How can I prove residency without a lease or utilities?
February 27, 2009 12:42 PM   Subscribe

After already attending CUNY Hunter college as a nyc resident, they took away my residency until I can prove it to them again. However, I don't have a lease, didn't get a drivers license until 6 months ago, and have no other proof that I've lived here other than attending school here for the past 3 semesters. (Please somebody help me)

I moved to NYC in september of 2007 from New Jersey after graduating highschool in June. I started attending Kingsborough, paying out of state tuition since you need to live here a year before you are a resident. My apartment is a month to month that we pay in cash, there is no lease. I have had a enough one time jobs, but no employment records. All the utilities are included in our rent. Because it is NYC, I didnt bother getting a NYs drivers license until the next august (which I obviously realize now was a mistake.) Finally we were having a problem with the post, not receiving any mail until mid february, so I don't have any mail that is dated before the first day of class (Jan 26th)

Because I was accepted to Hunter as a NYC resident, I filled up my schedule and paid the $2000 and everything was great, until the the other day I received an e-mail saying I had to prove my residency again. As I already said I don't really have any proof, and I just don't know what to do. I can't afford the out of state tuition, and if I knew it was going to be this expensive I wouldn't have taken so many classes.

AND the school wants my parents tax information for 2007, where I was still in highschool, so they claimed me as a dependant for that year, even though I moved out in september. Why does the school need their 2007 taxes and not 2008? I could have moved in 2008 and still have lived in NYC for a year prior to this semester.

Can Hunter kick me out if I can't pay the out of state tuition? Is there anyway other than the residency form to prove that I've lived here for 17 months?
posted by rubberkey to Education (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Did you prove residency when you started? This was a regular problem when I attended Brooklyn College. We would go to our department chair who would kick some butt at the registrar (This person already proved their residency once you knuckleheads) and that would fix it.
posted by winston at 12:46 PM on February 27, 2009

The landlord can't provide proof? Something on letterhead, so the school can check it out?

Your school must have dealt with these documentation issues before (people trying to cheat residency requirements for free tuition being a longstanding incentive). They will be the ones to tell you what alternate forms of proof to provide.
posted by dhartung at 12:49 PM on February 27, 2009

This page from SUNY Buffalo may be helpful to you. If you meet all the residency requirements (and from your question, I'm not 100% sure that you do), you could probably have your landlord notarize and sign something that affirms you were living in the apartment for 12 full months.

"Living in New York State to attend college does not make a person a permanent resident of New York State. A person does not acquire a New York State domicile only by being physically present in New York for the sole purpose of attending college, or by being physically present in New York State for a period of twelve months."


"Parents’ federal and state income tax forms which do not claim the student as a dependent (if the student continues to receive financial support, the student shall not be considered independent)"

may apply to your situation.
posted by theantikitty at 12:52 PM on February 27, 2009

It's so hard to prove the negative, because they did not claim me as dependent on their last taxes and I don't receive money from them. However, Hunter says "If you're under 24 your residency reflects that of your parents" Can they do that?

I never proved residency in the first place, because on my application for admission it asks how long you lived here and I said 14 months or however long it was, and that was it.
(also asks if I intend of living here permanently after school and I answered yes, because I do. I'm not living here to go to school, I'm going to school here because its where I live.)

We pay our month to month rent in cash because its an illegal apartment. She takes care of us well and would go to a notary with me to sign something, but Hunter said that that doesn't count if I don't have utilities to go along with it.
posted by rubberkey at 1:01 PM on February 27, 2009

Also, I'm only 20. Didn't mention that anywhere, and its relevant because so many things refer to you being 22 or 24.
posted by rubberkey at 1:04 PM on February 27, 2009

It does sound a little bit like you're out of luck. Do you have a cell phone registered to your address? Cable television? Checking or bank account? Are you registered to vote in NY state at your current address? Those, plus the notarized statement from your landlord, may help you make your case.

Regarding the "under 24" problem you have listed above, it sounds like you need to prove that you're financially independent from your parents in order to do that. This is the list of factors they consider when deciding if you're financially independent:

Independent Students are generally over the age of 22, AND are totally responsible for paying all of their educational expenses. The amount of income claimed by the student must equal or exceed all educational expenses including those associated with non-university housing. Income may include financial aid received as an independent student. Additional factors relevant to financial independence include:

* Employment on a full or part-time basis within New York State
* Sources and extent of other income
* Parents’ federal and state income tax forms which do not claim the student as a
dependent (if the student continues to receive financial support, the student shall not
be considered independent)
* Student’s place of residence during the summer or other academic term recess
* Student’s status as financially independent for purposes of federal and/or state
financial assistance
* Independent filing by the student of federal or state income tax return
* Student’s assets and liabilities
* Students may not have any joint or custodial account with their parents’ or legal
posted by theantikitty at 1:15 PM on February 27, 2009

I am registered to vote at this address, and I have a bank account linked to this address. I do not have paper copies of statements though because I do it online.
I think I may just be out of luck, because I don't have an income that covers tuition and housing, because I live with my boyfriend who pays the rent.

Even if I'm out of luck, can they up my tuition, being as they clearly said I was a in-state resident when I registered and attended the first few weeks, its too late to change anything. It's like trickery, because had I known this was going to happen a few weeks into the semester I would have stayed at Kingsborough where the tuition is half as much until the Fall when I have sufficient evidence of my residency starting in April.
Can I ask for all of my tuition back and take the classes off my record and attend kingsborough until next semester?

Who should I go to talk about that to?
posted by rubberkey at 1:24 PM on February 27, 2009

I am registered to vote at this address, and I have a bank account linked to this address. I do not have paper copies of statements though because I do it online.

You can't print your statements out? I bank online and I can print them if I want to. If you're registered to vote, you should have a card with your address and polling place on it, and if you need a replacement card they can send you one.
posted by Violet Hour at 1:27 PM on February 27, 2009

rubberkey, I suggest you make an appointment with your academic adviser at CUNY and explain the situation. If they can't help you with the specifics, I'm positive that they will know who can. You need to find someone at Hunter who can tell you exactly what you need to do. You tell them what you can provide (printout of online bank statement showing address, voter registration, signed statement from landlord, etc) and they'll tell you what's possible. I think, in the long run, that is the quickest and easiest solution to your problem.
posted by theantikitty at 2:07 PM on February 27, 2009

I think one of the problems here is that what you think of as "in-state residency" is obviously different than their definition of "in-state residency".

This link(.pdf!) is to the Hunter residency application. Read it, follow the instructions. Page 3 contains a list of the documentation you need. You will probably be disappointed. I know it is maddening. I was in the same place you are in and it makes no sense. The best thing you can do is understand the rules you are playing under and then follow those rules to the letter.

You should call the registrar's office and ask someone about your options as far as getting your tuition back, etc. They deal with this all the time, I am sure.
posted by gyusan at 2:09 PM on February 27, 2009

Also, page 5 of that document has a bit about appealing your residency determination, and page 6 is an "alternate lease form" which probably applies in your situation.
posted by gyusan at 2:15 PM on February 27, 2009

I'v gotten lost in the angst. Can you please list out what, exactly, you need to provide to prove residency?
posted by DarlingBri at 2:22 PM on February 27, 2009

I am independent from my parents, I lived in new york before I even applied to any schools here, and I plan on staying to teach in NY schools after college. I do not live in a dorm, I live in an independently owned apartment building.
The only thing is my job was based in New Jersey and I travelled to work, but the Company has closed now so I've been unemployed besides under the table jobs in NY, although cash doesn't prove a whole lot. Can unemployment result in non residency?

I have been able to locate bank statements going back to october of 2007, and I think coupled with my Landlords statement I should be okay.
posted by rubberkey at 2:23 PM on February 27, 2009

Now I have a new set of worries. If I have items to prove my residency, will they be able to still call me a dependent for any reason? I have my parents tax return where I am not claimed as a dependent.

Also I really appreciate all the help. I always thought that I had to go to college, no matter what, and often it's been seeming like a better idea to drop out and work full time. I'm just trying to keep up. :-/
posted by rubberkey at 3:20 PM on February 27, 2009

Sorry if this was covered, I got a little swamped. For an old roommate who worked undocumented jobs and had to prove residency (although I forget for what -- a bank account, maybe?), a notarized letter from me sufficed. You can also go to your bank's branch office and request an official printed statement (I'm assuming it's an NYC bank?), which will generally be good enough.

Unemployment is NOT a condition of residence. You should have no trouble there.
posted by zvs at 3:55 PM on February 27, 2009

Your bank can give you back-statements, or an official statement regarding when your account was opened (and perhaps what the address on your account is, and for how long). I know in California where proving residency is often pretty arduous, people will save grocery receipts and coffee shop receipts; if you have those from quite a while ago (or, if you can borrow receipts from a friend who keeps them for tax purposes), they could also serve as proof.

When I started college, I petitioned for in-state tuition, and wrote a long letter about how I was working hard to put myself through school, loved the city and felt like it would be my home for a long time, and furthermore how my parents couldn't support me if they'd wanted to (all true, but that's beside the point). My academic adviser coached me a bit with it, and helped me go over the key points I needed to include, and I was granted in-state tuition even though I'd only lived in the state for a couple months before starting school. Which is to say that there might be other routes to take since your case isn't cut and dry. Good luck!
posted by soviet sleepover at 4:02 PM on February 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

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