The number one important thing to understand about residency requirements in the CSU is that "being a resident of the state of California" and "being a resident for purposes of tuition" are two different things. The following are the main eligibility requirements you must fulfill in order to be a California resident for purposes of tuition at the CSU.
Intent to remain in California
Financial independence - This requirement makes it extremely difficult for most undergraduates who are not financially dependent on a California-resident parent to qualify for classification as a California resident. Effective Fall 2020 academic term, if the student meets at least one of the following criteria, the student does not have to meet the financial independence requirement. Students must provide the campus admissions office supporting documents (e.g., state income tax returns, court documents, marriage certificate, military order form) that demonstrate they meet the criteria.
- Dependent on a parent who has California residence for more than one year immediately preceding the residence determination date;
- Enrolled in a graduate or post‐baccalaureate program, regardless of age;
- Turned 24 years of age by the residence determination date;
- Married or registered domestic partner as of the residence determination date;
- Active duty members serving in the U.S Armed Forces
- Veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces
- Legal dependent other than a spouse or registered domestic partner
- Former ward of the court, foster youth, or both parents are deceased
- Declared by a court to be an emancipated minor
- Unaccompanied youth who is homeless or at risk of becoming homeless
If you’re an unmarried undergraduate 19 years or older and your parent(s) are not California residents, you must be able to document (for example, using tax returns, W-2 forms, bank statements) that you have been totally self-sufficient for three full years prior to the residence determination date, supporting yourself, for example, through jobs, financial aid, commercial/institutional loans in your name only, and documentable savings from your earnings. This also means you can't have been claimed as an income tax dependent by any individual or have accepted gifts (cash or other support) that contributed to your subsistence for three tax years immediately preceding the term.
Immigration status (if applicable)
The law governing residence for tuition purposes at the California State University is California Education Code sections 68000-68084, 68120-68134, and 89705-89707.5, and California Code of Regulations, Title 5, sections 41900-41916. This material can be viewed on the California State University’s website on determining California residency.
For Residency Appeal Application Instructions, please also refer to the California State University website on determining California Residency.
The CSU Residence Questionnaire can be found on the CSU website.
The AB540 Exemption form for Eligible California High School Graduates can be found on the CSU website.