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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Michigan State University (MSU) has autonomous, constitutional authority from the State of Michigan to establish the University’s “Regulations for Qualifying for In-State Tuition” and the definition of student residency status as it related to in-state fee status. In other words, Michigan State University’s residency guidelines are independent of other State of Michigan rules or regulations governing residency for other purposes (such as income and property tax liability or eligibility to vote or drive).

Michigan State University is supported by legislative funds derived from State of Michigan tax revenue. As a state tax-supported institution, the University gives preference in admission and tuition to long-term residents of the State of Michigan—that is, to students whose circumstances meet the University’s definition of “domicile.”

Michigan State University will review the application of students who believe they should be classified as in-state under the Regulations. If a student is seeking in-state tuition based on Michigan domicile, but the student’s presence in the state is based on activities or circumstances that are determined to be temporary or indeterminate, the student will be classified as out-of-state.

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 they have been incorrectly classified may complete an Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status (see Section VII., below). The application and documentation described in Section VII should be submitted to the Office of the Registrar, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150, East Lansing, MI 48824-2603 or emailed to feeclass@msu.edu in .pdf format at least thirty (30) days before the start of the semester for which reclassification is sought.

Frequently Asked Questions
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 1-517-432-3488 or feeclass@msu.edu.

STUDENTS MAY QUALIFY FOR IN-STATE TUITION STATUS IN THE FOLLOWING WAYS:

  1. Establishing eligibility through Michigan domicile for U.S. citizens.
  2. Establishing eligibility through Michigan domicile for legal permanent resident aliens and immigrants.
  3. Establishing eligibility through Michigan highs school attendance and graduation: (a) attended for at least three (3) years an accredited Michigan high school; (b) 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 Michigan State University within forty (40) months of high school graduation or receipt of a GED.
  4. Establishing they meet the criteria outlined in Absences from Michigan in Section IV; or
  5. Establishing they meet one of the criteria listed in section V.
ON THEIR OWN, THE FOLLOWING CIRCUMSTANCES DO NOT NECESSARILY LEND SUPPORT TO A CLAIM OF MICHIGAN DOMICILE:
  • Enrollment in a Michigan high school, community college, or university
  • Employment in Michigan that is temporary or short-term
  • Employment in Michigan in a position that is normally held by a student
  • Ownership of land, vacation, second home, or investment property in Michigan
  • Presence of relatives, other than the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) who live in Michigan
  • Possession of a Michigan driver's license, Michigan identification card, or voter's registration
  • Payment of Michigan income or property taxes
  • A statement of intent to be domiciled in Michigan
  • The payment of university fees on behalf of a student
For the purpose of these Regulations:

Dependent Student
A student is presumed to be a dependent student if:
  • They are 24 years of age or younger; unmarried.
  • Are primarily involved in educational pursuits or have not been entirely financially self-supporting through employment.
Non-Dependent Student
A student is presumed to be a non-dependent if:
  • They are 25 years of age or older.
  • Student is married.
DEFINITIONS

Domicile

“Domicile” is defined as the place where an individual intends their true, fixed, primary permanent residence and long-term home to be, and to which the individual intends to return whenever they are absent from the University. In other words, an applicant must document that the state of Michigan is their primary permanent home and intend to remain in Michigan long-term.

The domicile of a dependent student will be presumed to have the same effect as that of a dependent student's parent(s), stepparent(s), or legal guardian(s). Generally, an individual whose activities and circumstances, as documented to Michigan State University, demonstrate they are 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 student or parent(s), or legal guardian(s) of a dependent student cannot be domiciled or maintain a primary permanent residence in more than one state at a time. Establishing Michigan domicile will depend on, among other things, where a student lives, works, and attended school; where the student has lived, worked, and attended school; where the student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) live or have lived; and other clear and convincing evidence that demonstrates Michigan is the student’s primary permanent long-term home.

“Michigan Domicile” - Parent(s), legal guardian(s) or non-dependent student have established a primary permanent residence and household in the state of Michigan for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which they are seeking in-state tuition status (please see 1.A. and 1.B. below).

Residing in Michigan solely for educational reasons does not qualify as being “domiciled” in Michigan. The reason for moving to Michigan must be for other than educational purposes. The student, their parent(s), guardian(s), or spouse moved to Michigan for a reason other than qualifying for in-state tuition and intend to make Michigan their primary permanent long-term home.

Legal Guardianship

References to parents shall include legal guardians when (a) the student is the dependent of the legal guardian(s), and (b) such legal guardianship has been established due to the complete incapacity or death of the student's parent(s). A parent's inability to provide funds necessary to support a college education does not constitute complete incapacity.

A temporary care agreement executed by a dependent student’s parent(s) or guardian(s) to other individual(s) who may live in the state of Michigan does not represent full legal guardianship.

Severance of Out-of-State Ties

Severance of out-of-state ties referred to in I.A. below means the student, their parent(s), guardian(s), or spouse have severed out-of-state ties by:
  1. The final sale of any primary principal residence located outside the State of Michigan; and/or
  2. Relinquishment or dissolution of ownership or interest in a business, corporation, partnership, and the like, located outside the state of Michigan, if applicable.
I.  ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY THROUGH MICHIGAN DOMICILE FOR U.S CITIZENS
A. Dependent Student
The domicile of a dependent student is presumed to be the same as that of the student's parent(s) or legal guardian(s). The following requirements demonstrate, in general terms, that Michigan is the domicile of the student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

Both parents or legal guardians (if married) or one parent (in the case of being single, widowed, legally separated, or divorced) must meet all three (3) of the following requirements to qualify for in-state fee status.
  1. Michigan Domicile. Parent(s) or legal guardian(s) have established a primary permanent residence and household in the state of Michigan for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which they are seeking in-state tuition status.
  2. Michigan Employment. Are employed in the state of Michigan on a permanent basis.
  3. Severance of Out-of-State Ties. Have severed out-of-state ties related to 1) any primary principal residence located outside the state of Michigan; and/or 2) have relinquished or dissolved ownership or interest in a business, corporation, partnership, and the like, located outside the state of Michigan, if applicable.
If parents are legally separated/divorced, please provide documentation. If parents have remarried, additional documentation may be required.

If a dependent student’s parent(s) or legal guardian(s) both reside outside the state of Michigan, the student will be classified as out-of-state.
B. Non-Dependent Student
A non-dependent student will be considered domiciled in Michigan if they have established a primary permanent residence and household in the state of Michigan for a period of at least twelve (12) consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which they are seeking in-state tuition status and also meets either of the following criteria:
  1. The student, or the student’s spouse, is employed in Michigan in a 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.
Note that failure to have continuously resided in Michigan for at least the twelve (12) month period will not automatically prevent a student from obtaining in-state tuition status. An exception may be made if the student presents clear and convincing evidence that demonstrates the establishment of a Michigan domicile and circumstances, as determined by the Office of the Registrar Internal Review Committee, that warrant the justification of why the student should 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.

II. ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY THROUGH MICHIGAN DOMICILE FOR 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 they have established a Michigan domicile as defined in section 1.A. or 1.B. above of these Regulations. Non-U.S. citizens who are considered to have established permanent domicile in the United States include permanent resident aliens, asylees or refugees, or A, E (primary), G, or I nonimmigrant visa holders.

Non-U.S. citizens must provide official documentation establishing their valid immigration status. Non-U.S. citizens must also maintain their immigration status for the duration of their enrollment in order to remain eligible for paying in-state tuition.

III. ESTABLISHING ELIGIBILITY THROUGH MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION
Students who meet all three (3) of the following requirements will be eligible for in-state tuition status:
  1.  Attended an accredited Michigan high school for three (3) years.
  2. Graduated 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 Michigan State 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.

IV. ABSENCES FROM MICHIGAN
Moved for a Job, but Domiciled in Michigan
If a student, or the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a dependent student is domiciled in Michigan but has been temporarily transferred outside Michigan by their employer (but has not become domiciled outside Michigan), the student will receive in-state tuition.

Moved Out of Michigan after Completion of Student’s Sophomore Year
If the student, or the parent(s) or guardian(s) 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 dependent student's parent(s) or guardian(s) moved out of Michigan after the student completes their sophomore year in a Michigan high school; and
  2. The dependent student and their parent(s) or legal guardian(s) resided in Michigan for a minimum of ten (10) years prior to their departure
If a student, or the parent(s) or legal guardian(s) of a dependent student, moves out of Michigan during the time the student is enrolled as a full-time student at MSU, the student's in-state tuition status will be maintained as long as they continue 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 they have maintained their domicile in Michigan despite the move.

A prospective student who qualifies for in-state tuition under sections I.A. Dependent Students., II. Legal Permanent Resident Aliens, or III Michigan High School Attendance and Graduation above will be eligible for in-state intuition even if they attended a college or university outside of Michigan prior to enrolling at Michigan State University.

V. OTHER WAYS TO ESTABLISH ELIGIBILITY
Students who meet any of the following standards will receive in-state tuition:
Migrant Worker - 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 worker2 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. 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.
Missionary - 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 they or their parent went on the mission.
MSU Employment - A student who is employed 100% full-time by the University, or whose spouse, or parent in the case of dependent student, is employed 100% full-time by the University.
MSU Graduate Student receives in-state tuition status during the period of their appointment as Graduate Assistants.
Peace Corps - A student who has served as a volunteer of the Peace Corps and who has satisfactorily completed their Peace Corps contract.
Uniformed Services - 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 in a paid capacity; or
(3) has received an honorable discharge from one of those Services or reserve components.
VA Educational Assistance Programs - 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)), Chapter 31 (Vocational Rehabilitation) while attending Michigan State University (regardless of their formal state of residence).

VI. APPLICATION AND REQUIRED DOCUMENTATION
A student or the parent(s) or guardian(s) of a dependent student who is requesting reclassification based on Michigan domicile for tuition purposes must demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence their domicile is in state of Michigan. Each request is reviewed individually, and a determination is made based on the supporting documentation and facts submitted by the applicant.

The review and determination of a student’s application will not be made until all required documentation has been submitted (as outlined below).

DEPENDENT STUDENT – 24 years of age and under; unmarried
  1. Application: An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status.
  2. Statement of Explanation: A written statement explaining how the student meets the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations.
  3. Student Photo Identification: A copy of student’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
  4. Parent(s)/Guardian(s) Photo Identification: A copy of the parent’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
  5. U.S. Permanent Residents:
    1. A copy of student’s U.S. Permanent Resident card.
    2. A copy of parent(s) U.S. Permanent Resident card.
  6. Guardianship – A copy of the complete, fully executed official court guardianship agreement, if applicable.
  7. Employment Verification: A letter from parent(s)’ or guardian(s)’ employer on company letterhead verifying current full-time employment, work location of employee, and includes employer’s physical address.
  8. Pay Stub: A copy of parent(s)’ or guardian(s)’ most recent pay stub(s) showing Michigan taxes being withheld.
  9. Federal and State Income Tax Returns: A copy of the first, second, and signature pages of parent(s) or guardian(s)’ most recent year’s federal and all State income tax returns (forms US 1040 and STATE 1040s) with:
    1. All accompanying W2s and Form 1099s; and
    2. Schedules C and E, (if self-employed).
  10. Michigan Domicile - A copy of a complete, fully executed lease agreement(s), mortgage, property deed, or property title for Michigan domicile.
  11. Severance of Out-of-State Ties:
    1. A complete, fully executed copy of proof of home sale (fully executed warranty deed, final closing statement or distribution statement) or proof of termination of lease agreement.
    2. Proof of relinquishment and/or dissolution of ownership or interest in any business, partnership, and the like, located outside the state of Michigan, if applicable.
NON-DEPENDENT STUDENT – 25 years of age and older; student is married
  1. Application: An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status.
  2. Statement of Explanation: A written statement explaining how the student meets the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations.
  3. Student Photo Identification: A copy of student’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
  4. Spouse’s Photo Identification: A copy of the spouse’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification, if based on spouse’s employment.
  5. U.S. Permanent Residents:
    1. A copy of student’s U.S. Permanent Resident card.
    2. A copy of spouse’s U.S. Permanent Resident card.
  6. Marriage Certificate: A copy of marriage certificate, if based on spouse’s employment.
  7. Employment Verification: A letter from student’s and/or spouse’s employer on company letterhead verifying current full-time employment, work location of employee, and includes employer’s physical address, if based on current full-time employment.
  8. Pay Stub: A copy of student’s and/or spouse’s most recent pay showing Michigan taxes being withheld, if based on current full-time employment.
  9. Federal and State Income Tax Returns: A copy of the first, second, and signature pages of most student’s and spouse’s (if based on spouse) most recent year’s federal and all State income tax returns (forms US 1040 and STATE 1040s) with:
    1. All accompanying W2s and Form 1099s; and
    2. Schedules C and E, (if self-employed).
  10. Michigan Domicile: A copy of a complete, fully executed lease agreement(s), mortgage, property deed, or property title providing evidence of Michigan domicile for at least the twelve (12) months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the semester for which student is seeking in-state tuition status.
  11. Severance of Out-of-State Ties:
    1. A complete, fully executed copy of proof of home sale (fully executed warranty deed, final closing statement or distribution statement) or proof of termination of lease agreement.
    2. Proof of relinquishment and/or dissolution of ownership or interest in any business, partnership, and the like, located outside the state of Michigan, if applicable.
ACTIVE-DUTY MILITARY OR HONORABLY DISCHARGED VETERAN STATUS
  1. Application: An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status.
  2. Statement of Explanation: A written statement explaining how they meet the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations.
  3. Student Photo Identification: A copy of student’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
  4. Birth or Marriage Certificate: A copy of birth certificate (if dependent student) or marriage certificate (if spouse).
  5. Active-Duty Military: A copy of most current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES).
  6. Honorably Discharged Veteran: A copy of Release of Discharge from Active-Duty form indicating honorable discharge (DD-214).
MICHIGAN HIGH SCHOOL ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION
  1. Application: An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status.
  2. Statement of Explanation: A written statement explaining how they meet the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations.
  3. Student Photo Identification: A copy of student’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
  4. High School Transcript(s): A copy of student’s high school transcript(s), if not already on file.
MIGRANT WORKER, MISSIONARY, PEACE CORPS, OR MSU FACULTY/STAFF EMPLOYMENT
  1. Application: An Application for Classification to In-State Fee Status.
  2. Statement of Explanation: A written statement explaining how they meet the criteria for in-state tuition status as set forth in these Regulations.
  3. Student Photo Identification: A copy of student’s driver’s license, state identification card, or other official photo identification.
Upon receipt of items 1-3, the student will be notified by the application reviewer specifying what additional supporting documentation and information is required.

The review and determination of a student’s application will not be made until all required documentation has been submitted (as outlined above).

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 or email to feeclass@msu.edu in .pdf format at least thirty (30) days before the start of the semester for which in-state tuition status is sought.
  • In-state fee status applies to only entire semesters. Students will not be granted in-state fee status for part of a semester.
  • The application and documentation will not be returned. The student is advised to keep a copy for their records.
  • The student will be notified by the review if additional documentation or information is required.
  • The average processing time is approximately four (4) weeks after all documents have been received.
  • The student will be notified by email when a determination has been made.
Applications are reviewed by the Review Committee comprised of at least three (3) members, including an associate 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.

VIII. MISCELLANEOUS
The University will correct any errors that have occurred in determining eligibility for in-state tuition. When a student provides evidence that they were 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, Hannah Administration Building, 426 Auditorium Road, Room 150, East Lansing, Michigan 48824-2603, or email to feeclass@msu.edu.

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 regarding eligibility for in-state tuition.

IX. 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 or their 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 their 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. Representatives or other individuals will not be allowed to appear with the student unless approved prior to the meeting.