OLR Research Report

January 13, 2004





By: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

You want to know how Connecticut's higher education institutions determine who is a resident for purposes of charging in-state tuition under CGS 10a-29 and 10a-30.

All of the institutions indicated that they follow the requirements specified in the statutes when determining residency for purposes of in-state tuition charges.

To qualify for in-state tuition under the law, a person (or his parents in the case of a dependent) must be domiciled in Connecticut for at least 12 months. Domicile is a legal term that means “the place at which the person is physically present and that the person regards as home; a person's true, fixed, principal, and permanent home, to which that person intends to return and remain even though currently residing elsewhere” (Black's Law Dictionary, 7th Ed. , 1999). An emancipated person cannot establish domicile merely by attending a Connecticut university full-time, in the absence of a clear demonstration of intent to establish a Connecticut domicile.

Unemancipated children of members of the military on active duty in the state qualify for the in-state tuition rates even if they have not lived in the state for a full 12 months. Anyone employed full-time in Connecticut can apply for residency status for his spouse and unemancipated children after living in the state for six months if he provides evidence of domicile and the employee is not in the state primarily as a full-time student. Also, the spouse of anyone classified as an in-state resident qualifies for in-state tuition (CGS 10a-28 & 10a-29).

All of the institutions require applicants to submit documents to attest to their residency. In UConn's case, for example, the applicant must sign a tuition residency affidavit attesting to whether he has resided continuously at a Connecticut address for at least one year.

The text of the affidavit is as follows:

By my signature, I certify that all personal academic, and residency information given on this application is complete and accurate. Failure to disclose fully and accurately all facts relating to this application may be grounds for denial of admission, loss of course credit, and/or suspension. If admitted, I pledge myself to comply, in good faith, with all the rules and regulations of the University of Connecticut.

The applicant must submit high school transcripts, copies of his parents' tax filings, and other documentation, which may include a valid driver's license, evidence of military home of record, voter registration, car registration, and bank account and employment information.

An applicant who has not met the one-year residency standard must provide overwhelming proof of intent to live in Connecticut. Apparently, the institutions have some discretion as to what constitutes proof and how much weight to give the documentation the applicant presents. Among the things, the institution will consider whether the applicant has bought a house in the state, registered and licensed his car in the state, changed his postal address to a Connecticut address, registered to vote in Connecticut, filed for federal financial aid and changed supporting documentation to reflect his Connecticut connections, or brought his children and other family members to stay with him. As a practical matter, according to Wally Kostrzewa, the community colleges apply the standard in a way that favors the student.