Texas Residency Classification

Determining Residency

An individual's initial residency classification is determined by ApplyTexas based on information from his or her admission application. Texas law classifies each person who applies for admission to a Texas public college or university as:

  • A resident of Texas;
  • A nonresident; or
  • A foreign (international) student.

How you’re classified is important because it determines whether you pay out of state tuition or in state tuition. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board establishes the rules that govern Texas residency for higher education in Texas. These rules are subject to revision by the legislature and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Rules for Texas residency classification for University tuition are different from residency rules for voting, obtaining a Texas driver’s license or tax purposes. The deadline to update a residency status is the census date (Academic Calendar Q-drop day) of each semester.

Verifying Your Residency Classification

There are certain situations in which a student may change their residency status. First, upon applying, a student may be classified as a non-resident incorrectly based off of information provided on their ApplyTexas application. Another way is when a student is correctly classified as a non-resident and at a later date becomes a Texas resident. If you believe you fit into either one of these scenarios you will need to take the steps listed below to update your residency status.

There are two options in which you can establish Texas residency.

High School Graduation

This option for establishing Texas residency is not available for international students holding F-1 or J-1 visas.

  • Requirements

    To establish residency through high school graduation, you must meet all the following requirements:

    1. Graduated or will graduate from a Texas high school or received your GED certificate in Texas
    2. Resided in Texas for three years leading up to graduation from high school or receiving your GED certificate
    3. Resided or will have resided in Texas for the 12 months prior the census date of the semester in which you will enroll

    If you are a non-US citizen seeking residency through high school graduation, you must submit a Residency Affidavit stating that you will apply for permanent residency when you are eligible to do so.

    If you do not meet all three of the above listed criteria, you must wait until you have met all of the above criteria before you can change your residency status or you can see if you meet one of the other options.

Establishment of Domicile

This option for establishing Texas residency is available to:

  • Citizens or permanent residents of the U.S. (Non-citizens and non-permanent residents may also use this option if they have an application for permanent residency on file with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service.)
  • International students who possess an eligible visa
  • Requirements for Independent Individuals

    If you are independent for tax purposes, you may gain Texas resident status if you establish domicile in the state by providing one document from Section A and a claim of residence in the state by providing three documents from Section B.

    Section A – Select One Document

    Documents that may support the establishment of domicile in Texas and maintenance of domicile in Texas:

    1. An employer's statement of dates of employment in Texas (beginning and current or ending dates) that encompass at least 12 consecutive months prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls. Note: Student jobs do not qualify as gainful employment.
    2. For a person who is unemployed and living on public assistance, written statements from the office of one or more social service agencies located in Texas that attest to the provision of services to the person for the 12 consecutive months prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls.
    3. First and last pay stubs for the 12 months prior to the census date, reflecting significant gainful employment in Texas. Note: Student jobs do not qualify as gainful employment. If pay stubs are from different employers please provide pay stubs reflecting 12 consecutive months prior to the census date.
    4. Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas with documentation to verify 12 consecutive months of ownership prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls.
    5. Ownership and customary management of a business in Texas which is regularly operated without the intention of liquidation for the foreseeable future for the 12 consecutive months prior to the census date in which the person enrolls.
    6. Marriage to a person who has resided and maintained domicile (items a-e above) in Texas.

    Section B - Select Three Documents

    Documents that may provide support to a claim of residence in Texas for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the term in which the person enrolls:

    1. First and last utility bills reflecting a Texas address for the 12 months preceding the census date.
    2. A Texas driver’s license or Texas ID card that has not expired and shows an origination date at least 12 months prior to the census date.
    3. A current credit report that documents the place of residence to be in Texas and the length of residence to be at least 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    4. Texas voter registration card that was issued at least 12 months prior to the census date.
    5. Lease or rental of residential real property reflecting a Texas address in the name of the person or the dependent's parent for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date.
    6. Texas high school transcript for full senior year immediately preceding the census date.
    7. A transcript from a Texas institution of higher education showing presence in the state for the 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    8. State of Texas or local (Texas) licenses to conduct a business or practice a profession in this state for the 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    9. First and last bank statements reflecting a Texas address for the 12 months immediately preceding the census date.
  • Requirements for Dependent Individuals

    If you are a dependent on a Texas resident’s taxes, they must provide their most recent tax return with your name listed as a dependent, one document from Section A and three documents from Section B in the taxpayer’s name.

    Section A – Select One Document

    Documents that may support the establishment of domicile in Texas and maintenance of domicile in Texas:

    1. An employer's statement of dates of employment in Texas (beginning and current or ending dates) that encompass at least 12 consecutive months prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls. Note: Student jobs do not qualify as gainful employment.
    2. For a person who is unemployed and living on public assistance, written statements from the office of one or more social service agencies located in Texas that attest to the provision of services to the person for the 12 consecutive months prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls.
    3. First and last pay stubs for the 12 months prior to the census date, reflecting significant gainful employment in Texas. Note: Student jobs do not qualify as gainful employment. If pay stubs are from different employers please provide pay stubs reflecting 12 consecutive months prior to the census date.
    4. Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas with documentation to verify 12 consecutive months of ownership prior to the census date of the term in which the person enrolls.
    5. Ownership and customary management of a business in Texas which is regularly operated without the intention of liquidation for the foreseeable future for the 12 consecutive months prior to the census date in which the person enrolls.
    6. Marriage to a person who has resided and maintained domicile (items a-e above) in Texas.

    Section B - Select Three Documents

    Documents that may provide support to a claim of residence in Texas for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the term in which the person enrolls:

    1. First and last utility bills reflecting a Texas address for the 12 months preceding the census date.
    2. A Texas driver’s license or Texas ID card that has not expired and shows an origination date at least 12 months prior to the census date.
    3. A current credit report that documents the place of residence to be in Texas and the length of residence to be at least 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    4. Texas voter registration card that was issued at least 12 months prior to the census date.
    5. Lease or rental of residential real property reflecting a Texas address in the name of the person or the dependent's parent for the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date.
    6. Texas high school transcript for full senior year immediately preceding the census date.
    7. A transcript from a Texas institution of higher education showing presence in the state for the 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    8. State of Texas or local (Texas) licenses to conduct a business or practice a profession in this state for the 12 consecutive months preceding the census date.
    9. First and last bank statements reflecting a Texas address for the 12 months immediately preceding the census date.

Military Servicemembers & Dependents

Military servicemembers and dependents of military servicemembers may be able to establish Texas residency. Please review the requirements for eligibility.

  • Requirements
    Military Servicemembers

    Military students may provide an Enlisted Record Brief (ERB), Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), or DD-214 (if retired 2 years or less) showing Texas as the Home of Record or showing Texas taxes paid.

    Dependents of Servicemembers

    Dependents of a military personnel may provide an Enlisted Record Brief, Leave and Earnings Statement, or DD-214 (if retired 2 years or less) showing Texas as the Home of Record or Texas taxes paid. In addition, please submit a copy the dependent’s military dependent ID or a copy of the service member's DD Form 93 - Record of Emergency Data for Military Dependents with the dependent’s name listed.

    Please email residency@shsu.edu for additional ways to prove Texas residency as a military student, veteran or a dependent of a military personnel.

Submitting Proof of Residency

Residency documentation can be scanned and emailed in PDF format (pictures and screenshots will not be accepted) to residency@shsu.edu, faxed to 936-294-3758 or mailed to the following address:

Sam Houston State University
Office of Admissions
Box 2418
Huntsville, TX 77341

Common Residency Questions

These topics address questions commonly asked about residency.

  • Common Residency Questions
    How is my residency status determined?

    An individual's initial residency classification is determined by ApplyTexas based on information from his or her admission application.

    What if I accidently entered incorrect information on ApplyTexas and I was mistakenly coded as out of state?

    We cannot update answers to your ApplyTexas. If you entered your residency information incorrectly you will need to prove Texas residency via our guidelines above.

    What is the difference between in-state and out of state tuition?

    Please visit our online tuition rate calculator.

    What is the census date?

    The census date is also known as the Academic Calendar Q-drop day (12th class day for Fall and Spring/ 4th class day for Summer) for each term.

    How can I lower my tuition if I am not yet considered a Texas resident?
    1. Visit the Financial Aid website for scholarship opportunities.
    2. Consider registering for online classes. Online classes are offered at the same rate as in-state tuition with an additional distance education fee.
    I was classified as in-state through another Texas College or University. Can I transfer my residency classification to SHSU?

    If you were classified as a Texas resident while you were enrolled at another Texas college or university—and you were enrolled for the immediate two full terms (Fall/Spring) before attending SHSU—you will be classified as a Texas resident at SHSU. You will be required to verify your residency classification at the previous institution.

    My parent or legal guardian lives in another state and claims me as a dependent. Am I still eligible to be considered a Texas resident?

    If your parent or legal guardian lives in another state and claims you as a dependent, you are not eligible to establish Texas residency unless you qualify on the basis of high school domicile or your parent is away on a temporary absence. You may be eligible for Texas residency if a parent or legal guardian resides in Texas, and they are eligible to claim you as a dependent on his or her federal income tax return.

    I am a master’s or doctoral student and I am currently employed by SHSU as a teaching/research assistant. Do I qualify for in-state tuition?

    If you are currently employed by SHSU as a teaching assistant or research assistant, you may qualify for the Tuition Waiver Agreement. Please download the form and have it signed by the Department Chair or Supervisor. Once completed, please submit the form to the Payroll Office.

    If I am temporarily absent from Texas, will I lose my status as a Texas resident?

    A temporary absence by a student or parent does not affect your ability to claim residency if the temporary absence is the result of:

    • Service in the U.S. Armed Forces, Public Health Service, Department of Defense or Department of State;
    • Foreign military conscription;
    • Employment assignment; or
    • Educational purposes.

    To claim a temporary absence, a student or parent is required to prove Texas residency for the year immediately prior to temporarily leaving Texas. In addition, the student or parent will need to provide official documentation for the temporary absence. Please email residency@shsu.edu for more information.

    Myself or Parent/Legal Guardian is a Teacher or Professor in Texas. Can I qualify for Texas residency?

    Teachers and professors employed at least half time on a regular, monthly salaried basis by any Texas public institution of higher education (college or university) are entitled to pay resident tuition for themselves, their spouses and their dependent children. The waiver of the out-of-state tuition does not depend on the length of the residence in Texas, as long as the effective date of employment for the teacher or professor is on, or prior to, the official census date of the relevant term(s). Faculty and their dependents are not required to enroll at the same institution listed as the employing institution in order to receive this waiver.

    Who can I contact for more information?

    For more information, contact the Office of Admissions at 936.294.1828 or email residency@shsu.edu

Glossary of Residency Terms

Need help understanding a residency-related term? Certain terms, when used in connection with the topic of Texas residency, should be understood as the following definitions.

  • Glossary of Residency Terms
    Dependent Student

    For purposes of Texas residency determination, a person who: (a) is younger than 18 years of age and has not been emancipated by marriage or court order; or (b) is eligible to be claimed as a dependent of a parent for purposes of determining the parent’s income tax liability under the IRS Code of 1986.

    Domicile

    A person’s principal, permanent residence to which the person intends to return after any temporary absence.

    Establishing Domicile in Texas

    Physically residing in Texas with the intent to maintain domicile in Texas for at least the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the term of enrollment, allowing for documented temporary absences.

    Gainful Employment

    Employment intended to provide an income to a person or allow a person to avoid the expense of paying another person to perform the tasks (as in child care) that is sufficient to provide at least one-half of the individual’s tuition and living expenses or that represents an average of at least twenty hours of employment per week. A person who is self-employed, employed as a homemaker or who is living off his/her earnings may be considered gainfully employed for tuition purposes, as may a person whose primary support is public assistance. Employment conditioned on student status, such as work study, the receipt of stipends, fellowships, or research or teaching assistantships does not constitute gainful employment.

    Independent Student

    For purposes of Texas residency determination, a student 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor who is not claimed by a parent or legal guardian as a dependent for federal income tax purposes during the tax year.

    Legal Guardian

    A person who is appointed guardian under the Texas Probate Code, Chapter 693, or a temporary or successor guardian.

    Maintain Domicile

    To physically reside in Texas with the intent to always return to the state after a temporary absence. The maintenance of domicile is not interrupted by a temporary absence from the state.

    Parent

    A natural or adoptive parent, managing or possessory conservator, or court appointed legal guardian of a person. The term does not includde a step-parent.

    Property Ownership

    Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas by the person seeking to enroll or the dependent’s parent, having established and maintained domicile at that residence. Owning a time-share, renting a residence or owning a cemetery plot does not constitute property ownership.

    Residencer

    A person’s home or other dwelling place.

Please Note: These regulations are subject to revision by the legislature and Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Sam Houston State University is governed by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board and all rules and regulations are directed by their organization.

Last Revised 07/06/18