State Residency and Tuition?

If I move to another state for grad school, how long would it take for me to become a resident of that state in order to get in-state tuition?

It depends on the state.

For instance, if you come to California for educational purposes, you will be charged full, non-resident fees of $65k per year minimum for the UC’s…
California has tough residency requirements. It has to have these requirements because non-resident students seem to be desperate to attend California’s public universities and flock to the state. The State can’t afford to subsidize every student who wants to attend so, they don’t provide aid to non-residents.

To become a California resident “for tuition purposes”, a person would have to work full-time, for a minimum of 1 year, (not attend any institution of higher learning) and could not receive ANY financial help from anyone. This means that the income would have to match the W2’s, 540, and 1040 reported income on those tax forms with expenses. Rent receipts would have to match the going rates.

Since California has some of the most expensive real estate, finding a job that would cover rent and utilities would be daunting. Right now, with Covid job losses, it’s very difficult to find work. If you’re an international student, all bets are off.

Each state has its own residency requirements, so you would have to check the state where you plan to attend school.

I was scheduled to start at a Maryland state school but DH had to relocate for a job. I then had to live and work in our new state for 12 months before being considered a resident even though we bought a house before that.

It’s a little different, and a little easier, with graduate programs - although that will vary from program to program. Note that even for the UCs, they have separate qualifications for graduate students (

For the UCs, graduate students only need to satisfy the immigration eligibility (which being a U.S. citizen covers), have physical presence in California for 366 days with no more than six weeks outside of the state (not including work or research), and show intent to stay in California.

Most graduate students can gain resident status simply by moving to California and living and working there for a year before attending school. It is also possible for a student to gain residency status after attending school in California for a year; the educational purposes requirement does not apply to graduate students. Graduate students are automatically considered independent, regardless of age.

I have several friends who got PhDs at UC programs and became residents for tuition purposes after their first year.

It is different for every state, so make sure to check the public universities’ websites. But most state’s requirements are pretty similar: at least a year of living in that state prior to starting school and proof that you intend to stay (usually by getting a license, registering to vote, changing your banking address and with the postal office, etc.) I became a resident of New York - both legally and for tuition purposes - after my first year of graduate school, even though I clearly moved to New York for school. If I was an undergrad I wouldn’t be a resident, but as a grad student I was.

@123365 - Are you looking at a masters or PhD degree? For a masters degree, your in-state/OOS status will matter for tuition purposes. Most PhD programs are fully funded, so it doesn’t matter what your status is. My son is an OOS engineering PhD student at Michigan. If he were a masters student, he would be paying $53,000/year for tuition. As a PhD student, tuition, fees, and health insurance are fully paid, plus he gets a monthly stipend of around $2,700 to cover room/board and other expenses.

Note that if you get an assistantship (teaching, research) the out of state portion of tuition is generally waived at most schools.

The above applies to undergrad in CA. Grad/professional students are considered independent by definition; Grad Plus loans count for 'income".

For grad/professional school, ‘CA residency’ is easy after one year. In fact, UC programs that are funded even strongly suggest that your PhD funding is budgeted with the idea that you will be a resident for tuition purposes in Year 2.

Some states will waive OOS fees if one receives a merit/scholarship grant from teh public Uni.