Residency Categories

Applicants for admission who have met the California residence requirements may be divided into the following categories:

  1. Applicants whose legal residence is in the Pasadena Area Community College District. This consists of the following school districts: Arcadia, a portion of El Monte, La Cañada Flintridge, Pasadena, Rosemead, San Marino, South Pasadena and Temple City.
  2. Applicants whose legal residence is in California but not within the area of a California community college district and who therefore may attend a community college of their choice.
  3. Applicants whose legal residence is within another California community college district.
  4. Applicants who do not qualify as legal California residents for tuition purposes are determined to have nonresident status. Such applicants will be required to pay nonresident tuition fees.

Establishing California Residency


To establish California residency for tuition purposes, you must:

  1. Be eligible to be a California resident
  2. Have one year’s physical residence in the state of California
  3. Show evidence of intent to remain in California.
  4. For students seeking reclassification from nonresident to resident status, evidence of financial independence from any nonresident of California.

Resources for Establishing Residency

The burden is on the student to demonstrate clearly both physical presence in California and intent to establish permanent California residence. Presence and intent may be manifested in many ways — no one factor is controlling — but all those ways fall into two main categories.

    1. An individual who is 19 years of age or over, and who can provide sufficient evidence that he or she has maintained a home in California continuously for the two years prior to the residence determination date, and has not been a student during the two years, is presumed to have met the presence and intent criteria, unless the individual has taken any action inconsistent with the claim of intent as described below.
    2. An individual who is under 19 years of age is presumed to have met the presence and intent criteria if both the individual and his or her parents can show that they have maintained a home in California continuously for the two years prior to the residence determination date, unless the student has taken any action inconsistent with the claim of intent as described below.
      • Evidence of two continuous years maintenance of a home in California can take the same form as evidence of presence and intent as described below. However, the documents presented must show continuity over the two-year period. The more such documents presented, the stronger the case for classification as a resident becomes.
      • Students who do not fall into the “two-year” category described above must present evidence of one year’s presence and intent. Some types of evidence are better than others. A list of acceptable items and their relative weights is available in the Admissions Office.

Some examples of such items follow:

      • California state income tax form, voter registration, driver’s license, or automobile registration (high weight);
      • active checking or savings account in a California financial institution or active resident membership in a California professional, service, or social organization (medium weight);
      • utility deposit or installation receipts.

The more of these items presented, and the higher their relative weight, the stronger the case for classification as a California resident becomes. All documents presented must be valid, readable, dated at least one year before the residence determination date, and properly identified with respect to student name and address. Actions inconsistent with a claim of intent to remain a permanent California resident will be counted against that claim. Such actions include, but are not limited to, doing the following in a state other than California:

    • registering to vote,
    • entering into a legal agreement,
    • attending an educational institution as a resident of the other state
    • or maintaining a driver’s license or automobile registration.

In some cases, financial independence may also be considered in the evaluation of intent.

The student seeking reclassification from nonresident to resident status must show financial independence from any nonresident of California according to guidelines set forth by the State of California. In order to establish financial independence, a student seeking reclassification must show the extent to which he or she has met the following criteria for the current and each of the immediately preceding three calendar years:

  1. That the student has not been claimed as an exemption for state and federal tax purposes by his or her nonresident parents;
  2. That the student has not received more than $750 from his or her nonresident parents; and
  3. That the student has not lived in the home of his or her nonresident parents for more than six weeks in any given year.

Failure to satisfy all the financial independence criteria for the entire period will not necessarily result in classification as a nonresident if the showing of one year’s presence and intent is sufficiently strong. However, failure to satisfy all three financial independence criteria for the current and immediately preceding calendar years will normally result in classification as a nonresident, since financial independence is of greater significance for those years. Financial independence, or want of it, for the second and third calendar years immediately preceding the year in which reclassification is requested will be considered together with all other relevant factors in determining intent, with no special weight attached to the financial independence factor.

Evidence of financial independence may be presented in the form of (1) affidavits signed by student and parent indicating the extent to which the three criteria listed above have been met, and (2) copies of the federal and state income tax returns filed by student and/or parent for the current and any applicable preceding calendar years.

The residence of a minor (under 18 years of age) is determined in accordance with the following:

  1. The residence of the natural or legally adoptive parent with whom an unmarried minor lives is the residence of that minor, regardless of the length of time the minor has resided with that parent. This rule applies equally to the minor child of permanently separated parents.
  2. A married minor may establish his or her own residence. A minor who was married but thereafter divorced, retains the capacity to establish his or her own residence. A minor whose marriage has been annulled must be treated as an unmarried minor since for all intents and purposes a marriage has not occurred.
  3. If the minor lives alone, he or she takes the residence status of the parent with whom he or she last lived.
  4. If both parents are deceased and there is no court-appointed guardian, the minor may establish residence as though he or she were an adult.
  5. The residence of an unmarried minor who has a parent living cannot be changed by the minor’s own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by relinquishment of a parent’s right of control.
  6. A student who has been an adult for less than a full year (i.e., one under 19 years of age) may under certain circumstances combine the immediate pre majority derived California residence with the immediate post-majority California residence to satisfy the one year necessary for resident classification.

Any student, other than one with a United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) nonimmigrant visa status (see exception below for students who have been granted T or U visa status), who meets all of the following requirements, shall be exempt from paying nonresident tuition at the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and the California State University (all public colleges and universities in California).

Requirements:

  1. The student must have attended a high school (public or private) in California for three or more years, or attained credits earned in California from a California high school equivalent to three or more years of full-time high school course work and attended a combination of elementary, middle and/or high schools in California for a total of three or more years. (2).
  2. The student must have graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of the term (for example, passing the GED or California High School Proficiency exam).
  3. The student must file an affidavit with the college or university stating that he or she has filed an application to legalize his or her immigration status, or will file an application as soon as he or she is eligible to do so.

Additional Exceptions and Information:

  • Students who are nonimmigrants who are victims of trafficking, domestic violence, and other serious crimes who have been granted T or U visa status, under Title 8 of the United States Code, sections 1101(a)(15)(T) or (U) are eligible for this exemption. (3)
  • Students who are nonimmigrants, other than those with T or U visa status as noted above, [for example, those who hold F (student) visas, B (visitor) visas, etc.] are not eligible for this exemption.
  • The student must file an exemption request including a signed affidavit with the college that indicates the student has met all applicable conditions described above. Student information obtained in this process is strictly confidential unless disclosure is required under law.
  • Students eligible for this exemption who are transferring to another California public college or university must submit a new request (and documentation if required) to each college under consideration.
  • Nonresident students meeting the criteria will be exempted from the payment of nonresident tuition, but they will not be classified as California residents. They continue to be “nonresidents”.
  • The California Dream Act extends Cal Grant A and B Entitlement awards, Cal Grant C awards, Chaffee grants, and institutional financial aid to students that meet these criteria as well as the applicable criteria for eligibility for specific types of financial aid.
  • AB540 does not provide federal student financial aid eligibility for undocumented students. These students remain ineligible for federal financial aid.

Request an Exemption

Complete the form entitled California Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request. Submit it to the Admissions & Records Office in L-Buildin, Room 113.

Download Exemption Request Form