Establishing Residency

Individuals can establish residency for tuition purposes via several different options.  One option is through high school graduation and the other options are based on establishment and maintenance of a domicile and the intent to establish residency in Texas.

To establish residency through high school graduation, a person must:

  1. Graduate from a high school in Texas or receive a GED in Texas; and
  2. Physically reside in Texas for the 36 consecutive months immediately prior to high school graduation; and
  3. Physically reside in Texas for the 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the census date of the semester in which the student enrolls in a Texas public college or university

If you are neither a US Citizen nor have issued a Permanent Resident card issued from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), you are considered as an International Student and must also submit a copy of the Affidavit of Intent to Become a Permanent Resident stating that you will apply for permanent residency when you are eligible to do so.

If you do not meet all three of the above listed criteria, you must wait until you have met all of the above criteria before you can change your residency status or you can see if you meet one of the other options.

This option for establishing residency in Texas is available to:
  • Citizens or permanent residents of the US (Non-citizens and non-permanent residents may also use this option if they have an application for permanent residency on file with the US Citizenship and Immigration Service for at least 1 year without being denied.)
  • International students who hold an eligible visa or immigration status to domicile in the U.S.

If you filed as an independent (or filed jointly with your spouse) for the previous tax year on your most recent tax filing, and you do not receive the majority of your financial support from another person who is not your spouse, you may gain residency if you establish and maintain a domicile in Texas and show your intent to establish residency in Texas.

To establish residency you must meet the following criteria:

  1. Physically reside in Texas and have for the previous 12 consecutive months; and
  2. Establish and maintain a domicile in Texas for 12 consecutive months.  The following factors, if maintained for twelve consecutive months while residing in Texas, may lend support to a claim of domicile and intent to establish residency in Texas:
    1. Have sole or joint-marital ownership of residential real property in Texas which is your primary residence.
    2. Ownership and customary management of a business in Texas which is regularly operated without the intention of liquidation for the foreseeable future.
    3. Gainful employment that is sufficient to provide at least one-half of the individual's expenses or that represents an average of at least twenty hours of employment per week. Employment conditioned on student status, such as work study, the receipt of stipends, fellowships, or research or teaching assistantships does not constitute gainful employment.
    4. Marriage to a person who has resided and maintained domicile (items a-c above) in Texas.

The residency for tuition purposes of a student who is not independent is based upon that of the parent or court-appointed legal guardian who claims that student as a dependent for federal income tax purposes or provides more than half that student's financial support, regardless of the length of time the student has resided in Texas. If the parent or court-appointed legal guardian of a dependent student meets the criteria of having established residency for tuition purposes, the dependent student is eligible to pay resident tuition. Parents and legal guardians qualify for Texas Residency by following the same criteria as independent individuals listed above.

Students are not able to obtain residency through family members, sponsors, or individuals who are not their biological or adoptive parent, or court-appointed legal guardian, even if that person claims them on taxes or provides the majority of their financial need.

A member of the United States Armed Services whose Home of Record with the military is Texas is presumed to be a Texas resident, as are his or her spouse and dependent children. A member whose Home of Record is not Texas but who provides the institution Leave and Earnings Statements that show the member has claimed Texas as his or her place of residence for the 12 consecutive months prior to enrollment is presumed to be a Texas resident, as are his or her spouse and dependent children.

If you did not select Texas as your Home of Record when you entered the service, and you have not taken steps to change your permanent residence with the military to Texas, you may still qualify for a waiver under Texas statutes.

Students who do not meet any of the above criteria for establishing residency for tuition purposes may still be eligible to pay the resident tuition rate. Please contact Student Business Services at 979-847-3337 or see for more details.

For a student to request a change of residency status, they must submit a completed copy of the Core Residency Questions form.  Along with the form, the student must submit supporting documentation that proves he/she or their parent (if a dependent) have met the requirements to be classified as a Texas Resident for tuition purposes.  Students can submit the Core Residency Questions form without supporting documentation and then wait until the form is reviewed for a Residency Determination Officer to contact them and notify them of the required supporting documentation to submit.

The Office of the Registrar and the Office of Admissions have the right to request further documentation from the student in order to determine if residency requirements were clearly and convincingly met.

Examples of supporting documentation:

  • Physically residing in Texas – Utility bills, lease agreement, bank statements, credit card statements, paystubs
  • Gainful employment in Texas  – Paystubs, letter from employer(s), payroll history
  • Ownership of a business in Texas – Tax documents, documents of establishment of business with State or county, Articles of Incorporation
  • Ownership of residential real property in Texas – Deed, title, property tax, Appraisal District information

Documentation must show 12 consecutive months of being maintained in Texas.

Immigration Status

Residency Determination Officers' Contact Information