Eligibility for Virginia In-State Tuition Privileges
After reading this form carefully, if you have questions or need additional information please email email@example.com to connect with the Domicile Specialist. Note: we are not able to give legal advice, nor are we able to determine whether or not you or your dependent student will qualify for in-state rates, without an application and the required supporting documents.
Eligibility for in-state tuition privileges (reduced tuition charges) is governed by §23.1-5 of the Code of Virginia. The provisions of §23.1-5 of the Code of Virginia are set forth, defined, and discussed in the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Domicile Guidelines. SCHEV developed these guidelines to facilitate the consideration of uniform criteria in determining domiciliary status. §23.1-5 of the Code of Virginia places the responsibility on the students for establishing, by clear and convincing evidence, that they are eligible for the in-state tuition rates. Further, the burden is on the applicant to demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that Virginia is the applicant's domicile and that any prior state of domicile has been abandoned. According to the SCHEV guidelines, Clear and Convincing Evidence "means that the evidence presented affirms that the student's assertion is more highly probable to be true than not and the domicile officer has a firm belief or conviction in it. This standard is greater than what must be met in civil actions - preponderance of the evidence - which requires that the facts more likely than not prove the issue for which they are asserted; but less than the standard of proof in criminal cases – beyond a reasonable doubt – which leaves no room for a reasonable person to doubt (SCHEV Guidelines, PDF, page 1)."
New Undergraduate Students applying to Virginia Tech will go through a domicile review process, detailed below. Those students who do not complete an application for in-state rates, or those who complete an application, but are deemed to be out-of-state for tuition purposes, will be billed at the out-of-state rates. Out-of-state students and parents should be aware that residence or physical presence in Virginia primarily to attend Virginia Tech does not entitle students to in-state tuition rates for future terms. Domicile should be established before one enters the university. Transfer students should be aware that classification of in-state status at a prior Virginia public college or university does not guarantee classification of in-state status at Virginia Tech.
New Undergraduate Students, whether freshman or transfer applicants, generally apply for in-state tuition at the time they apply for admission to the University. Detailed instructions can be found at our residency webpage. Students who applied for admission without applying for in-state rates can find a PDF of the Application for In-State Rates at this same link.
The documentation required will vary depending on your specific domicile circumstances. Inquiries regarding required documents may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org after the student has submitted their application, so that the domicile specialist may review the domicile application and can advise what additional documentation may be required.
Once your admission application is submitted, if additional documentation is required for the Domicile Committee to make an informed decision, your internal domicile status will reflect as Undetermined and an email will be sent to you identifying the possible documentation required and this email will include a link to upload documents to your record. Failure to submit required documentation will result in an out-of-state tuition status, for those students who are offered admission. Due to security issues, we are unable to accept documents through email. Documents submitted through the US mail and through fax will be accepted, but these methods will delay processing time for the review of your domicile application.
USPS: Virginia Tech
925 Prices Fork Road
Blacksburg, VA 24061
Please note that a determination on your domicile status cannot be made without a complete application and supporting documentation. If you have submitted your application and the domicile committee determines that additional documents are required, or clarifying information is necessary before a final decision can be made on your file, you will be contacted via the email supplied when you submitted your application for admission. Failure to provide requested information could result in the denial of your application for in-state rates.
According to §23.1-5 of the Code of Virginia, changes in domiciliary status can only be granted prospectively from the date the application is received; therefore, the legal deadline for submission of the completed application is prior to the first day of the semester/term for which the student seeks classification as an in-state resident. Retroactive changes in status are not allowed under the Code. To ensure that students have a decision before the tuition payment deadline, please submit a completed application and supporting documents at least 45 days prior to the first day of classes for your intended term of entry.
An initial review of your application will take place as a part of the application processing. Students deemed as in-state without need of additional documents or clarifying information will have their record updated to reflect in-state at that time. Students who live out-of-state and have not applied for in-state status will have their record updated to out-of-state. Those students whose domicile application requires an intermediate review by the domicile committee will be classified as Undetermined. This Undetermined status is an internal status for processing purposes. Students classified as Undetermined will receive an email requesting additional information, or requesting that the student contact the domicile specialist at email@example.com. Once the additional supporting documents are received, then the applicant's file will go before the Domicile Committee.
In most cases, students offered admission will be notified of their updated domicile status as a part of their offer packet. After admissions decisions are processed, students will be notified of domicile changes via email. It can take 30 or more business days for domicile decisions to be made and students notified. Students denied in-state tuition will be given the opportunity to appeal their decision to the Virginia Tech Appeals Committee. Appeals must be received in writing within 30 days after being provided with the appeals process details.
Please note, due to the volume of processing domicile applications and emails, occasional oversites may occur, and files may not be brought before the domicile committee. If you have not received notification of your domicile status, you should reach out to the domicile specialist to confirm that your application is in process. According to SCHEV, it is the student's responsibility to register under the proper classification and it is the student's responsibility for supplying information (SCHEV Guidelines, PDF p.33).
If you are billed at the out-of-state rates and pay out-of-state fees, you may not be eligible for a refund of those fees if you do not bring it to the attention of the Domicile Specialist in writing for verification using firstname.lastname@example.org. Students and parents should inform the domicile specialist as soon as the out-of-state bill has been processed. Students who submit inquiries for retroactive changes after classes have begun are subject to paying the out-of-state fess until the classification is updated. Retroactive changes are subject to approval; students determined to be out-of-state after such a retroactive request may apply for reclassification for the subsequent term. Current or returning students who wish to appeal for in-state status must contact email@example.com for guidance.
Domicile Refers to the "present fixed home of an individual to which he or she returns following temporary absences. No individual may have more than one domicile at a time (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.2)." Domicile cannot be initially established in Virginia unless one actually resides, in the sense of being physically present, in Virginia with domiciliary intent, which means present intent to remain indefinitely. In other words, the individual has no plans or expectations to move from Virginia. Residence in Virginia for a temporary purpose, even if that stay is lengthy, with the present intent to return to a former state or country upon completion of such purpose does not constitute domicile. "Mere physical presence or residency primarily for educational purposes does not confer domiciliary status (SCHEV Guidelines PDF p.17)." According to SCHEV, It is presumed that a student who is continuously enrolled into an institution as an out-of-state student remains in the Commonwealth primarily for educational purposes and not as a bona fide domiciliary. The student seeking status reclassification is required to rebut this presumption by clear and convincing evidence (SCHEV Guidelines Article 3 PDF p.31).
A person shall not ordinarily be able to establish domicile by performing acts which are auxiliary to fulfilling educational objectives or which are required or routinely performed by temporary residents of the Commonwealth. The University will consider many factors when determining domicile. Among them are continuous physical presence, state to which income taxes are paid, driver's license, voter registration, motor vehicle registration, employment, property ownership sources of financial support, military records, a written offer and acceptance of employment following graduation, and any other family, social or academic ties with the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions. The presence of any or all of these does not automatically result in Virginia domicile. The factors used to support a claim of entitlement to in-state privileges must have existed for a minimum of one year (12 continuous months) prior to the first day of classes.
According to the Guidelines, a "dependent student means one who is listed as a dependent on the federal or state income tax return of the parent or legal guardian or who receives substantial financial support from the spouse, parent, or legal guardian". The presumption is that a student under the age of 24 on the date of the alleged entitlement receives substantial financial support from the parent or legal guardian and therefore is a dependent on the parent or legal guardian, unless the student
- is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces;
- is a graduate or professional student;
- is married;
- is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18;
- has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased;
- has legal dependents other than a spouse; or,
- is able to present clear and convincing evidence that he is financially self-sufficient (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.2).
If the applicant is a dependent student, not an emancipated minor, or married to and is a dependent of a Virginia resident, i.e. the applicant is claimed as a tax dependent by his/her parents/legal guardian or spouse and/or receives at least half of his/her financial support from the spouse, the applicant may be eligible for in-state privileges IF the parent/legal guardian or spouse has been domiciled in Virginia for the required one year period. As a dependent student, the applicant is presumed to have the same domicile as the parent claiming them as a tax dependent and/or providing them with substantial financial support. As a dependent of a spouse, the applicant may be eligible for in-state tuition as a dependent of the spouse.
"Independent student" means a student whose parents have surrendered the right to their care, custody and earnings; do not claim them as a dependent on federal or state income tax returns; and have ceased to provide them with substantial financial support. Independent students includes emancipated minors (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.3).
Applicants under the age of 24 who are not married, are not veterans, do not have dependents of their own, and were not a ward of the court prior to the age of 18, must provide evidence that they are financially independent and that they are not in the Commonwealth primarily for educational purposes.
The Code of Virginia and the SCHEV guidelines provide several avenues for military members and their dependents to receive in-state tuition. According to SCHEV, dependent students of military members whose spouse has not abandoned their Virginia domicile are eligible for domicile under the non-military members domicile (SCHEV guidelines, PDF p.23). The military spouse is subject to the 12-month waiting period to establish domicile.
According to the Code of Virginia, in order for active duty military members to have maintained Virginia domicile, they must have Virginia listed as state of domicile; their LES can provide evidence that taxes have been withheld, they will have maintained their Virginia driver's license, and other ties to Virginia (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.23).
There are military provisions for dependents of service members to be eligible for in-state tuition privileges, even without domicile of either the military member or the spouse. The 12-month waiting period is waived. These provisions are detailed in Part III Section 18 for dependent of military members, Section 19, for active-duty military members (SCHEV Guidelines PDF p.36-40).
Military member is assigned to a permanent active duty station in Virginia or a contiguous state and lives in Virginia. This does not include temporary duty assignments.
Military member assigned unaccompanied orders that state Virginia as the designated place for family members to reside.
There are several financial resources for military members that are not a part of domicile. For questions about using educational benefits, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As of July 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia has adopted a provision for individuals who may not be eligible for domicile, but live, work, and pay taxes to the Commonwealth (§23.1-506). Eligibility for in-state tuition; exception; certain out-of-state and high school students. Any student who:
- attended high school for at least two years in the Commonwealth and either
- graduated on or after July 1, 2008, from a public or private high school or program of home instruction in the Commonwealth or
- passed on or after July 1, 2008, a high school equivalency examination approved by the Secretary of Education;
- has submitted evidence that they or, in the case of a dependent student, at least one parent, guardian, or person standing in loco parentis has filed, unless exempted by state law, Virginia income tax returns for at least two years immediately prior to the date of registration or enrollment; and
- registers as an entering student or is enrolled in a public institution of higher education in the Commonwealth.
Students who meet these criteria shall be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, except that students with currently valid visas issued under 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(15)(F), §1101(a)(15)(H)(iii), §1101(a)(15)(J) (including only students or trainees), or §1101(a)(15)(M) are not eligible.
The Office of Undergraduate Admissions cannot determine a student's domicile based on verbal information or representations. All information provided in support of a student's case must be in writing. Should a student feel clarification of certain information is necessary, the student should provide a written explanation. Each student seeking classification as an in-state resident must complete the application and provide accompanying documentation before a determination can be made. The information provided on this website is a representation of parts of the Code of Virginia and the SCHEV Domicile Guidelines. For thorough or detailed information, students and parents should refer directly to the Code of Virginia and the SCHEV Guidelines which can be found at these links:
Any questions or inquiries should be directed to the Domicile Specialist at email@example.com.
Updated September 2020