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Western Colorado's Selective University

Colorado Residency Requirements

In-state status requires domicile in Colorado for the year immediately preceding the first day of class. During the one-year domicile period, students should comply with all legal obligations of a Colorado resident. Students under age 22, un-emancipated minors, are eligible for in-state tuition if a parent or court-appointed legal guardian has been domiciled in Colorado for one year and satisfies all legal obligations of a Colorado resident.

Colorado’s tuition classification statutes place the burden of proof on the student to provide clear and convincing evidence of eligibility. Tuition classification is governed by Colorado State Law (CO Revised Statutes §23-7-101, et. seq.) and by judicial decisions that apply to all public institutions of higher education in Colorado. Colorado Mesa University does not have discretion to make exceptions to the rules as established by state law. There is no provision in the state statutes for retroactive compliance. Because Colorado law governs Colorado residency status, the fact that a student might not qualify for in-state status in any other state does not guarantee in-state status in Colorado. Although individuals may be considered state residents for voting and other legal purposes after being in the state for a short period of time, the tuition law specifies additional requirements for classification as "in-state" for tuition purposes.

“Domicile" is used to describe the place where an individual has demonstrated intent to make a permanent home and legal residence. Both physical presence (see #1 below) and evidence of intent (see #2 below) must be in place to begin the domicile year. Financial emancipation (see #3 below) is an additional requirement applied to students 22 years of age or younger whose parents do not permanently reside in Colorado.

Since domicile is defined as a permanent home and legal residence, being in Colorado solely for school purposes and/or temporarily for other purposes does not qualify as domicile for Colorado residency.

  1. Physical presence is your actual permanent home and legal residence. Proof of physical presence may include all of the following:
    • Lease agreements
    • Rent receipts
    • Home ownership
    • Statement from a landlord
  2. Evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence is demonstrated by giving up all your legal ties with your prior state and establishing them with Colorado for 12 continuous months. Proof that demonstrates evidence of intent, as specified by the residency statute, may include all of the following:
    • Colorado driver’s license or ID
    • Colorado motor vehicle registration
    • Permanent, full-time, off-campus employment
    • Colorado voter registration
    • Change in permanent address on all pertinent records
    • Payment of Colorado state income taxes as a Colorado resident
    • Withholding of Colorado state taxes from wages
    • Ownership of residential property in Colorado

    Intent is demonstrated by several kinds of connections with the state dated within the one year period prior to the beginning of classes. There is no formula or checklist to follow in establishing domicile. Generally, physical presence (as shown by rent receipts, leases or statements from landlords, home ownership, etc.) plus one connection with the state will not be sufficient to establish domicile. Several connections are necessary, and the more connections that are made, the greater chance a person has of qualifying for residency. Any connections maintained with any other state during the 12-month period for establishing domicile may be viewed as negative intent to make Colorado one’s permanent home.

  3. Financial emancipation applies to minors under 23 years of age who are no longer considered dependents and are not supported by their parents. An emancipated minor can begin establishing domicile on the date of emancipation. Proof of emancipation is documented by submitting CMU’s Petition for In-State Tuition Classification to the Office of Admission by 5:00 p.m. on the first day of classes.

    Evidence of legal ties outside of Colorado during the domicile year that demonstrate residency in another state may include the following:

    • Failure to file a Colorado state income tax return
    • Failure to have Colorado state income taxes withheld from your wages
    • Filing a Colorado state income tax return as a non-resident
    • Failure to obtain a Colorado driver’s license or Colorado ID
    • Maintenance of a home in another state
    • Prolonged absence from Colorado
    • Registering the vehicle you operate in another state
    • Residing in another state between academic terms or when not enrolled as a student
    • Any other factor unique to the individual which tends to imply your permanent home and legal residence is in another state

Additional information and answers to frequently asked questions.