Switching to NC residency
February 25, 2012 2:01 PM   Subscribe

How do I become a "resident" of North Carolina for tuition purposes?

I am currently a Michigan resident and I have no plans of returning to Michigan, for a variety of reasons. I will have lived here for a year come April, but I do not own a car or property. I have not worked either -- student loans are stacking up.

I am already registered to vote in NC and plan on switching my license over within the next month.
posted by Silo004 to Law & Government (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Take a look here for the requirements.

From that page:

Resident for Tuition Purposes:A person who has: (1) established domicile in North Carolina, and (2) maintained that domicile for a period of at least 12 months prior to his or her classification as a resident for tuition purposes.

Domicile: A person’s true, fixed and permanent home and place of habitation of indefinite duration. The terms “domicile” and “legal residence” are used interchangeably.

Residence versus Domicile: “Residence is a place of abode, and may be either permanent or temporary. By contrast, domicile is never temporary; rather, it is one's permanent, established home. To be domiciled in a particular place, one must intend to remain there for an indefinite period of time, and it is the place where one intends to return if absent. A person may have many residences, but may only have one domicile.” A domicile is not a temporary residence established for the purpose of attending the University.
posted by wryly at 2:07 PM on February 25, 2012

So, my interpretation of what wryly found is that you have to live in the state for a year while working or otherwise not attending school. This is pretty much the case for every province/state I've seen this question asked on.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:26 PM on February 25, 2012

Not necessarily: it may not be true now, but I believe graduate-professional students could establish NC residency after a year attending NCSU as out of state students in the past. It took an amount of planning and paperwork, though. With that in mind, if you've been admitted to a particular program, talk to tje admissions coordinators about the process.
posted by Uniformitarianism Now! at 2:37 PM on February 25, 2012

Did you file taxes in NC? Are you involved in any community organizations like a church? Did you spend last summer there? Is your bank account there? These are issues that can help or hurt.
posted by bluedaisy at 2:38 PM on February 25, 2012

You might try MeMailing thelonious based on this comment about North Carolina residency in a recent thread.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:47 PM on February 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

I was able to get NC residency while I was going to school full time as a grad student at UNC-Chapel Hill, and also working. Your 12-month "clock" starts when you moved to NC, but you need sufficient proof. The proof the graduate school/ state requires, usually goes beyond just a lease agreement. Unfortunately for you, the driver's license seems particularly important as that is the only document for which they asked for a digital scan. So I would get that done as soon as possible. Then you will have to wait one year, and then apply for re-classification as an in-state student through your school. I think it also helps to pay state income tax in NC as a "resident", and have ties to the community in some tangible way. Good luck! I've heard horror stories, but I had no troubles.
posted by 2ghouls at 3:08 PM on February 25, 2012

The lawyer whose free workshop I attended was named Brad Lamb. This was 15 years ago, unfortunately, so I don't recall too many details of exactly what he said to emphasize, or if he still does this. The main difficulty is that there is not really an objective checklist of things that you can do. The law is written with reference to your "intent" to permanently reside here, and you can provide evidence of that intent (buying a house would be ideal), but there is no way that you can prove what you ultimately intend to do.

My case, if it is any help: I had been living and working here for about a year before I applied for in-state status, and I was denied the first time. I also wasn't a full-time student; I was taking some graduate classes part-time, while trying to get into a degree program.

One thing Lamb said, which I thought was pretty shocking: each school in the system has its own residency committee, and they make binding decisions that may not be consistent with the decisions that other committees make.
posted by thelonius at 3:47 PM on February 25, 2012

I was also able to get residency in NC while I was a grad student at UNC. Just keep trying and appealing, become involved in the community, and it's not that difficult to get.
posted by Tooty McTootsalot at 7:38 PM on February 25, 2012

UNC has little "workshops" you can go to where they tell you about the process of trying to get NC residency status. The short answer is that it depends. You fill out an application for residency, and UNC decides to grant it or not depending on a bunch of factors. There's not really a way to know for sure whether you'll get it or not. But the more you can establish ties in NC that make it look like you're sticking around, and the more you cut your ties with your home state to prove you aren't going back there, the better.

So some things that will help your chances:
- getting the NC drivers license ASAP, and registering to vote
- voting in local elections
- register your vehicle in NC
- pay taxes in NC, esp. state income tax
- joining and being active in a local church or other community, getting on local boards, running for local office, etc.
- buying property in NC, living in a house you own in NC
- or: having a lease (the longer the better) in NC, at someplace that is NOT student housing or dorms.
- serving on a jury in NC
- having relatives or a spouse in NC
- spending most of your time in NC; not spending holidays and vacations in your home state. I think the application actually asks you to list every single time you have been out of the state for longer than some trivial period of time.
- having a non-student job in NC, especially a full-time permanent job w/ UNC--full-time permanent UNC employees qualify for resident tuition.
- not owning a house in your home state
- not depending on your parents (in your home state) for support (ie, they don't claim you on their taxes, etc.). If your parents are domiciled in NC it would be helpful to be dependent on them.

Anyway, it's tricky and annoying. More information here. You might want to get access to the application and look at it so you'll know what criteria you'll be judged on. Good luck!
posted by aka burlap at 8:14 AM on February 26, 2012

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