Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition

Students requesting in-state fee classification for tuition purposes should first read the Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition provided below. A student who believes he/she should be classified as in-state under the regulations, is required to complete an Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status. Applications and additional documentation should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150, East Lansing, MI 48824, at least one month in advance of the semester in which reclassification is sought.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the fee classification process are available in the In-State Tuition Status section of the Office of the Registrar FAQ page. For questions or assistance with the application, please contact the Office of the Registrar at 517-432-3488, or Feeclass@msu.edu.

Excerpt from the Academic Programs Catalog.
General Information, Policies, Procedures and Regulations
    Costs
        Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition (effective Spring 2016)

These regulations establish the criteria for eligibility to receive in-state tuition rates at Michigan State University.  Based on information supplied in the application for admission, a student will be classified as an in-state or out-of-state student. Any student who believes he/she has been incorrectly classified may complete an Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status (see section V., below).

Students may qualify for in-state tuition status in any of the following ways:  

  1. Establishing domicile in Michigan;
  2. Establishing that they (a) have attended for at least three (3) years an accredited Michigan high school; (b) have graduated from an accredited Michigan high school, or obtained a Michigan General Educational Development High School Equivalency Certificate (GED); and (c) will start their education at the University within forty (40) months of high school graduation or receipt of a GED; or
  3. Establishing that they have met one of the criteria listed in section III.

I.  Establishing Eligibility through Domicile

For purposes of these Regulations, “domicile” is defined as the place where an individual intends his/her true, fixed, and permanent home and principal establishment to be, and to which the individual intends to return whenever he/she is absent from the University.

Generally, an individual whose activities and circumstances, as documented to the University, demonstrate that he/she is domiciled in Michigan will be eligible for in-state tuition status. An individual whose presence in the State is based on activities or circumstances that are indeterminate or temporary will not be eligible for in-state tuition status. 

A.  Dependent Students

The domicile of a dependent student1 is presumed to be the same as that of the student's natural or adoptive parents.2 If only one parent is domiciled in Michigan, the student will be presumed to be a Michigan domiciliary whether or not that parent is the student's custodial parent.

A parent will be considered to be domiciled in Michigan if he/she:

(1) is permanently employed in Michigan; 
(2) has established a household in Michigan; and 
(3) has severed out-of-state ties.

B.  Non-dependent Students

A non-dependent student will be considered domiciled in Michigan if he/she has resided in Michigan for the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which he/she is seeking in-state tuition status,3 and also meets either of the following criteria:

  1. The student, or the student’s spouse, is employed in Michigan in a full-time, permanent job, and the employment is the primary purpose for the student's presence in Michigan; or
  2. The student has not enrolled in any academic courses at any two-year or four-year degree granting institution during this twelve-month period.
C.  Legal Permanent Resident Aliens and Immigrants

Non-U.S. citizens who are entitled to reside permanently in the United States are eligible for in-state tuition by showing that they have established a Michigan domicile as defined in sections I(A) or I(B) of these Regulations. At present, non-U.S. citizens who are entitled to reside permanently in the United States include:
 

  1. Permanent Resident Aliens: must be fully processed and possess Permanent Resident Alien card or stamp in passport verifying final approval by filing deadline for applicable term.
  2. Refugees: I-94 card must designate "Refugee."
  3. A, E (primary), G, and I Visa holders: Based upon current law, these non-immigrant visa classifications are the only ones that permit the visa holder to establish a domicile in the United States. The Registrar shall update this list as changes occur in applicable law. 

D.  Circumstances that do not Demonstrate Michigan Domicile

None of the following conclusively demonstrates Michigan domicile:

  1. Enrollment in a Michigan high school, community college, or university.
  2. Employment in Michigan that is temporary or short-term.
  3. Employment in Michigan in a position that is normally held by a student.
  4. Ownership of property in Michigan.
  5. Presence of relatives (other than parent of a dependent) in Michigan. 
  6. Possession of a Michigan driver's license or voter's registration.
  7. Payment of Michigan income or property taxes.
  8. A statement of intent to be domiciled in Michigan.
  9. The payment of University fees on behalf of a student.

II.  Establishing Eligibility through Michigan High School Attendance and Graduation.

Students who meet all of the following three (3) requirements will be eligible for in-state tuition status:

  1. Attend an accredited Michigan high school for three (3) years;
  2. Graduate from an accredited Michigan high school, or obtain a Michigan general Educational Development High School Equivalency Certificate (GED); and
  3. Start their education at the University within forty (40) months of high school graduation or receipt of a GED.  

Students are eligible to receive in-state tuition under this section regardless of whether they are domiciled in Michigan, residents of Michigan, or citizens of the United States.

III.  Other Ways to Establish Eligibility.

Students who meet any of the following standards will receive in-state tuition:

  1. If a student, or the parent of a dependent student, is a missionary funded by a Michigan church, and the student or parent was domiciled in Michigan at the time he/she went on the mission.
  2. If the parent of a dependent student, or an independent student (as defined by the Higher Education Act of 1965, section 480(d)), has been employed as a migrant worker4 in Michigan for a minimum of two (2) months each year for three (3) of the five (5) years prior to the date of the proposed in-state tuition status, or for a minimum of three (3) months each year for two (2) of the five (5) years prior to the date of the proposed in-state tuition status, the student shall be classified as in-state. Proof and verification of employment is required.
  3. A person using educational assistance under either Chapter 30 (Montgomery GI Bill® - Active Duty Program), Chapter 33 (Post-9/11 GI Bill®) of Title 38 of the United States Code, and/or the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship (38 U.S.C. § 3311(b)(9)) while attending Michigan State University (regardless of his/her formal state of residence).
  4. A student who, or whose spouse, or parent in the case of a dependent student:
    (1) is serving on active duty in the United States Uniformed Services;
    (2) is serving in the guard or reserves in one of those reserve components; or
    (3) has received an honorable discharge from one of those Services or reserve components.
  5. A student who has served as a volunteer of the Peace Corps and who has satisfactorily completed his/her Peace Corps contract.
  6. Graduate students during the period of their appointment as Graduate Assistants.
  7. A student who is employed full-time by the University, or whose spouse, or parent in the case of dependent student, is employed full-time by the University.

IV.  Absences from Michigan

If a student, or the parent of a dependent student, is domiciled in Michigan, but has been temporarily transferred outside Michigan by his/her employer (but has not become domiciled outside Michigan), the student will receive in-state tuition.

If the student, or the parent of a dependent student, moves out of Michigan after the completion of the student’s sophomore year in an accredited Michigan high school, the student will receive in-state tuition if: (1) the student and his/her parent resided in Michigan for a minimum of ten (10) years prior to departure; and (2) the student attends the University the fall semester following high school graduation.

If a student, or the parent of a dependent student, moves out of Michigan during the time the student is enrolled as a full-time student at the University, the student's in-state tuition status will be maintained as long as he/she continues to be enrolled. If a student moves out of Michigan for more than twelve (12) months while enrolled as a less than full-time student, the student will not be eligible for in-state tuition, unless the student presents clear and convincing evidence that he/she has maintained his/her domicile in Michigan despite the move.

A prospective student who qualifies for in-state tuition under sections I., II., or III. above will be eligible for in-state intuition even if he/she attends a college or university outside of Michigan prior to enrolling at the University.

V.  Applying for In-State Tuition Status

Any student who has been classified as out-of-state and who believes he/she is eligible for in-state tuition status under the above provisions must submit:

  1. An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status;
  2. A written statement explaining how he/she meets the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations; and
  3. A copy of the student’s driver's license.

A student requesting in-state status based on his/her residence, or a dependent student who is establishing domicile through his/her parent(s), must also provide:

  1. A copy of a lease agreement(s), mortgage, property deed, or property title;
  2. In the case of a dependent student, a copy of the parent’s driver’s license; and 
  3. A copy of the first, second, and signature pages of the most recent year’s federal and State income tax returns (forms US 1040 and MI-1040) with all accompanying W2s (including Schedules C and E, if self-employed).

A student requesting in-state status based on the permanent, full-time employment of herself or himself, a parent, or a spouse must provide all of the above items listed in this section, and:

  1. A letter from the employer on letterhead that provides the employer’s physical address; and
  2. A copy of the most recent pay stub showing Michigan taxes being withheld.

The application and documentation should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150, East Lansing, MI 48824, at least thirty (30) days before the start of the semester for which in-state tuition status is sought. The average processing time is two (2) to four (4) weeks after all documents have been received. In-state status applies only to entire semesters. Students will not be granted in-state status for part of a semester. The application and documentation will not be returned. The student is advised to keep a copy for his/her records.

The application will be given to a Review Committee comprised of at least three (3) members, including the University Registrar. In cases where the documentation appears to be unclear or incomplete, a member of the Review Committee will attempt to contact the student and explain the need for further clarification and/or supportive documentation.

VI.  Appeal of a Decision of Ineligibility for In-State Tuition. 

A student desiring to challenge the decision of the Review Committee shall have the right to appeal the determination. The appeal should consist of a written statement and any supporting documentation explaining why the decision of the Review Committee is wrong.  

The appeal will be reviewed by the Out-of-State Fees Committee.  The Out-of-State Fees Committee consists of the Executive Vice President, Administrative Services, Chairperson; the Vice President for Student Affairs and Services; the Associate Controller; the Dean of the Graduate School; the Dean of Undergraduate Studies; one (1) undergraduate student representing ASMSU; one (1) graduate student representing COGS; the Director of Admissions, ex officio; and the University Registrar and his/her designee, ex officio. Ex officio members are non-voting.

If a student's appeal is denied by the Out-of-State Fees Committee, the student may ask to appear in person before the Out-of-State Fees Committee to further clarify his/her position. A student wishing to appear in person should file a written request with the Office of the Registrar. The request should specify the documentation about which the student intends to speak.

VII.  Miscellaneous. 

The University will correct any errors that have occurred in determining eligibility for in-state tuition. When a student provides evidence that he/she was eligible for in-state tuition in a prior semester, the student may seek retroactive in-state tuition status and a refund of the out-of-state tuition differential.  The student should send a written request with supporting documentation to the Office of the Registrar, 150 Administration Building.

If a student has accepted a bona fide offer of permanent, full-time employment in Michigan following graduation from the University, the student may seek a refund of the out-of-state tuition differential paid in any semesters falling completely within the twelve (12) months preceding the date of the student's acceptance of the offer of employment. Students who received financial aid during this twelve-month period will have their eligibility recalculated and their tuition refund will be reduced by the amount of aid for which they are determined ineligible. 

Falsification of records is prohibited. According to Article 5.01 of the University's General Student Regulations, "No student shall provide false information for the purpose of gaining benefit for oneself or others to any office, agency, or individual acting on behalf of the University." The University reserves the right to audit enrolled or prospective students at any time with regard to eligibility for in-state tuition.


For purposes of these regulations, a student is presumed to be a dependent of his/her parents if the student:
(1) is 24 years of age or younger; and
(2) has been involved primarily in educational pursuits or has not been entirely financially self-supporting through employment.
 
The domicile of a dependent student's legal guardian will be presumed to have the same effect as that of a dependent student's natural parent, and references to parents in these regulations shall include legal guardians when (a) the student is the dependent of the legal guardian, and (b) such guardianship has been established due to the complete incapacity or death of the student's natural parent(s). A parent's inability to provide funds necessary to support a college education does not constitute complete incapacity.

A non-dependent student's failure to have continuously resided in Michigan for the twelve-month period will not automatically prevent the student from obtaining in-state tuition status. If the student presents clear and convincing evidence which demonstrates the establishment of a Michigan domicile, the student will be eligible for in-state tuition status even if the student has not resided in Michigan continuously for twelve (12) months prior to the first day of classes in the applicable semester.

A migrant worker in Michigan is defined under these Regulations as an individual who travels from location to location pursuing seasonal agricultural or related industry employment. The term migrant worker does not include any family member of a person who owns or operates a farm, ranch, or other agricultural (or related industry) business.