FAQs

I maintain a Maryland mailing address. Is this enough to qualify me for in-state tuition? 

No. Simply living in Maryland for 12 consecutive months or having mail delivered to you in the state does not entitle you to in-state status. A continuous physical presence in Maryland is certainly important, but it is only one of several requirements established by the Regents. Equally important, for example, are the circumstances that brought you to Maryland and the extent to which you have taken other actions which, in the judgment of the Regents, are minimally needed to demonstrate a reasonable probability you intend to remain in Maryland following graduation and benefit the community. Generally, only this narrowly defined group is granted in-state status.

I meet most of the criteria for being an in-state student. I don't qualify for in-state status in any other state. So, in these circumstances won't I be granted in-state status here? Don't I have to be considered in-state somewhere?  

No. You cannot be classified "In-State" by default. In every state system the formula for attaining favored tuition status is different. And although classification policies across the country commonly employ the term "resident," they usually also define it differently. In fact, the policies seldom rely on traditional notions of simple "residency," meaning little more than physical presence or domicile. They present a more rigorous set of objective tests, varying in emphasis depending on the purpose and philosophy of each governing board.

I pay income and property taxes to the State of Maryland. Does this entitle me to in-state status? 

No. Paying all applicable Maryland taxes is just one of the requirements necessary for In-state classification. Taken by itself, paying Maryland taxes will not qualify you for in-state status. Conversely, however, not paying all required taxes will result in an out-of-state classification

How important is it for me to obtain a Maryland driver's license, register my automobile in Maryland, and register to vote in Maryland 

These are three of the 9 requirements in the Regents' definition of an "In-State" student. The Classification Policy does not weigh the requirements differently. Satisfying each of the 9 is equally important; neglecting any is potentially disqualifying.

 If you maintain a driver's license or own an automobile, it is very important that it be a Maryland license or registration. If before coming to the University you maintained a license or registration in another state, it must be changed to Maryland if you wish to be granted In-State status. It needs to be changed within the time required under Maryland law. The law requires you obtain a Maryland driver's license and register your car within 60 days of moving to Maryland; however, these need to be held for 12 months in order to meet in-state guidelines.

If you are registered to vote, you must change the registration to Maryland before voting again. Actively maintaining a voter's registration in another state or voting there, are inconsistent with the requirements of being considered "In-State

Can my classification be affected by my finances? 

Yes, in one situation it may. If you are financially dependent on a person not a resident of Maryland, then the classification policy presumes you are residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution. You may present evidence to rebut this presumption, but if you are not successful, you will be assigned out-of-state status.

Is it true some international students have in-state status? 

No. "International students" or "foreign students", meaning citizens of another country wishing to enter the United States for the purpose of attending a university, may legally do so only with a visa. There are many types of visas. International students almost uniformly hold either an "F" or a "J" visa. These do not permit an international student to remain permanently in this country; they must leave when their enrollment ends. They sign a statement to the effect they will do so. Among the 9 criteria that must be satisfied by a student desiring "In State" status is the "... legal ability under Federal and Maryland law to live permanently without interruption in Maryland." International students do not have this legal ability. Also, virtually all international students are residing in the State of Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution.

"International students" are not to be confused with the broader class of students who simply are not citizens of the United States. The University enrolls many resident (or "immigrant") aliens. Many have lived in the United States for a considerable period of time. They, like citizens, have the legal ability to live permanently without interruption in Maryland. They may be eligible for In-State status.

The University also enrolls many non-resident (or "non-immigrant") aliens. Non-resident aliens living in the United States must hold visas. They have been admitted for many different and specialized purposes. Some types of visas are as restrictive as the "F" and "J" visas, but others are not. Depending on the type of visa, a student from a foreign country may well be eligible for In-State status. The Attorney General of Maryland has made a determination for each visa type. This information may be obtained from the University Residency Classification Officer.

Petitions

I recently realized I have been paying out-of-state tuition for quite a while. I think this classification was in error. If I file a petition for change and it is granted, will I be eligible for a retroactive tuition refund? 

No. It is your responsibility to know your classification and take timely action to challenge it if you believe it to be incorrect. A petition for change is granted only prospectively.

What is the deadline for filing a petition for change? 

The deadline is the first day of classes in the semester for which in-state status is sought. By that time, a complete petition for change, with all required supporting documents, must be delivered to Residency Reclassification Services. Incomplete petitions will not be accepted or considered.

I am classified out-of-state and have filed a petition for change. Does this put a "hold" on my out-of-state tuition charge? 

No. While your petition for change is being considered, you are responsible for contacting the Office of Student Accounts studentaccounthelp@umaryland.edu or 410-706-2930 to discuss your payment arrangements.  If you paid the out-of-state rate and your petition is granted, you will be credited with the tuition differential.

Does appealing my residency decision guarantee an approval? 

No. At every level of the petition process, including appeals, your documentation is carefully considered. Appeals are meant for you to bring additional information that supports your case and your inability to meet the policy requirements for the requisite 12 month period. By appealing, you do not earn automatic approval for in-state status. Appeals are warranted if, and only if, a student provides sufficient documentation (as determined by appeal designates) of a rare, unforeseen and/or compelling circumstance that precludes them from meeting any or all of the policy criteria.

If I have a residency decision pending for in-state and I pay out-of state charges while the decision is pending and then I am granted in-state residency, will I be reimbursed for any out-of-state charges paid?  

Should a change in your status be made, the tuition during the semester of the petition will be adjusted on your student account.  No requests are accepted for retroactive changes for prior semesters. 

Q. Why do I need to list all of my income and expense information in Section 3 of the petition form?  

A. In addition to needing the information to determine financial dependence, it is important, on occasion, to use the income and expense information to clarify answers given in a petition.

Why does the university need all of the documentation listed on the petition form?  

Residency offices need all of the documentation listed on the form in order to verify the assertions you have made in your petition.

Special Scenarios for In-State Status

I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. I had not previously lived in Maryland. I was admitted as an out-of-state student. Quite some time has now passed, and I believe I meet all the criteria for in-state. Am I eligible to be reclassified? 

Yes. A classification decision is based on the facts as they exist at the time you seek reclassification. At the time you were admitted, you were assigned "Out-of-State" status. You satisfied few, if any, of the criteria for being "In-State". Principal among these was that you were "... [R]esiding in the State of Maryland primarily to attend an educational institution." There is a presumption in the Classification Policy that states if you were residing outside Maryland at the time of application, you are residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending an educational institution. And, in fact, the presumption was valid. You had come to Maryland primarily to attend the University.

However, with the passage of time, your personal, professional, and/economic circumstances may have changed. So, an examination of the facts in your Petition for Reclassification may now demonstrate you are residing in Maryland for a more complex set of reasons. You may no longer be here primarily to attend the University. For example, you may hold a job in the community; have bought a house here; have a Maryland spouse; or have children in Maryland public schools.

Your original Out-of-State classification is not permanent. The presumption originally raised by your application from another state may no longer be valid. It can be rebutted with new facts. But, the burden is on you to present evidence to rebut the presumption. You should outline your reasons for living in Maryland as part of your Petition for Reclassification. Obviously, you must meet all the other criteria as well

When I applied to the University I was living in another state and until last year was claimed as a tax-dependent on my parents who are not residents of Maryland. How can I rebut this presumption that I am primarily living in Maryland for educational reasons? 

There is no formula to rebutting this presumption, rather you must demonstrate that you intend to make Maryland your permanent home and reside in Maryland indefinitely. The policy's section entitled "Rebuttal Evidence," also provides some examples of objectively verifiable conduct upon which the University bases the decision on in-state status. It is important to note that satisfying the minimum civic requirements does not rebut the presumption that you are residing in Maryland primarily for education reasons. Rather, you must provide clear, convincing and objective evidence of your actual primary reason for living in Maryland (e.g. full-time employment, family, etc.)

I applied to the University while residing in another state attending college. Before college, however, I had lived my entire life in Maryland. I went to high school in Maryland. My parents have always lived in Maryland. I am financially independent but shall live at home with them. Will I be admitted as in-state? 

Not necessarily. Again, because you were residing in another state at the time of application, the out-of-state presumption in the classification policy is triggered. Your status will depend on your ability to assemble sufficient facts about yourself to rebut the conclusion that you are now residing in Maryland primarily for the purpose of attending the University. Again, such things as family circumstances, personal relationships, and employment separate from the campus may also have played a role. These will be considered by the University when assessing your primary reason for residing in the state.

My employer has transferred me to Maryland. In this situation, am I still required to meet all criteria for a full twelve months before qualifying for in-state status? 

Yes. Generally, there is no advantage given persons transferred to Maryland as a condition of employment. The exception in the classification policy is for active-duty members of the United States Armed Services.

I have been classified as an out-of-state student and want to qualify for in-state status. Will leaving Maryland for the summer affect my eligibility? 

Yes, leaving Maryland for the summer or during semester breaks may jeopardize your reclassification. Every case will be judged individually; however, if you regularly return to a former residence in another state it reasonably suggests you are now residing in Maryland primarily to attend the University.

I depend on my spouse's income for a lot of my support. Since my spouse lives with me in Maryland, and I depend on him/her for financial support, does that mean I'm entitled to in-state tuition?  

Not necessarily. You may qualify for in-state tuition status in this situation if you have satisfied the other eight criteria as outlined in the Board of Regents Policy.  If you are the spouse of an active-duty member of the United States Armed Forces or a regular employee of the University System of Maryland, you may also be able to qualify.  Please review section IV of the policy for further information.

When I joined a campus organization for prospective teachers, I became really involved with a group that tutors local children, put in many hours each week there as a volunteer, and plan to continue during the summer and after I graduate. Since I started volunteering there as a school activity, does this mean that none of it counts as evidence of commitment to my community to show that I'm  

The mere fact that a student joins a campus organization and participates in activities typical of its members is not evidence of intent to live in Maryland primarily for non-educational purposes.  However, if the student then becomes involved in specific activities that show an extraordinary commitment of time and effort to the student's community or the State, those activities can be evidence that a student is not primarily in Maryland to attend an educational institution. 

 

My parents provide some support, and the rest comes from scholarships and loans. Will I be considered financially dependent on my parents when I apply for in-state tuition?  

As per the residency policy, a financially dependent student is defined as one who is claimed as a dependent for tax purposes.

I do not meet all the 9 criteria needed to make me eligible for in-state status. This will cause me such financial hardship that I may not be able to enroll. I need an exception to requirements. Are they ever made in a case like mine? 

No. The Board of Regents does not permit exceptions on account of personal financial hardship. The Board of Regents has, however, authorized an assignment of in-state status to some groups of persons regardless of the criteria. Relevant to the University, these are:

  1. Full-time or part-time (50% time or more) regular employees of the USM School Employees.
  2. The spouse or dependent child of the above employees.
  3. Certain full-time active duty members of the United States armed forces and their spouses and dependent children.
  4. Current active members of the Maryland National Guard.
  5. Certain honorably discharged members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  6. Graduate assistants during the term of their appointment.

Regular Employee: A regular employee is a person employed by USM or a USM institution who is assigned to a State budget line or who is otherwise eligible to enroll in a State retirement system. Examples of categories NOT considered regular employees are hospital employees, graduate students, contingent employees, and independent contractors.

You must read the classification policy to learn the requirements of each exception.

The VIII-2.70 Policy on Student Classification for Admission and Tuition Purposes PDF of the University System of Maryland contains residency requirements, procedures, and appeal information.