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In-State Tuition Classification Consideration

Please note that time spent on a CMU reduced tuition program (Western Undergraduate Exchange or Mountains and Plains) does not count towards the twelve month domiciliary period. Please refer to terms and conditions of WUE or M&P.

In-state status requires domicile in Colorado for the year immediately preceding the first day of class.

During the one-year domiciliary 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 Admissions Office prior to the first day of the semester. Evidence of legal ties outside of Colorado during the domicile year that demonstrates 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

See the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) summary of tuition classification regulations for additional information.

Additional In-State Tuition Classification Consideration

Additional populations may be eligible for in-state consideration:

  • Residents without lawful immigration status may be eligible for in-state status if they meet all criteria through ASSET. Please see the ASSET qualifications.
  • Students affiliated with a Native American tribe with historical ties to Colorado
  • Special immigrants and refugees.
  • Residents of the Freely Associated States (Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau).
  • For additional population consideration, please review the Colorado Revised Statutes, Sections 23-7-101 to 104 and 23-7-105 to 113
Tribal Registration

Under the Colorado American Indian Tribes In-State Tuition Act (effective Fall 2021), a student who would not otherwise qualify for in-state tuition and who is a registered member of one of the federally recognized American Indian tribes with historical ties to Colorado, as designated by the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs in partnership with History Colorado, is eligible to be classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes.

Special Immigrants & Refugees

According to Senate Bill 18-087 (effective Fall 2018), a foreign national admitted to the United States as a refugee or special immigrant who settles in Colorado upon entering the United States is eligible for classification as an in-state student immediately upon settlement in Colorado. The primary purpose for settlement in Colorado must not be solely for educational purposes.

Required documentation may include:

  • A copy of your Form I-589 or other proof of application
  • If you're under the age of 23: A copy of your Colorado parent's immigration status to the United States
  • If you've recently applied for U.S. permanent residency: A copy of your I-485 receipt notice