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Residency Classification Office
1130 Mitchell Bldg · College Park, Maryland 20742 · 301-314-9596
FAX: 301-314-7915 · resclass@umd.edu

   FAQ's

AN OVERVIEW of
THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND POLICY ON CLASSIFICATION for
ADMISSION and TUITION PURPOSES

The University of Maryland, like most public institutions of higher education, classifies students as "in-state" and "out of state" for various purposes, including assessing tuition. "In-State" tuition represents a significant financial subsidy toward the cost of education paid by the State of Maryland and the University.

The Board of Regents limits eligibility for "In-State" to a narrowly defined group of students. If all the elements in the definition of "In-State" are not met, the student will be classified as "Out of State," unless an established exception in the policy exists.

An "In-State" student is defined as a person who can demonstrate having completely met all 9 of the criteria established by the Regents. The first and threshold requirement is the student "Is not residing in the State of Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution." If the student was attending school or residing outside Maryland at the time of application for admission, then it will be presumed the student does not meet this requirement. The student may, however, rebut this presumption with facts that demonstrate the contrary - i.e., he or she is in the State primarily for other reasons. This includes, but is not limited to, substantial non-University affiliated community involvement, employment, etc.

Also, if the student is financially dependent upon a person who is not a resident of Maryland, then here too it will be presumed the criteria is not met. Again, the student may rebut this presumption with facts that demonstrate the contrary.

There is also a duration requirement in the definition of "In-State." All 9 of the criteria must have been continuously in place throughout the 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the last day for registration for the semester or term for which "In-State" status is sought. A student will be required to document that he or she does in fact meet all of the criteria for the twelve month period.

An "Out-of-State" or "In-State" classification is not permanent. An "Out-of-State" student may petition the Campus Classification Office to change to an "In-State" status. Reclassifications must be made in advance of the semester in which they are to take effect. A change to "In-State" is not retroactive. Should the Campus Classification Office decline to grant a petition, limited appeal avenues are available and must be pursued within 15 business days of an adverse decision. Students have an obligation to inform the Campus Classification Office of personal circumstances which may make them ineligible for continued In-State status.


Q: Does this Overview discuss all the classification rules?

No. It is not intended to be a restatement or comprehensive explanation of the classification system. It is offered informally only to answer questions most frequently asked by students. The Board of Regents Policy on Student Classification for Admission and Tuition Purposes (VIII-2.70) (the "Classification Policy") is the complete and only authoritative source. It is the responsibility of students wishing to understand their status or change it to familiarize themselves with the complete Classification Policy. This Overview does not supplant or amend any part of the Classification Policy, which is controlling.

Q: I maintain a Maryland mailing address. Is this enough to qualify me for In-State tuition?

No. Simply living in Maryland for 12 consecutive months or having mail delivered to you in the State does not entitle you to In-State status. A continuous physical presence in Maryland is certainly important, but it is only one of several requirements established by the Regents. Equally important, for example, are the circumstances that brought you to Maryland and then, the extent to which you have taken other actions including the assumption of civic responsibilities which, in the judgment of the Regents, are minimally needed to objectively demonstrate a reasonable probability you intend to remain in Maryland following graduation and benefit the community. Generally, only this narrowly defined group is granted In-State status.

Q: What are all the criteria I must fulfill for 12 months to meet the Regents definition of "In-State" status?

There are 9 criteria. They may be condensed as follows:

1.Owning or renting and continuously occupying living quarters in Maryland. There must be a genuine deed or lease in the student's name. It is expected that any mortgage or rent be in sync with market rates

2.Having substantially all personal property in Maryland.

3.Paying Maryland income tax.

4.Registering all vehicles in Maryland

5.If licensed, possessing a valid Maryland driver's license.

6.If registered, being registered to vote in Maryland.

7.Receiving no public assistance from a state other than Maryland.

8.Having the legal ability under law to live permanently and without interruption in Maryland.

9.Rebutting the presumption that he or she is in Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution.

You MUST read the Classification Policy to learn the details of each requirement.

Q: I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. I had not previously lived in Maryland. I was admitted as an "Out-of-State" student. Quite some time has now passed and I believe I meet all the criteria for "In-State." Am I eligible to be reclassified?

Yes. A classification decision is based on the facts as they exist at the time you seek reclassification. At the time you were admitted, you were assigned "Out-of-State" status. You satisfied few, if any, of the criteria for being "In-State". Principal among these was that you were "... [R]esiding in the State of Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution." There is a presumption in the Classification Policy that says if you were residing outside Maryland at the time of application, you are residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution. And, in fact, the presumption was valid. You had come to Maryland primarily to attend the University.

However, with the passage of time, your personal, professional, and/economic circumstances may have changed. So, an examination of the facts in your Petition for Reclassification may now demonstrate you are residing in Maryland for a more complex set of reasons. You may no longer be here primarily to attend the University. For example, you may hold a job in the community; have bought a house here; have a Maryland spouse; or have children in Maryland public schools.

Your original Out-of-State classification is not permanent. The presumption originally raised by your application from another state may no longer be valid. It can be rebutted with new facts. But, the burden is on you. You should outline your reasons for living in Maryland as part of your Petition for Reclassification. Obviously, you must meet all the other criteria as well.

Q: When I applied to the University I was living in another state and until last year was claimed as a tax-dependent on my parents who are not residents of Maryland. How can I rebut this presumption that I am primarily living in Maryland for educational reasons?

There is no formula to rebutting this presumption, rather you must demonstrate that you intend to make Maryland your permanent home and reside in Maryland indefinitely. The policy's section entitled "Rebuttal Evidence," also provides some examples of objectively verifiable conduct upon which the University bases the decision on in-state status. It is important to note that satisfying the minimum civic requirements does not rebut the presumption that you are residing in Maryland primarily for education reasons. Rather, you must provide clear, convincing and objective evidence of your actual primary reason for living in Maryland (e.g. full-time employment, family, etc.)

Q: I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. Before college, however, I had lived my entire life in Maryland. I went to high school in Maryland. My parents have always lived in Maryland. I am financially independent, but shall live at home with them. Will I be admitted as "In-State"?

Not necessarily. Again, because you were residing in another state at the time of application, the Out-of-State presumption in the Classification Policy is triggered. Your status will depend on your ability to assemble sufficient facts about yourself to rebut the conclusion that you are now residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending the University. Again, such things as family circumstances, personal relationships, and employment separate from the campus may also have played a role. These will be considered by the University when assessing your primary reason for residing in the State.

Q: I have read the Classification Policy. Except for the 12-month requirement, I meet most of the criteria for being an "In-State" student. I don't qualify for In-State status in any other state. So, in these circumstances won't I be granted In-State status here? After all, a person has to be "In-State" somewhere?

No. You cannot be classified "In-State" at Maryland by default. In every state system the formula for attaining favored tuition status is different. And although classification policies across the country commonly employ the term "resident," they usually also define it differently. In fact, the policies seldom rely on traditional notions of simple "residency," meaning little more than physical presence or domicile. They present a more rigorous set of objective tests, varying in emphasis depending on the purpose and philosophy of each governing board.

Q: My employer has transferred me to Maryland. In this situation, am I still required to meet all 9 criteria for a full twelve months before qualifying for In-State status?

Yes. Generally, there is no advantage given persons transferred to Maryland as a condition of employment. The exception in the Classification Policy is for active duty members of the United States Armed Services.

Q: I have been classified as an Out-of-State student and want to qualify for In-State status. Will leaving Maryland for the summer affect my eligibility?

Yes, leaving Maryland for the summer or during semester breaks may jeopardize your reclassification. Every case will be judged individually. However, if you regularly return to a former residence in another state, it reasonably suggests you are now residing in Maryland primarily to attend the University.

Q: I pay income and property taxes to the State of Maryland. Does this entitle me to In-State status?

No. Paying all applicable Maryland taxes is just one of the 9 requirements necessary to being awarded an In-State classification. Taken by itself, paying taxes will not result in In-State status. Conversely, however, not paying all required taxes will result in an Out-of-State classification - e.g., not paying tax on all taxable income, including all taxable income earned outside the State.

Q: How important is it for me to obtain a Maryland driver's license, register my automobile in Maryland, and register to vote in Maryland.

These are three of the 9 requirements in the Regents' definition of an "In-State" student. The Classification Policy does not weigh the requirements differently. Satisfying each of the 9 is equally important; neglecting any is potentially disqualifying.

If you maintain a driver's license or own an automobile, it is very important that it be a Maryland license or registration. If before coming to the University you maintained a license or registration in another state, it must be changed to Maryland if you wish to be granted In-State status. It needs to be changed within the time required under Maryland law. The law requires you obtain a Maryland driver's license and register your car within 60 days of moving to Maryland.

If you are registered to vote, you must change the registration to Maryland before voting again. Actively maintaining a voter's registration in another state or voting there, are inconsistent with the requirements of being considered "In-State".

Q: Might my classification be affected by my finances?

Yes, in one situation it may. If you are financially dependent on a person not a resident of Maryland, then the Classification Policy presumes you are residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution. You may present evidence to rebut this presumption; but, if you are not successful, you will be assigned Out-of-State status.

Q: I am a Graduate Assistant and receive tuition remission. My bill shows I am being charged "In-State" tuition. Does this mean I have been given "In-State" status?

As part of the compensation package for Graduate Assistants, the University pays some or all of your tuition through "tuition remission." Graduate Assistants receiving remission are billed tuition and fees at the In-State rate. This is just an administrative accounting transaction. It has no relevance or effect on your classification status. Your proper status was indicated on your admission letter. You will always retain that classification unless you successfully petition to have it changed through the established procedures of the Classification Office. If you were classified as Out-of-State, when you no longer receive tuition remission, you will be billed at that rate.

Q: Is it true some international students have In-State status?

No. "International students" or "foreign students", meaning citizens of another country wishing to enter the United States for the purpose of attending a university, may legally do so only with a visa. There are many types of visas. International students almost uniformly hold either an "F" or a "J" visa. These do not permit an international student to remain permanently in this country; they must leave when their enrollment ends. They sign a statement to the effect they will do so. However, among the 9 criteria that must be satisfied by a student desiring "In State" status is the "... legal ability under Federal and Maryland law to live permanently without interruption in Maryland." International students do not have this legal ability. Also, virtually all international students are residing in the State of Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution.

"International students" are not to be confused with the broader class of students who simply are not citizens of the United States. The University enrolls many resident (or "immigrant") aliens. Many have lived in the United States for a considerable period of time. They, like citizens, have the legal ability to live permanently without interruption in Maryland. They may be eligible for In-State status.

The University also enrolls many non-resident (or "non-immigrant") aliens. Non-resident aliens living in the United States must hold visas. They have been admitted for many different and specialized purposes. Some types of visas are as restrictive as the "F" and "J" visas, but others are not. Depending on the type of visa, a student from a foreign country may well be eligible for In-State status. To discuss whether or not your visa status potentially qualifies for in-state status, please visit the Campus Classification Office.

Q: When and how is my In-State or Out-of-State classification established?

Your classification is first established at the time of admission to the University. It is determined by the Admissions Office based on information you have been encouraged to provide as part of the application process. Because the burden of demonstrating entitlement to In-State status rests with you, if you have not provided this information or if it is incomplete, you will be assigned Out-of-State status. Once admitted to the University, you will retain this classification unless and until you file a successful Petition for Change in Classification for Admission, Tuition, and Charge Differential ("Petition for Change"). This change is not automatic, but must be initiated by a timely Petition for Change in Classification.

Q: I recently realized I have been paying Out-of-State tuition for quite a while. I think this classification was in error. If I file a Petition for Change and it is granted, will I be eligible for a retroactive tuition refund?

No. It is your responsibility to know your classification and take timely action to challenge it if you believe it incorrect. A Petition for Change is granted only prospectively.

Q: What is the deadline for filing a Petition for Change?

The deadline is the first day of classes in the semester for which In-State status is sought. By that time, a complete Petition for Change with all required supporting documents must be delivered to the Campus Classification Office. Incomplete Petitions will not be accepted or considered.

Q: I am classified Out-of-State and have filed a Petition for Change. Does this put a "hold" on my Out-of-State tuition charge?

No. While your Petition for Change is being considered, you are responsible for paying your entire Out-of-State bill on time. If your Petition is granted, you will be credited with the tuition differential.

Q: I do not meet all 9 criteria needed to make me eligible for In-State status. This will cause me such financial hardship that I may not be able to enroll. I need an exception to requirements. Are they ever made in a case like mine?

No. The Board of Regents does not permit exceptions on account of personal financial hardship.

The Board of Regents, however, has authorized an assignment of In-State status to some groups of persons regardless of the 9 criteria. Relevant to the University, these are:

1. Full-time or part-time (50% time or more) regular employees of the University.

2. The spouse or dependent child of the above employees.

3. Certain full-time active duty members of the United States armed forces and their spouses and dependent children.

4. Current active members of the Maryland National Guard.

5. Certain honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States.

6. Graduate Assistants during the term of their appointment.

You must read the Classification Policy to learn the requirements of each exception.

The Board of Regents has also authorized the President of the University to waive any of the 9 criteria if he determines "the student is indeed In-State and the application of the criteria creates an unjust result." Waivers are rarely granted by the President (usually no more than one or two a semester). Financial hardship is not an authorized basis for a Presidential waiver.

Q: Does appealing my residency decision guarantee an approval?

No. At every level of the petition process, including appeals, your documentation is carefully considered. Appeals are meant for you to bring additional information that supports [a] your case and [b] your inability to meet the policy requirements for the requisite 12 month period. By appealing, you do not earn automatic approval for in-state status. Appeals are warranted if, and only if, a student provides sufficient documentation (as determined by appeal designates) of a rare, unforeseen and/or compelling circumstance that precludes them from meeting any or all of the policy criteria.

Q: Can I qualify for in-state status if I, as a civilian, just moved to Maryland as a result of Base Realignment and Closure?

Yes, a student may qualify for in-state status if they moved to Maryland as the result of Defense Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC). The BRAC waiver adopted by the University System of Maryland waives the 12 month waiting period to qualify for in-state status.  Students, as of the first day of classes for the term they are seeking in-state status, must change all their information (address, driver’s license, voter registration, tax withholding information, vehicle title/registration, etc.) to the state of Maryland. In addition to submitting a complete petition with all of the requested documentation, students and/or their parent/guardian (as appropriate) would have to provide a copy of the DD1614 form (Request/Authorization for DOD Civilian Permanent Duty Station form) and a letter from their unit stating that they have been moved to the state of Maryland as a result of BRAC in order to waive the 12 month requirement. Please note: the BRAC waiver expires October 27, 2011.

Q: With whom might I speak for more information?

You may contact the Campus Classification Office at resclass@umd.edu or telephone (301) 314-9596. You may also visit the Office in Room 1130, Mitchell Building.


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