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Will I have any problems getting in-state tuition in California?
February 19, 2012 7:33 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are moving to San Francisco for his work. I'm in the middle of a second bachelor's degree in biochemistry/fulfilling premedical requirements. I'd like to enroll at the City College (community college) for a year and then transfer to a university after I've established residency. This will be fine, right? Have I missed anything that might enable a California university to deny me in-state tuition?

Also, I'm twenty-six years old, so I don't need to worry about my family's residency status in another state. I'm going cross-eyed reading legalese on this. Any advice?
posted by sunnichka to Education (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Focus on the standards of the state system to which you hope to transfer, because residency decisions are made at the campus level and governed by system-based rules; CSU and UC may have slightly different requrements. Take a look at the specific requirements of the school you hope to attend after establishing residency.
posted by liketitanic at 7:42 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'd like to enroll at the City College (community college) for a year and then transfer to a university after I've established residency. This will be fine, right? Have I missed anything that might enable a California university to deny me in-state tuition?

Many states will not count the time you are enrolled as a student as time towards residency- in other words, your year at the juco might not count as a year in residence as far as the university is concerned.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 7:48 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


You have to live in California for 366 days before you count as a resident for in-state tuition purposes. (.pdf)

This means City College, too - you won't be eligible for in-state tuition there until you've lived in CA a year and a day.

On preview: Also what Snarl said. Call the admissions office and ask.
posted by rtha at 7:50 PM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]



Many states will not count the time you are enrolled as a student as time towards residency- in other words, your year at the juco might not count as a year in residence as far as the university is concerned.


This doesn't appear to be true in California, at least anecdotally. My first year in graduate school counted as time towards residency.
posted by liketitanic at 7:50 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Get a California driver's license and a few utilities in your name as soon as possible. But, rtha is correct.
posted by k8t at 7:57 PM on February 19, 2012


My first year in grad school counted as time towards residency. My fellowship only paid for out-of-state tuition for one year and then in-state tuition for the following years, so I had to get residency or pay the difference in my second year. To prove my residency, I had to keep my receipts and make sure the receipts had a date, my name, and the address of a California business--that is, I had to use my credit card. I couldn't go longer than 2 weeks without receipts, I think. I'm not sure. At the end of the year, I had to submit all of the receipts. I don't know if other universities do things differently. This was UC Berkeley.
posted by CCCC at 7:57 PM on February 19, 2012


I can afford out-of-state tuition at City College, it's $200/credit hour.
posted by sunnichka at 8:00 PM on February 19, 2012


I'm not sure what school I'll want to transfer to yet, that's another metafilter question! Whichever school is better for finishing pre-medical requirements and getting a biochemistry degree.
posted by sunnichka at 8:02 PM on February 19, 2012


This doesn't appear to be true in California, at least anecdotally. My first year in graduate school counted as time towards residency....My first year in grad school counted as time towards residency.

Is this true for undergraduates as well? It would be totally awesome if it were, and I will happily stand corrected!
posted by Snarl Furillo at 8:08 PM on February 19, 2012


Anecdotally, it's a lot harder to establish state residency for tuition purposes these days. State Universities admit out of state and international students, because they pay full freight when state budgets are stretched. Thus, you should make sure that CA thinks that you are moving there for reasons other than education, if you want in-state tuition.
posted by oceano at 8:59 PM on February 19, 2012


Oceano, that's exactly what I'm worried about. How do I make sure that CA knows I'm moving here for reasons other than education? I'll be opening a California bank account and getting a California identification card ASAP, but are there any traps I might accidentally fall into that would prevent me from getting that in-state status?
posted by sunnichka at 9:07 PM on February 19, 2012


I'm so worried about it that I'm holding off on even applying for admission to City College.
posted by sunnichka at 9:07 PM on February 19, 2012


Is there a reason that you cannot contact the registrars office at the target schools? Surely the can tell you whether a year in-state while studying at a juco grants residency.
posted by oddman at 9:13 PM on February 19, 2012


I'll definitely be doing that after I decide which are my target schools, but I'd like to get advice from people who have been through this process.
posted by sunnichka at 9:26 PM on February 19, 2012


You should also register to vote and, crucially, close and cancel all other accounts and identifications based in other states. Save documentation. Also, do NOT leave the state for more than a week during the year if you can help it and retain proof (ATM receipts) that you remained in California.
posted by liketitanic at 9:27 PM on February 19, 2012


Is this true for undergraduates as well? It would be totally awesome if it were, and I will happily stand corrected!

It's basically impossible for an out-of-state undergrad to qualify for in-state tuition unless you also meet the University's criteria for financial independence or your parents are California residents. If you do, then it is probably true for undergraduates, yes. More here.
posted by liketitanic at 9:31 PM on February 19, 2012


The financial independence thing is what can be the hardest. The easiest way to do this is to work (pay taxes, etc) and be self-sufficient financially for that year you're in California establishing the physical residency. See rtha and liketitanic's PDFs for the details. Each school makes the residency determination when you enroll but the underlying law it the same between the jr. college, CSU and UC systems.

It does suck you have to wait a year but it is a chance to make some money to sock away when you're back in school and you have time to do unofficial work to catch up on subjects so when you're back in school you'll rock. I had to do something similar when I moved form California to Texas because they have similar laws. Now that I'm back in California, I've reestablished residency.
posted by birdherder at 10:02 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


The financial independence thing is what can be the hardest.

I'm 26. Everything I've seen says that I'm automatically financially independent at that age. Is there something I've missed?
posted by sunnichka at 10:14 PM on February 19, 2012


I'm 26. Everything I've seen says that I'm automatically financially independent at that age. Is there something I've missed?

Oh, right. I was doing this thing back when I was 22 and it made a huge difference back then. Then yeah you just need to nail the physical presence part which is pretty easy if you live in California. pages 10-12 on this doc.

This is UCLA's form and CC of SF but like I said above any UC/CSU/CC have the same legal standards. Note that 366 days after you've move here and have things like CA ID, address, bank account, etc there you'll easily qualify.
posted by birdherder at 10:56 PM on February 19, 2012


Thanks everyone. I've read through all the forms linked here and it looks like I should qualify easily. There's nothing in any of these documents about community college disqualifying me for residency status.
posted by sunnichka at 10:02 AM on February 20, 2012


I moved out here with the intention of doing the exact same thing- getting residency, picking up prereqs at junior college, transferring to a UC/CSU. There are many pitfalls- you are required to get all prereqs out of the way, it IS possible to take too many credits doing so to qualify to transfer, the requirements for each system differ, the websites for these junior colleges are obscure and terrible, I had no luck getting basic information as a prospective student, the campuses for the one I wanted to go to (Peralta) are spread out and the offerings so slim it dictates having to take classes all over the place, etc. Gaining residency was a piece of cake compared to making it work with a job, etc.

Make sure that the program you want to eventually transfer into will take you with a degree already. At Berkeley the College of Chemistry is the only school that will. Hope that's your plan! SF State will not take people with 4 year degrees. Not sure but the private schools (University of San Francisco) probably aren't picky about that. Are you trying to go to UCSF for med school after getting the premeds done, and would you be satisfied without actually getting that second degree?
posted by tremspeed at 12:08 AM on February 21, 2012


Thanks for the important info tremspeed. I had no clue I'd have a problem on that end. I definitely already have a four year degree, so it looks like I won't be transferring to SF State! I'd be happy to go to UCSF for med school, but I assumed I wouldn't have a chance straight out of City College.
posted by sunnichka at 11:38 AM on February 21, 2012


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