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Student Information

Domicile for Virginia

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) provides general, descriptive information about establishing Virginia domicile in order to qualify for in-state tuition. The conditions by which a student may be considered "in-state" for purposes of tuition classification are set forth by Section 23-7.4 of the Code of Virginia.   Its attendant guidelines outline the requirements that students must meet to be classified as "in-state" for educational purposes.

An overview of the basic requirements for demonstrating and/or establishing Virginia domicile is offered below. For the most current and detailed information, please visit SCHEV's website.


Basic Requirements
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  • An individual must demonstrate residence in Virginia and an intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely to establish domicile in Virginia. See the guidelines.
  • After meeting the requirements to establish domicile, a person must continue to be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 months preceding the first day of classes.
  • See also: Offer for military families


Domiciliary Reclassification
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Domicile Affidavit to become eligible for in-state tuition, a student shall establish by clear and convincing evidence that for a period of at least one year immediately prior to the first day of classes, he or she was domiciled in Virginia and has abandoned any previous domicile, or that the person on whom the student is legally and financially dependent was domiciled in Virginia.


Domiciliary Intent
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Several factors are used to determine if a person demonstrates intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely. A college or university may ask for information from you or your parents about the following factors: 

  • Continuous residence in Virginia
  • Social and economic ties
  • Ownership of real property
  • Sources of financial support
  • Current employment in Virginia
  • Enrollment in Virginia post-graduate program
  • Military records
  • State in which income taxes are paid
  • Voter registration, and actual voting
  • Driver's license



Under 24: Dependent and Independent Students
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A dependent student is a student who receives substantial financial support from his or her parents or legal guardian. If you are under age 24 on the first day of classes, an institution will automatically classify you as a dependent student unless you: 

  • are married
  • are a veteran or active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces
  • are a graduate or first-professional student
  • are a ward of the court or were a ward of the court until age 18
  • have no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased
  • have legal dependents other than a spouse.

~A college or university in Virginia looks at the parents' domicile to determine if a dependent student is eligible for in-state tuition or state financial aid programs. 
~If you are older than 24 and do not meet any of these six conditions, the only way you can be classified as an independent student is if you convince the institution that you are financially self-sufficient. 
~If you are not classified as a dependent student, you may establish your own Virginia domicile. 


Married Students
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A married person may establish domicile like any other student. A person's domicile is not automatically altered by marriage. However, if a student receives substantial financial support from his or her spouse, the student may claim domicile through the spouse. In such cases, the college or university will look at the spouse's domicile to determine if the student is eligible for in-state. 


Veterans, Military Members, Spouses and Dependents
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              Veterans, military members, military spouses, and military dependents should review the State Council's

              website for the most current information regarding the establishment of Virginia domicile and the

              provisions for in-state tuition rates.


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  • The fact that an individual is a citizen of another country does not automatically disqualify that person from establishing domicile in Virginia. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you will need to present your immigration documentation to the institution. 
  • It is very difficult for undocumented aliens to establish domicile in Virginia. Immigration status is a very strong indication that the student does not intend to remain in Virginia indefinitely. 


Common Questions about Establishing Domicile
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  1. What is "substantial financial support"?
    Substantial financial support means financial support in an amount as much or more than what is required to qualify the individual to be listed as a dependent on tax returns (50% or more of the student's support). 
  2. Can I establish domicile while I am a student? 
    However, mere physical presence or residence primarily for educational purposes does not make a student a Virginia domiciliary. If you leave Virginia for vacations and summer work, you will have an even more difficult time proving that you intend to stay in Virginia. 
  3. If I am financially dependent on my spouse, can I establish my own domicile?
    Yes. Married persons may establish domicile in the same manner as unmarried persons, by showing intent to stay in Virginia and maintaining domicile for 12 months. A married person does not automatically have the same domicile as his or her spouse even if the person is financially dependent on the spouse. A person who is married and is financially dependent on his or her spouse has the option of claiming the spouse's domicile if the student chooses to do so. 
  4. What if I disagree with a college or university's determination of my domicile?
    Public institutions of higher education have established an appeals process for students who question a decision on eligibility for in-state tuition. A student who wishes to appeal an institution's final decision may have the case reviewed in circuit court. Decisions concerning student eligibility for the Tuition Assistance Grant Program may be appealed to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. 


Other ways to qualify for in-state tuition
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If you are a student at a public institution and you do not establish domicile in Virginia, you might still qualify for in-state tuition if you are:  

      • a nonmilitary student whose parent or spouse is a member of the military
      • a student who lives outside Virginia but who works or whose parent works in Virginia
      • a high school student who is in a dual enrollment program at a community college,
      • a Clinch Valley College student who resides in Kentucky and who lives within 50 miles of Clinch Valley College
      • a student attending college through a special arrangement contract entered by your employer and the institution you plan to attend.  

    Please contact the college or university you plan to attend to obtain more information about these ways to qualify for in-state tuition. 


    101 North Fourteenth Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219 Phone: (801) 225-2I37
    Fax: (801) 225-2604 TDD: (801) 371-48017



Domicile Brochure
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Download Establishing Virginia Domicile

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