Residency for Tuition Purposes
Not everyone is eligible for resident tuition. Highline is here to help you navigate and work within the rules and requirements set by the state of Washington.
Highline does not make the laws about who is considered a Washington state resident. We guide students who are working to establish, or to show, their eligibility.
The information a student provides on the Application for Admission determines the tuition rate for which he or she is eligible.
In the email that includes the myHighline activation code, we alert those who have been coded as non-residents. Students have a window of opportunity to correct any errors that they might have made in the residency responses. After that time period, a student must provide specific and detailed proof of eligibility. We encourage you to email Admissions from your myHighline. We can then help you determine the complexity involved, what paperwork you need and whether an appointment would be helpful.
- To request a change in coding from non-resident to resident usually requires specific and detailed documentation. If you have questions, contact Admissions from your Highline email account (include your Student ID number). We can help you determine your options, what paperwork might be required and if an appointment would be helpful.
- To request a change from non-resident to non-resident with waiver, come to Admissions with your U.S. Permanent Resident card or proof of your U.S. citizenship or U.S. National status (original documents, please).
- To request a change from resident to non-resident, notify Admissions from your Highline email account.
Questions of Residency
If information puts a student’s resident status in question (for example, a student indicates to one department that she holds an F visa and to another that she is a U.S. Citizen), the student’s coding may be set as “undetermined” until correct information can be confirmed. When this happens, we notify the student through his or her myHighline email account.
Be mindful of tuition due dates and other deadlines as you consider the information below. For questions related to how your classes or tuition might be impacted while you are in this process, refer to Registration and Records.
- We strongly encourage you to make an appointment with the Admissions Adviser for Residency.
- You are welcome to submit your materials for an initial review; allow us 5 business days to review your materials. After we have reviewed them, we will be able to determine appropriate next steps and will contact you.
- Our timeline for processing residency requests (changes and corrections) is 15 business days.
Resident tuition eligibility focuses on presence (being in Washington) and intent (why you are here and your intention to remain). To be eligible for resident tuition, you must be a present, established and involved resident of Washington state for more than one year and intend to be in and stay in Washington. You can only be a resident of one state. If you are required to be a resident of another state for any reason (e.g. Alaska Permanent Fund recipient), you are not eligible for Washington state resident tuition.
The student must hold an eligible status in the US and have established residency (see above) in Washington state. If the student is dependent, the student must hold eligible status and the student’s parent or guardian needs to have established residency. For tuition purposes, the state of Washington considers only those who have NOT been claimed on someone’s taxes (this year or last year) and who have NOT received significant financial support from anyone (this year or last year) to be independent. Everyone else is considered dependent. If you are dependent, it is the residency of your parent or guardian that determines your eligibility.
The following are descriptions of individuals who are typically eligible for resident tuition:
- U.S. Citizen, U.S. Permanent Resident, Conditional Entrant (e.g., refugee, asylee, DACA) or eligible visa holder who is financially:
- Independent and a resident of the state of Washington.
- Dependent and has a parent or guardian who is a resident of the state of Washington.
- Active duty military member with orders to Washington or Washington National Guard (or the spouse or dependent of one of these).
- Individuals who have completed high school in Washington, lived in Washington the 3 years immediately prior to completing high school and have remained in Washington since. Those who completed high school through a diploma must have attended their full senior year in a Washington state high school.
- Those eligible for educational benefits from the Veteran’s Administration who have served any period of honorable service and separated after at least 90 days of active duty and begin classes in higher education in Washington within 3 years of separation. Those who are entitled to VA benefits as a dependent are also eligible as long as the service member served at least 90 days active duty with any period of honorable service and the student began classes within 3 years of that person’s discharge. Finally, anyone entitled to benefits as a result of their relationship with a member who died in the line of duty is eligible for resident tuition.
- Native Americans with certain tribal affiliations.
Until we know you and your situation, we cannot give you a definitive answer about your eligibility or a list of what you need to provide. But, in general, this will get you started and give you an idea of where to begin. In most cases, you will need at least the first two items below:
- Status in the US, you will likely need to provide proof of your eligible status (e.g. passport, I-94, I-797, US permanent resident card).
- Your lease or home ownership paperwork that shows where you have been living for the past 12 months (sometimes this is more than one address). If you are not the person on the lease (or who owns the home), use an Address Verification form. If you are dependent, it’s the home address of your parent or guardian we need to document.
- If you are independent, we may need to see your tax return. If you are independent and under 24 years old, we may need both your tax return and the first page and signature page of the tax return of the person who claimed you. If you are a dependent, we may need the first page and signature page of the tax return of the person who claimed you.
- Your completed Residence Questionnaire. Only complete this form after having met with the Admissions Residency Adviser. If you need one, we will give it to you. In Section 3, attach documentation for everything to which the answer is “yes.” Here’s where it gets individualized. In a perfect world, there are at least three documents that come from this section that are dated at least one year ago. We need three documents from a very specific list. If you don’t have three from Section 3, here are some additional options you can use: letter of employment, professional license, business license, home ownership, or membership in a civic or philanthropic organization.