification to a student. If a student is admitted as out-of-state the student would then need to apply for re-classification. In order to determine if a student is eligible for in-state classification the Undergraduate Application for in-state classification will need to be completed along with all documents to support the students claim. Completion of the application does not guarantee that a student will be classified as in-state for tuition purposes.

  • It is possible for a dependent student who is classified as out-of-state to gain in-state classification when parents move to Tennessee permanently.
  • Parents would need to show that Tennessee is the primary domicile, reason for move to Tennessee is not to obtain in-state classification for a student but parents would have moved even if student was not attending UTK and intent is to remain after student no longer attends UTK.
  • In order to determine if a student is eligible for in-state classification, the student will need to complete and return the Undergraduate application for in-state classification along with all documentation to support their claim. Documentation needs to include items that show both parents and student have done all the things a resident of the state would do and domicile in prior state has been relinquished.

Receiving in-state classification at a TBR school in the state of Tennessee does not automatically grant in-state classification at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Guidelines and documentation required for being granted in-state classification at UTK can be different than TBR schools. While in-state classification at the TBR school will be taken into consideration, the decision to grant in-state at a TBR school does not automatically provide in-state classification at a UT system school. Also, waivers in out-of-state tuition or reductions to tuition that are offered at other higher educational facilities in Tennessee would not transfer to UTK.

The deadline for submitting an application for reclassification and all documentation is the last day to final register, add, change grading options with a W for a full session course as indicated on the Timetable/Financial Deadlines Calendars for the semester.  This is usually about the 10th day of the semester.  Any applications or documentation received after that date will be considered for the next available semester. Retroactive residency classifications are not available. No exceptions will be made to this deadline for application submissions or documentation items.

  • Full-time active-duty military or dependents of full-time active duty military currently stationed in the state of Tennessee or at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, are considered out-of-state students who do not have to pay out-of-state tuition. Current active duty military orders need to be provided to the residency classifier to receive this waiver. This waiver does not apply to out-of-state students who are Reservists or in the National Guard for training purposes and are not full-time active duty.
  • If “Home of Record” or “Home of Legal Residence” is Tennessee and currently active-duty military or dependents of currently active-duty military stationed out-of-state or abroad, you or your dependents qualify for in-state classification for tuition purposes. Documentation showing this information would need to be provided to the residency classifier to receive this waiver. This waiver does not apply to out-of-state students who are Reservists or in the National Guard for training purposes and are not full-time active duty.
  • The Tennessee Vets Act of 2017 provides that current active-duty member of the US Armed Forces, Reservists, National Guard and dependents eligible to receive educational benefits administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, through any provision of the United States Code, shall not be required to pay out-of-state tuition or any out-of-state fee when the veteran or other individual is:
  • Enrolled in any public institution of higher education in this state:
  • Utilizing such benefits at the enrolling institution; and
  • Living in the state of Tennessee, regardless of the individual’s formal state of residency.

A current certificate of eligibility or document showing VA educational benefits eligibility that are administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs will need to be provided to receive this benefit. If not eligible for and using such benefits for the first semester the student attends the student is not eligible to have out-of-state fees waived. If benefits expire while the student is enrolled at UTK the out-of-state waiver will remain as long as the student remains continuously enrolled. Students who receive such benefits but are attending an online program and living outside of Tennessee are not eligible for the waiver in out-of-state tuition and residency classification would be determined in the same way as any other student. Benefits must be administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Benefits administered by the state are not eligible. This Act was effective July 1, 2017 and replaces the prior act July 1, 2015. This Act will not be applied retroactively.

  • If recently discharged from the military and “Home of Record” on DD-214 is Tennessee, you are eligible for in-state tuition, provided veteran immediately domiciles and remains domiciled in Tennessee after separation from the military. Documentation showing this information would need to be provided to the residency classifier to receive this waiver.
  • The Tennessee Vets Act of 2017 provides that discharged members of the US Armed Forces, Reservists, National Guard members or dependents who are eligible to receive educational benefits administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, through any provision of the United States Code, shall not be required to pay out-of-state tuition or any out-of-state fees when the veteran or other individual is:
  • Enrolled in any public institution of higher education in this state:
  • Utilizing such benefits at the enrolling institution; and
  • Living in the state of Tennessee, regardless of the individuals formal state of residency

A current certificate of eligibility or document showing VA educational benefits eligibility that are administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs will need to be provided to receive this benefit. If not eligible for and using such benefits for the first semester the student attends the student is not eligible to have out-of-state fees waived. If benefits expire while the student is enrolled at UTK the out-of-state waiver will remain as long as the student remains continuously enrolled. Students who receive such benefits but are attending an online program and living outside of Tennessee are not eligible for the waiver in out-of-state tuition and residency classification would be determined in the same way as any other student. Benefits must be administered by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. Benefits administered by the state are not eligible. This Act was effective July 1, 2017 and replaces the prior act July 1, 2015. This Act will not be applied retroactively.

  • It not eligible under the Tennessee Vets Act of 2017 a discharged military member or dependent of a discharged military member can still receive a waiver in out-of-state tuition under the Federal Choice Act of 2014.  To be eligible the student will need to be eligible for Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill) or 33 (Post 9/11) education benefits, using these benefits during the first semester enrolled at the school, enroll in the University within 3 years of the date of discharge of the military member as indicated on the Member 4 version of DD-214 and must be living in Tennessee while enrolled at UTK. Students enrolled in online programs and living outside of Tennessee are not eligible and residency classification would be determined in the same way as any other student.

  • Students age under the age of 24, unless married, a veteran of the US Armed Forces or currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves for purposes other than training, or have children are dependent students and domicile is based on parents’ primary domicile. Turning 18 in itself does not provide that a student is independent for tuition purposes.
  • Students over the age of 24, married students, students who are veterans of the US Armed Forces or currently serving on active duty in the US Armed Forces, National Guard or Reserves for purposes other than training, or have children are considered independent students. The student must provide documentation showing they did not move to the State for educational purposes (intent to remain in the state after attending school does not provide documentable proof). It is difficult to show that a move to Tennessee is incidental to attending the University if you move to the state and immediately enroll in the University within a short period of time.

A person may be financially dependent on his/her parents for purposes of determining domicile even if parents are not claiming the student for income tax purposes. A student, whether or not living with his or her parent, who is eligible to be claimed under the federal income tax code shall be classified as a dependent student. Failure to claim a qualifying relative as a dependent does not, in and of itself, establish that the student is in fact financially independent.  The student needs to document he/she has income independent of parents sufficient to support themselves. Income obtained from parent financed, guaranteed or co-signed loans, gifts from parents, loans, grants or scholarships received by a student who is classified as a dependent for FAFSA purposes, property purchased by parents, and college funds, 529 plans, trust funds or savings plans set up for a student are not considered independent financial  support. If eligible for independent classification, the student would still need to show that reason for moving to and residing in Tennessee is not for educational purposes.

A dependent student who has a legal guardianship can be eligible for in-state provided all residency requirements of legal guardian are met. A legal guardianship that is set up for reasons of obtaining in-state classification for a student would not provide in-state classification. The student must show that legal guardianship is not for educational purposes.

  • Property ownership in itself does not provide in-state classification for tuition purposes. It is possible to own more than one home but only one would be considered a primary domicile.  Indicating dual state residency or a percentage of time is spent in one state and a percentage of time in another does not automatically provide that Tennessee is the primary domicile.
  • Owning a vacation home, 2nd home, or a condo or other property for a student to use while attending a higher education facility in Tennessee is not sufficient evidence of domicile. The home in Tennessee must be the primary legal domicile of the student’s supporting parents.
  • Purchasing a home for a student to live in while attending UTK in itself would not show that domicile in Tennessee is incidental to educational purposes.

In-state classification is determined based on domicile. Therefore, owning a business or having a franchise that also has locations in Tennessee, or working in Tennessee while maintaining a primary domicile outside of the state would not provide eligibility for in-state classification.

  • Attending an educational institution as a student does not provide in-state classification after 6 months, a year, or more.
  • Out-of-state students do not acquire domicile in Tennessee while attending a higher educational facility regardless of the length of time a student is enrolled. A presence in the state of Tennessee to attend a higher educational institution does not provide permanent domicile but is considered a temporary residence for educational purposes. The presumption is the student is residing in the state primarily for educational benefits regardless of how long the length of stay.

Relatives or friends living in Tennessee that are not parents will not provide criteria for changing out-of-state classification for tuition purposes.

  • Past domicile in the state by a student or parents does not provide current in-state classification to a student, regardless of the length of time domicile was maintained in Tennessee.
  • Dependent students whose parents currently maintain domicile in Tennessee while the student has been attending a higher educational facility out-side the state can be eligible for consideration for in-state classification. The student would need to complete the Undergraduate application for in-state classification and provide documentation to show continued parent domicile.

Residency guidelines for tuition purposes are independent of other state rules or regulations governing residency for other purposes, including property tax liability, eligibility to vote, obtaining a driver license or registering a car. Therefore, obtaining these items in itself does not guarantee a student would be eligible for in-state classification.

  • Although the State of Tennessee does not have a durational requirement of 6 months or a year or more this does not mean that moving into your room, renting an apartment prior to attending, moving into a relative’s home, or any other place to live prior to the first day of school will automatically grant in-state classification.
  • A dependent student would need to show that reason for parents move to Tennessee is not for educational purposes.
  • An independent student would need to show that move to the state was not for educational purposes. This can be difficult to do if the person moves and be begins to attend the University within a short period of time.
  • Stating intent to remain in the state after attending school does not provide the documentable proof needed to show that reason for current residence in Tennessee is not for educational purposes.

As an independent student, having parents living in the State will not automatically change your out-of-state status for tuition purposes. If you are an independent student who has established a primary domicile in another state or have not primarily lived with parents prior to applying, having parents living in Tennessee will have very limited value in determining your classification for tuition purposes.

While some Tennessee higher educational institutions do offer border waivers UTK does not provide waivers in out-of-state tuition to students residing in bordering states. Any waiver in out-of-state tuition received at another Tennessee higher educational institution would only apply while the student attends that institution and would not transfer. UTK does participate in the Academic Common Market with many neighboring states. Information regarding the Academic Common Market can be found at www.sreb.org or by contacting commonmarket@utk.edu.

Information regarding the Academic Common Market can be found at www.sreb.org or by contacting commonmarket@utk.edu.

  • Non US citizens who have current status of lawful permanent resident, Asylee, and certain non-immigrants who hold visas from particular categories (A1, A2, A3, E1, E2, G1, G2, G3, G4, G5, H1b, H4 (only if a dependent of an H1B visa), I, K1, K2, K3, K4, L1, L1a, L1b, L2, NATO1, NATO2, NATO3, NATO4, NATO5, NATO6, NATO7, O1, O3 (only dependents of an O1 visa), P1, P2, P3, P4, R1, R2, T1, or V visa) who can provide proof that they have initiated the process to become either a permanent resident or naturalized, may be eligible to be classified in-state if they meet all other requirements for in-state classification as a dependent or independent person and meet Eligibility Verification for Entitlements (EVEA) regulations set forth by the State.  Students, non-citizen parents of dependent students, spouses or legal guardians are expected to provide a copy of their unexpired Permanent Resident card, proof of current Asylee status, visa from category listed above along with proof that they have initiated the process to become a either a permanent resident or naturalized along with other documentation to determine residency classification.
  • International students holding a temporary or non-immigrant visa not listed above are not eligible for in-state classification.
  • Students holding an F or J visa are not eligible for in-state classification even if parents, spouse or legal guardians are US citizens, legal permanent residents or hold a visa category listed above. Holding an F or J visa indicates the student is primarily in the country for educational purposes and cannot establish domicile in the United States or in Tennessee for reasons other than educational pursuits.
  • Students who have applied for or obtained Deferred Action are ineligible for in-state tuition rates based on domicile, regardless of whether parents/legal guardian are living in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the deferral does not confer lawful immigration status to the student.

While some state schools do offer this benefit to nonresident honors students, UTK does not currently grant in-state status to students based upon membership in the Chancellor’s Honors Program or its other honors programs. ONLY nonresident recipients of Chancellor’s Honors Scholarships, Haslam Scholars, Honors Leadership Program Scholars, and 1794 Scholars Programs may be eligible for consideration as out-of-state students who are not required to pay out-of-state tuition.

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