FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

In this page you will find answers to the Bursar's most frequently asked questions by students and families. You can click on the "Category" drop down menu below or type a keyword in the "Search FAQ" box, then click on "Apply Filters" to see the results. You can also scroll down to view all FAQs.

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General Questions

Accompanying other documentary evidence, a student should submit a copy of his/her parent(s)' Federal tax return or a notarized statement from them indicating they are not providing the student's support or claiming the student as a dependent for tax reasons.

Students receiving financial aid should be classified as independent for financial aid purposes.

In addition, if the parents have taken out loans to support the student's education (such as Federal Direct PLUS loans), the student would not be considered independent, unless compelling evidence to the contrary is presented.

The student should be prepared to show that he/she has sufficient means to support him/herself.

No. Ownership of real estate or payment of real estate taxes in Pennsylvania does not necessarily qualify a student for residency for tuition purposes.

Residency is based on a person's domicile (a person's existing and intended fixed, permanent and principal place of residence).

Unless your parent(s) live in the home and pay PA state taxes as resident(s) of the state, ownership of real estate does not qualify a student for residency.

Not necessarily. Marriage to a resident of the Commonwealth is just one factor considered in the decision regarding residency. The larger factor would be the establishment of an independent, permanent domicile in the Commonwealth.

Yes. Residency for tuition purposes is a policy of Penn State. While you may meet the requirements to become a registered voter or a licensed driver, you still may not qualify for residency for tuition purposes.

Generally, unless a student has 12 months of continuous residence in the state prior to enrollment, the student is considered a non-resident.

The 12-month requirement cannot be met while attending Penn State - the student is assumed to be in the Commonwealth for educational purposes.

Although the student might be considered a resident of the Commonwealth, the student would remain as a non-resident for tuition purposes, unless there was clear evidence that the student's circumstances had changed and that a permanent, independent domicile in Pennsylvania has been established.

Residents of Washington DC will be classified as out-of-state residents for tuition purposes.

These students may be eligible for the DC Tuition Assistance Program (DC TAG). This program allows the student to attend any public institution in the nation and pay the in-state tuition rate. The grant will pay the difference between the in-state and out-of-state tuition rate and is considered a source of financial aid. The DC TAG program is subject to certain maximum dollar limitations.

DC TAG program details can be found at: http://osse.dc.gov/service/dctag-get-funding-college.

No. The alumni status of a student's parents does not determine his/her residency status. To review Penn State's Residency Policy, click here.

Possibly. If the biological parent of a student is a Pennsylvania resident, the student would be considered a resident for tuition purposes, provided that supporting documentation is provided with a residency review

No. Residency status will depend on consideration of the factors identified in the policy in order to determine whether the student has established a permanent, independent domicile in the Commonwealth. Unless the relative is a legal court-appointed guardian of the student, the relative's residency status does not impact the decision. The same applies to living with family friends who are residents of the Commonwealth.

Possibly. A student who changes his/her place of residence from Pennsylvania to another state is required to give prompt written notice of this change to the University and shall be considered for reclassification effective with the date of such change. The written notice should be provided to the Residency Officer, 103 Shields Building, University Park, PA 16802.

If a student has maintained continuous residence in the Commonwealth for other than educational purposes for a period of at least 12 months immediately prior to his/her initial enrollment at The Pennsylvania State University and, the student continues to maintain such separate residence, the residency of the parents generally does not come into play.

If the student remains in the Commonwealth and graduates from a Pennsylvania high school, it may be possible to be considered a resident for tuition purposes, depending on the circumstances of the case.

However, if the student relocates with the parents out of the state, and does not have 12 months of residency for non-educational reasons prior to enrollment at Penn State, the student would most likely be classified as a non-resident. There is no "banking" of prior time in the Commonwealth - the residency requirements relate to the 12 months preceding enrollment at the University.

Military personnel and their dependents who are assigned to an active duty station in Pennsylvania and who reside in Pennsylvania can be classified as residents for tuition purposes.

A student should submit a cover letter, a copy of the service member's orders, and a copy of his/her parent's deed or lease as documentation.

Any member of the armed forces who was a resident of Pennsylvania immediately preceding entry into the service and who has continuously maintained Pennsylvania as his/her domicile is presumed to have a Pennsylvania domicile.

A student should submit a cover letter in addition to documentation of the service member's home of record.

National Guard and Reserves are not considered active duty military. If a student is an out-of-state student for purposes of tuition, the classification will not change upon joining the National Guard or Reserves, even if the home of record for the military is Pennsylvania.

Active duty for training, such as the two-week annual training or specialist school, would not qualify a student as having served in active duty. However, if a student in the National Guard or Reserves is called into active duty, with a home of record of Pennsylvania, and is later discharged into Pennsylvania, the student would be considered an in-state student for purposes of tuition upon re-enrollment at Penn State.

Form DD214 would need to be submitted to show the home of record upon discharge. See: http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/dd-214.html.

No. You must be a U.S. citizen or a permanent resident immigrant with a green card or I-551 passport stamp to be considered for residency for tuition purposes. If you have some extraordinary circumstances you would like considered, you may contact the Residency Officer for your campus.

A student has until the last day of the effective semester to file his/her petition with the Residency Officer.

Any reclassification would be effective at the beginning of the semester or session during which the appeal was filed or at the beginning of the following semester or session at the discretion of the person or committee rendering the decision on reclassification.

Yes. Refund requests should be directed to the Bursar's office at your campus location. Use the Contact Us form in our website.

Yes. A written request should be made to the University Appeals Committee on Residence Classification. You may submit additional documentation with your request for appeal, but the Committee will get a copy of your residency case file from the Residency Officer, so there is no need to resend any information previously submitted.

The student is notified in writing of the Committee's decision.

If you wish to be present at the Committee meeting, please indicate this in your letter, so that you may be notified of the meeting time and date. It is not necessary to attend the meeting in person, but if you do attend, you will have the opportunity to verbally present your reasons for believing you should be granted in-state residency. A decision is NOT made while you are present. PLEASE NOTE: ONLY THE STUDENT MAY MEET WITH THE COMMITTEE. Parents, other parties, advocates or representatives are not permitted to attend.

This committee meets every other month. Therefore, if your initial petition is denied, it is advantageous to submit the petition for appeal as soon as possible

Beginning with the summer 2015 session, all eligible veterans and dependents receiving Chapter 33, Chapter 35 or Fry Scholarship benefits will be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of residency. Residency will be reclassified once the veteran or dependent is certified by the School Certifying Official.

"GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill

Beginning with the summer 2015 session, if you are a veteran and you are not using GI Bill® benefits, please contact your campus Certifying Official to determine requirements to establish eligibility for the in-state rate. A list of Certifying Officials can be found at http://equity.psu.edu/veterans/pdf/certifying-officials-list.

"GI Bill®” is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill


Please refer to the Residency Review section on our website for information and details on the required documentation. Once the residency review documentation has been received, the student will receive an email confirmation sent to the student’s Penn State email address.

For purposes of determining residency status, a guardian must be an individual who has been appointed by the United States court system (i.e., court-appointed guardian). Guardianship can only be established through court order, and the student must prove that any change in guardianship is not for in-state tuition purposes, and that their guardian's presence within the state is not primarily for the purposes of education. The student must submit a copy of the file-stamped court decree appointing their guardian(s) if the student is using the guardian(s) to establish residency status.

Please note that a person other than a parent who claims the student as a dependent for income tax purposes is not considered the student's guardian solely due to that tax claim. Notarized letters, signed Affidavits, claims of guardianship under Pennsylvania school code, guardianship documentation from foreign courts, and Power of Attorney paperwork are also insufficient to establish guardianship.

Except in extremely limited circumstances, there will be no exceptions to how guardianship is established.

Please refer to the Residency Policy and Review on our website for an overview of the process.  

Once the residency review documentation has been received, the student will receive an email confirmation sent to the student’s Penn State email address.


The Admissions office determines a student's residency status based on the information provided on each student's application.

Domicile is a person's existing and intended fixed, permanent, and principal place of residence.

Please click here for a list of potential documentary evidence.