Resident Status for Tuition Purposes

Upon Admission to one of the UW Colleges, you are classified as a resident of Wisconsin for tuition purposes or a non-resident, based on the information you supplied with your application and the standards set forth in Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2), which govern resident status for tuition purposes. These standards are different from other standards used to determine residency for voting, paying taxes, and other purposes. Therefore, it is important that you understand the Wisconsin statute governing resident status for tuition purposes and how it may apply to you.

Students who do not qualify as a Wisconsin resident must pay non-resident tuition in addition to student fees. Residency regulations for tuition purposes differ from those established for voting or paying taxes.

Minnesota residents may qualify for Minnesota's resident tuition by applying to the:

Minnesota Higher Education Services Office  
1450 Energy Park Drive
Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
(651) 642-0567 or 1-800-657-3866

Students who have been residents of Menominee County, Michigan, for at least one year prior to their enrollment date may enroll at University of Wisconsin-Marinette as Michigan-Wisconsin compact students. This compact agreement permits students to pay the resident tuition rate at University of Wisconsin-Marinette only.

Students who are residents of counties in Upper Michigan (Alger, Baraga, Chippewa, Delta, Dickinson, Gogebic, Houghton, Iron, Keweenaw, Luce, Mackinac, Marquette, Menominee, Ontonagon, Schoolcraft) for at least one year prior to their enrollment date, may enroll at UW-Marinette as Upper Michigan resident students. This agreement permits students to pay the resident tuition rate at UW-Marinette only. 

Students applying to UW-Marinette or UW-Rock County from Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota, Missouri, Nebraska or Ohio will qualify for Midwest Student Exchange Program (MSEP) tuition rates. This agreement applies only to students at UW-Marinette or UW-Rock County. 

Students who are classified as a non-resident for tuition purposes and believe their classification is incorrect should contact the campus Student Affairs Office.

Looking for answers?

We are here to help. Our staff is dedicated to helping you determine your residency situation.

The determination of residency is the trigger for deciding which students pay in-state and which pay out-of-state tuition. Officially referred to as "Residency for Tuition Purposes," every student has a residency decision made for them immediately upon applying for admission.

Trained staff in the Admissions Office make these decisions. Each decision is made wholly on the application materials submitted, and often requests for more information are made to clarify uncertainties.

People are often surprised to learn that who does and does not qualify for in-state tuition is clearly laid out in state statutes. As such, there is no institutional flexibility that is open to negotiation on this topic.

Initial residency determinations for tuition purposes at UW Colleges e are made by the Admissions Office, based on the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) which governs residency status for tuition purposes. In general, you must be a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to be eligible for in-state tuition.

 

Please be aware that there has been a change to Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2). Section (cr), the provision that provided an exemption from non-resident tuition for a "person who is a citizen of a country other than the United States," has been repealed, effective July 1, 2011. Therefore, the exemption from non-resident tuition based on Section (cr) is no longer available to any student.

If you do not qualify as a Wisconsin resident, you will be assessed non-resident tuition. In determining residency status for tuition purposes, different standards are used than those which may be used for voting, paying taxes, etc. Individuals who come to Wisconsin primarily for educational purposes do not automatically qualify as Wisconsin residents for tuition purposes, even after living in Wisconsin 12 months or more.

 

Please note: if you have been classified as a non-resident because you a) did not claim residency or b) did not submit all information requested by our office, your non-resident tuition status will remain in effect and you will be assessed the non-resident tuition fees. If the documentation necessary to re-evaluate your non-resident tuition status is not submitted to our office by the last class day of the term for which you are requesting an exemption from non-resident tuition, your residency status will not be re-evaluated for that term. After the term in question is over, you cannot submit documentation to change your residency status for that term.

 

Further, if you are classified as a resident for tuition purposes and are notified that your resident tuition classification will NOT be finalized until our office receives additional information in the future (such as tax documentation), and if you do not submit the requested documentation by the given deadline, your status will be changed to non-resident, and you will be retroactively assessed the non-resident tuition rate for the term in question and for any subsequent terms.

 

Remember: it is your responsibility to read and respond to all official correspondence from UW Colleges, whether it is sent electronically or hard copy.

 

For additional information beyond what is outlined here, please email our Admissions Department.

Documentation of Physical Presence is used to establish the fact that a person has been physically residing in Wisconsin continuously during a specific period of time. Each item of documentation must include your name and a date within the period of time in question. Examples of some types of documentation of your physical presence in Wisconsin follow. You are not limited to these examples, however, and may submit other records more appropriate in your situation. Check with our office to verify that records not included on this list will suffice. We understand the difficulty some may have in producing these documents, but we must include them with your records to satisfy residency audits.

 

You may submit copies of your documentation rather than originals with the exception of letters written on your behalf. In most cases, several items per month will suffice. It may sometimes be necessary, however, to request additional documentation depending on individual circumstances.

 

Appropriate documents include:

 

  • Cancelled checks you wrote to local businesses or credit card receipts you signed with charges to local businesses.
  • Bank statements showing ATM transactions in Wisconsin, if the account is only in your name.
  • Credit card statements showing purchases in Wisconsin, if the account is only in your name.
  • Envelopes (excluding window envelopes) addressed to you at your Wisconsin address with a legible postmark.
  • Verification of, and/or bills from doctor or dentist appointments in Wisconsin.
  • Letters you may have received in Wisconsin relating to your employment search or copies, signed by prospective employers, of job applications you have submitted in this State (email correspondence not acceptable).
  • Documentation of volunteer work or involvement in the community activities in Wisconsin (i.e.: a letter from a Volunteer Coordinator on official letterhead).
  • Documentation of visits to health club/fitness center, public library receipts, etc.
  • A signed statement from a landlord or resident manager verifying your physical occupancy of the rented premises during the period of time in question. This statement must be written on letterhead stationery or, if letterhead is not used, the statement must be notarized.

 

 

Unacceptable documents include:

 

  • Duplicate checks: These do not show the original signature. Only canceled checks are acceptable.
  • A lease: This does not attest to one's physical occupancy during the dates in question.
  • Letters written on your behalf from friends and relatives. Only letters written by impartial individuals are acceptable.
  • Any document that indicates the physical presence of two people (i.e.: envelopes or bills addressed to spouses or registered domestic partners).
  • Window envelopes (see appropriate documents).

Initial residency determinations for tuition purposes at UW Colleges are made by the Admissions Office based on the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) which governs residency status for tuition purposes. In general, you must be a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to be eligible for in-state tuition.

 

If you still have questions about your residency classification after reading the extract of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2), or you feel that your classification is incorrect or that you have important extenuating or mitigating factors, you may contact the Admissions Office and/or submit an Appeal from Non-Resident Classification form prior to the start of the semester which you plan to enroll.

 

It is our goal to make students residents whenever possible in accordance with the Wisconsin state law. While every student has the right to submit an appeal, a consultation with someone in the Admissions Office or an Advisor can help you determine whether moving forward with an appeal is a prudent decision. They will provide guidance and will give a professional opinion about the likelihood of a successful appeal based on the circumstances of your situation. Having a clear understanding of the law and the appeals process could save you a good deal of time and energy.

 

Fall Appeal Deadline: September 18

Spring Appeal Deadline: February 7

Once the Admissions Office receives your completed Appeal from Non-Resident classification for university fee purposes Form, your enrollment for the term of your appeal will be verified, and then you will be scheduled for a hearing on a first come, first served basis. A "Notice of Hearing" letter will be mailed to you ten days prior to the hearing date.

 

The Residency Appeals Committee is the hearing body which considers the appeals for exemption from non-resident tuition. The Committee meets on call of the chair to hear and deliberate the appeals submitted in accordance with the provisions of Ch. 20 UWS Administrative Code. The evidentiary portions of the hearings are open to the public unless the appellant requests a closed session. Deliberations of the Committee are always in closed session. Notice to the appellant will be in accordance with Chapter 227, Wisconsin Statutes. Students who appeal may rely on the written appeal affidavit and appropriate supporting documents as the basis for the Committee's review. However, you are encouraged to appear in person. If you choose to have a personal appearance before the Committee, you may, if you wish, be accompanied by personal and/or legal counsel. They, however, may not appear in your place.

 

Tuition and fees are due in full by the due date as set by the university. This amount must be paid by the due date in order to avoid a late payment fee. Then, if your appeal is successful, the non-resident tuition will be refunded to you or the outside source of payment if your fees were paid by a source such as financial aid, third party, or scholarship. Please refer to the Bursar’s Office web page for key deadlines.

 

At UW Colleges, the Nonresident Tuition Appeals Committee is the final hearing for appeals for exemption from nonresident tuition. Cases will not be reheard following the Committee's decision unless there is a material error of fact or law, or significant evidence which could not have been discovered by due diligence on your part prior to the hearing and which could change the Committee's decision. Any further appeals will have to be filed in Circuit Court within 30 days after mailing of the findings of fact and conclusions of law letter from the Admissions Office setting forth the basis for the Committee's decision. You can, however, contact the Admissions Office to request a redetermination of your tuition status for any subsequent school term for which you register.

If you graduated from a Wisconsin high school and one or both of your parents have lived continuously as residents in Wisconsin for at least the twelve months prior to the beginning of any term for which you enroll with UW Colleges, or your last surviving parent was a resident of Wisconsin for the year before death, your classification is resident under Section (c) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2). There is no age limitation on claiming residence under this section of the Statute.

 

To claim legal Wisconsin residence for tuition purposes under the provisions of Section (c) of the Statute, you should check "yes" for the question on the application asking whether you claim Wisconsin residence, then complete the information requested regarding your high school, city, state and date of graduation, as well as the information about your parents' residence.

 

Visit the UW System Website to view Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) and for additional information on residency for tuition purposes.

See Section (a)(4) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)

 

If you are a minor and have resided substantially in Wisconsin during your years of minority (while under the age of 18), and at least the full year before your enrollment, you will be classified as a resident student for tuition purposes. The Admissions Office may contact you for further information regarding your residency.

 

See Section (a)(5) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)

 

According to the Statute governing residency for tuition purposes, a minor who is under guardianship in Wisconsin pursuant to ch. 48 or 880, Wisconsin Statutes, is entitled to exemption from nonresident tuition, provided the guardian has been officially appointed by a Judge of a Wisconsin court of record and has been a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months immediately prior to the minor's registration at the University.

 

In order for you to remain eligible for exemption from nonresident tuition, you need to demonstrate your intention to become a bona fide resident of Wisconsin when you become an adult.

See Section (a)(3) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)

 

You may qualify as a resident in accordance with Section (a)(3) of the Statute if:

 

  • one of your parents is a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least the twelve months prior to the beginning of any semester, and
  • you are claimed as a tax dependent for Federal income tax purposes by one of your parents, and
  • you will continue to be claimed as a dependent by one of your parents.

 

On your application to UW Colleges, you should claim legal Wisconsin residency.

See Section (cm) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)

 

If you have moved to Wisconsin for full-time employment, you and your spouse and dependents may be exempt from nonresident tuition in the University of Wisconsin System.

 

Section (cm) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) allows the following persons--and their spouses and dependents--to qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition immediately upon moving to Wisconsin, without having to wait a twelve month period to be eligible to be classified as a resident:

 

  • Individuals who have been relocated to Wisconsin for employment purposes by their current employer and who remain continuously employed full-time by that employer;
  • Individuals who accepted their current full-time employment with a new employer before moving to Wisconsin and before filing an application for admission to UW Colleges. In addition, such individuals must have moved to Wisconsin for employment purposes and must have remained continuously employed full-time by that same employer since their arrival in order to continue to qualify under this section of the Statute.

 

If you are not a United States citizen, you must be on a visa which permits indefinite residency in the United States by the time you enroll with UW Colleges to qualify for residency under Section 36.27(2)(cm).

See Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).

 

If you are not a U.S. citizen, in general, you need to be in possession of a visa that permits indefinite residency in the United States, or have been approved as a Permanent Resident of the United States for the twelve months immediately prior to the beginning of your intended term of enrollment and qualify for residency under some part of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) in order to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes at UW Colleges. See the Statute for categories where the durational twelve months is not required.

 

Visas which allow individuals to be considered for residency for tuition purposes include the H-1 and related H-4, E, K, and certain L visas as well as Asylees. A student on one of these visas is not required to affirm a domicile in his/her country of origin.

 

A student who holds a visa such as the F, J, M, TN, TD and B, has as a condition of the visa, a requirement to affirm a permanent and unrelinquishable domicile in another country, and is not eligible to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes at the University.

 

Providing you are on a visa which allows indefinite residency in the United States, your residency for tuition purposes will be determined in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).

 

If you are unsure whether you qualify for resident tuition under this provision of the Statute, contact the Office of Admissions at 1-888-INFO-UWC.

An exception to residing in Wisconsin for twelve months prior to enrollment applies if you are a student on refugee status as defined under 8 USC 1101(a)(42); you moved to Wisconsin immediately upon arrival in the United States; and you have resided in this State continuously since moving here. If you are in this situation, you need to demonstrate intent to establish and maintain a permanent home in Wisconsin according to the criteria under Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).

Under Section (b)1 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate even though your legal classification will remain nonresident, if you are a member of the Armed Forces stationed in Wisconsin on active duty or if you are the spouse or child of a person in the military under those conditions.

 

Similarly, under Section (b)2 of the Statute, members of the armed forces who are stationed within 90 miles of the borders of this state but are residing in Wisconsin and their spouses and children are entitled to exemption from nonresident tuition.

 

If you believe you can qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition under Section (b)1 or Section (b)2: upon notification of admission to UW Colleges, please submit a letter from your commanding officer verifying that you, a spouse or parent is stationed in Wisconsin at the present time to the Director of Admission. A determination of prospective eligibility for the tuition exemption will be made and you will be notified of your status.

 

Under Section (b)3 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate if you were a member of the Armed Forces for at least 10 years, honorably discharged from such service within 4 years before applying to the University, and filed Wisconsin state income tax returns for at least 8 of the last 10 years of active duty, or you are the spouse or child of a person under those conditions.

 

Under Section (b)4 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate if you served on active duty under honorable conditions in the U.S. armed forces, or forces incorporated in the armed forces, except service on active duty for training purposes, and you meet one of the conditions in s. 45.0001(4)(a)1. a to d, and you are a resident for purposes of receiving benefits under ch. 45.

Qualification for Wisconsin State veteran benefits is determined by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA).

 

Learn more about the application process and resources for Veterans.

 

A tuition reciprocity agreement exists between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This agreement stipulates that residents of Minnesota can attend Wisconsin institutions in approved programs and be assessed the approved reciprocity tuition rate, plus segregated fees assessed all students. Students in the professional programs of the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, however, are not covered under the reciprocity program. Minnesota residents must apply to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE) for verification of their eligibility for reciprocity. The deadline for filing an application in Minnesota is the last day of classes at UW Colleges in the term for which you wish to receive reciprocity status. A certification year runs from the beginning of the fall term and extends through the end of the following summer term. Reciprocity will be automatically renewed for a subsequent academic year for students who met the following conditions during the spring term of the previous academic year: enrolled for credit courses at UW Colleges, remained enrolled beyond the 100% adjustment period, and paid reciprocity tuition. Students need to reapply for reciprocity if they were not enrolled at all during an academic year, or were enrolled but did not take advantage of reciprocity tuition because of an assistantship or third party payment contract.

 

Minnesota residents who wish to take advantage of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Tuition Reciprocity Agreement should apply for certification as a Minnesota resident to:

 

Minnesota Office of Higher Education
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
(651) 642-0567 or 1-800-657-3866

 

You can apply for reciprocity online.

If you are a minor and your parents move out of the state during the 12 months prior to your enrollment at UW Colleges, you will be classified as a nonresident unless you have lived in Wisconsin during a substantial portion of your life and for the full year before enrollment. If your parents move out of the state, you are 18 or older, and you are living in the state of Wisconsin and maintaining your legal ties, you can retain your resident status for tuition purposes in your own right. If you are 18 or older and move out of the state with your parents, you generally will be considered a nonresident.

See Sections (a)1 and (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).

 

If you are a nonresident student you may discontinue enrollment for a twelve-month period to establish bona fide residency in Wisconsin for tuition purposes, and you must fulfill the criteria in Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2), including timely filing of a Wisconsin income tax return of a type only a full-year Wisconsin resident may file, Wisconsin voter registration, Wisconsin motor vehicle registration, possession of a Wisconsin operator's license, place of employment, self-support, involvement in community activities, and physical presence in Wisconsin for at least 12 months before classes begin. Also, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you must be in possession of a visa that permits indefinite residency in the United States.

 

When you submit an application for readmission, check the "Yes" box regarding residency, even if the 12 months has not passed when you reapply. This will alert the Admissions Office of your intent.

If you enter and remain in Wisconsin principally to attend an educational institution during the twelve months you are attempting to establish bona fide residency in Wisconsin, you are presumed to continue to reside outside the state. This presumption remains in effect until you are able to demonstrate you have overcome the presumption with clear and convincing evidence of bona fide residency in the state for the year next preceding a term for which you wish to enroll at UW Colleges. Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) Section (e).

 

Generally, a student who enters Wisconsin to attend any educational institution will continue in the nonresident status until the student's reason for being in Wisconsin is clearly shown to be non-educational. Twelve months after the change in the student's reason for being in Wisconsin, the student may wish to inquire about appealing their nonresident status.