Office of the University Registrar

Frequently Asked Questions - Ohio Residence

1. What are the guidelines that determine Ohio Residency?

In general, a student must demonstrate and document that s/he meets all of the criteria in one of the following sections. (Documentation is required)

  • A student who has graduated from an Ohio high school who had left Ohio but who returns to enroll in an Ohio public institution of higher education and who established a primary residence in Ohio by the 1st day of classes of the requested term.
  • A dependent student, of a parent or legal guardian who has been a resident of the State of Ohio for 12 consecutive months or more immediately preceding the enrollment of the student in an institution of higher education.
  • An independent person who has been a resident of Ohio for all other legal purposes for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding his or her enrollment in an institution of higher education and who is not receiving, directly or indirectly, financial support from persons or entities who are not residents of Ohio for all other legal purposes.
  • A dependent child of a parent or the spouse of a person who, as of the first day of a term of enrollment, has accepted full-time, self-sustaining employment in Ohio and established domicile in the State of Ohio for reasons other than gaining the benefit of favorable tuition rates.
  • An independent person who is living and is gainfully employed on a full-time or part-time and self-sustaining basis in Ohio and who is pursuing a part-time program of instruction at an institution of higher education and has not resided in the state for 12 months shall be considered a resident of Ohio for these purposes.
  • A person who enters and currently remains upon active duty status in the United States military service while a resident of Ohio for all other legal purposes and his other dependents shall be considered residents of Ohio for these purposes as long as Ohio remains the state of such person's domicile.
  • A person on active duty status in the United States military service who is stationed and resides in Ohio and his or her dependents shall be considered residents of Ohio for these purposes.
  • A person who is transferred by his employer beyond the territorial limits of the fifty states of the United States and the District of Columbia while a resident of Ohio for all other legal purposes and his or her dependents shall be considered residents of Ohio for these purposes as long as Ohio remains the state of such person's domicile and as long as such person has fulfilled his or her tax liability to the State of Ohio for at least the tax year preceding enrollment.
  • A person who has been employed as a migrant worker in the State of Ohio and his or her dependents shall be considered a resident for these purposes provided such a person has worked in Ohio at least four months during each of the three years preceding the proposes enrollment.

2. What are the requirements for establishing Ohio residency for tuition purposes?

  • The student is expected to live in Ohio for a full 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the term for which he/she is applying for residency.
  • The student should demonstrate his/her intent to become an Ohio resident by transferring any items of registration to Ohio such as a driver's license, automobile registration, and voter registration (if applicable). These documents must be issued before the first day of classes.
  • The student must demonstrate that during the 12-month period while establishing residency, that he/she have had sufficient income to meet all expenses without the need of money from outside the State of Ohio. Documentation of income sources used during the 12-month period is required.

3. What documentation do I need to submit to apply for Ohio residency?

Documentation varies depending on how you are applying for residency.

  • In general, unless you are applying for E-1 or C-3 residency or through one of the military exceptions, you must submit a completed Residence Petition and appropriate documents: tax forms, Ohio driver's license, voter registration, Ohio car registration, lease/mortgage, proof of employment, all listed in the Residency Petition.
  • Instructions for completing different residency applications and the required documentation that is to be submitted are available through this download

4. If my parents or spouse move to Ohio, when am I eligible to become a resident?

You may be eligible for "immediate residency", C-3, if you are a dependent of a parent or spouse of a person who is working full-time in Ohio and has established domicile in Ohio as of the beginning of the term for reasons other than gaining the benefit of a state-supported education. The Board of Regents defines dependent as one who has never emancipated themselves from their parents. This connotes a continued, unbroken dependency and should not be construed so as to allow immediate residency for a person who has left his or her parents and then returned to gain the benefits of in-state residency.

5. If I am moving to Ohio to attend Cleveland State University as a graduate student and will be on a fellowship or assistantship, does my spouse qualify for C-3, "instant residency"?

No. To be eligible for instant residency, a student must be dependent upon a spouse or parent who has full-time employment in Ohio. A graduate fellowship or assistantship is not considered full-time employment. The student could apply for regular residency once s/he lived in Ohio for 12 months. At that time, the income earned by the spouse through a fellowship or assistantship would be considered eligible income (if earned in Ohio).

6. Does marrying an Ohio resident automatically make me a resident?

Marriage to an Ohio resident does not automatically make you an Ohio resident for tuition purposes. If your spouse is employed full-time in Ohio, you would be eligible to apply for immediate residency. You must prove your spouse's residency.

7. Can I qualify for "immediate residency", C-3, through someone other than my parent or spouse?

No. A student cannot qualify for "immediate residency" through other relatives, fiancée, in-laws, etc. A student may only be reviewed for "immediate residency" through their dependency upon a parent or spouse who is living and working full-time in Ohio.

8. If my legal guardian is an Ohio resident will I be considered a resident for tuition purposes?

The residency guidelines allow students to be considered residents if they have a legal guardian who is an Ohio resident. However, setting up a legal guardianship with an Ohio resident in order to qualify for residency is not permitted. The burden of proof is upon the student to show that a legal guardianship was not arranged in order for the student to gain residency. In general, the expectation will be that the legal guardianship has been in effect for at least 12 months prior to enrollment, and that the student has been financially dependent upon the legal guardian during that time. The student's relationship and involvement with his or her parents will also be a consideration. The University does not recognize guardianship if the student has reached the age of majority which is 18 years of age. Submission of court documents will be required to evidence guardianship.

9. If my parents move out of Ohio, how is my residency affected?

The Ohio Board of Regents guidelines have two "grandfather clauses" to address this.

  • If your parents are Ohio residents and move out of the state while you are an enrolled resident, dependent student at CSU, you will continue to be classified as a resident through the completion of one degree program, provided that you maintain continuous enrollment (does not include summer term) and make normal progress toward your degree. If you apply for a second degree program (i.e. graduate), your residency will be reviewed and you will have to meet the residency criteria on your own.
  • If you are a dependent student applying for admission to CSU and your Ohio resident parents move out of the state, you will be considered a resident as long as you enroll within 12 months of the date your parents moved out of Ohio. The student would then have to maintain continuous enrollment (at least spring and fall semesters).

10. I am currently considered a resident of Ohio. How is my residency affected if I leave Ohio?

The Ohio Board of Regents guidelines allow Ohio residents 12 months out of the state before they "lose" their residency for tuition purposes. If you leave the state for more than 12 months, you will no longer be considered an Ohio resident. If you can clearly demonstrate that your reason for leaving the state is solely for educational purposes (i.e. attending an out-of-state school), and that you have maintained all other ties to Ohio (i.e. subjecting income to Ohio taxation, maintaining an Ohio driver's license and voter registration, etc.) you may still be considered a resident. However, if you leave for reasons other than educational ones, for example, to accept employment in another state, you would lose your residency after 12 months. It is important to consider future residency implications when planning a move or extended stay outside Ohio.

11. Except for the past couple of years, I lived in Ohio my entire life. Shouldn't I (and/or my children and spouse) still be considered residents?

In determining a person's eligibility for residency, the state guidelines are primarily concerned only with the 12-month period immediately preceding the term for which the student is applying for residency. The cumulative time a person lived in Ohio is not relevant if the person has been away from Ohio for more that the 12 months immediately preceding enrollment.

12. My parents are divorced, but one of them lives in Ohio. Does that make me a resident?

  • As long as a dependent student has one parent who has been an Ohio resident for at least the 12 months immediately preceding enrollment, they will be considered a resident whether or not the student actually lives in Ohio. To apply for residency under this clause, the student should submit a letter from the parent currently residing in Ohio that contains the following information:
  • Student's name and social security number
  • State that the student's parents are divorced or separated
  • Indicate the number of years that parent has lived in Ohio
  • A copy of the Ohio personal income tax return filed in the past 12 months.
  • A copy of the federal income tax return filed in the past 12 months by the parent who claimed the student as a tax dependent. This does not have to be the Ohio parent.

13. I am currently considered a non-resident and my parents, who are not residents of Ohio, claimed me as a tax dependent on their federal income tax return. Am I eligible for Ohio residency?

If you are a dependent of your parents, your residency is determined by their residency status. When a student is applying for residency as an independent student, s/he cannot be claimed as a tax dependent by anyone outside the state of Ohio.

14. How does being in the military affect my (or my children or spouse's) residency?

  • For individuals who are on full-time, active duty status with the military, or in the Ohio National Guard, the state has three exceptions in the residency guidelines:
  • If you are an Ohio resident on full-time, active duty status with the military, you and your dependents are considered residents as long as Ohio has remained your state of domicile and you have fulfilled your tax obligation to the state while on active duty.
  • If you are not an Ohio resident but are stationed in Ohio on a full-time, active duty status, you and your dependents will be considered residents for tuition purposes for as long as you are stationed in Ohio.
  • If you are a person who is a member of the Ohio National Guard and who is domiciled in Ohio, you and your dependents will be considered residents for tuition purposes.

15. If I am currently working full-time in Ohio, am I eligible for residency?

If you are employed on a full-time or part-time and self-sustaining basis and reside in the state, you may be eligible for "provisional residency".

16. What is provisional residency (E-1)?

  • Provisional Residency allows an individual who is living in Ohio and is employed on a full-time or part-time and self-sustaining basis in Ohio to enroll as an in-state student for part-time studies, regardless of how long the individual has lived here.
  • Provisional Residents must be able to demonstrate that they are self-supporting solely on their current employment income. All income must also be subject to Ohio taxation. In determining whether or not a student qualifies for Provisional Residency, financial aid, savings, or other sources of income (i.e. VA benefits, social security) cannot be considered as income contributing to a student's self-supporting status, but can be used over and above the amount necessary to meet expenses.
  • Provisional Residents may not register for more than 11 hours (undergraduate and law students) or 07 hours (graduate), or they will be billed as a non-resident for all hours.
  • The student must supply letter from the employer with start date and yearly salary.
  • The student must be establishing Ohio residency (Ohio driver's license, car registration)

17. If I am employed and being paid cash (i.e. tip income, babysitting) is this income eligible for residency?

Employment income earned as cash is only eligible for any type of residency (particularly C-2 & E-1) if it is subject to Ohio taxation. The impetus is on the student to provide proof that the income has been subject to Ohio taxation. Otherwise it is ineligible income.

18. If I am paying taxes to Ohio, doesn't that make me a resident?

Not necessarily. If you are trying to establish residency in Ohio, paying taxes in Ohio is an indicator of your intent to become an Ohio resident. However, you must meet all the residency criteria to be eligible for residency for tuition purposes. If you are paying Ohio taxes because you are currently living and working full-time in Ohio, you may be eligible for Provisional Residency.

19. Will I automatically become a resident for tuition purposes once I have lived in Ohio for 12 months?

No. Any student who has been classified as a non-resident must apply for reclassification as a resident. Even if you are a Provisional Resident, you must apply if you want to be reviewed for regular residency once you have been in Ohio for 12 months.

20. Are non-United States citizens eligible for residency for tuition purposes?

  • If a person is financially independent, they must be a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee, Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa to be eligible for review as an in-state resident for tuition purposes.
  • If a student is financially dependent upon a spouse or parent, the person they are dependent upon must also must be a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee or Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa in order for the student to qualify to be reviewed for in-state residency.
  • Students who hold a B, F, J, or M visa are not eligible to establish Ohio residency. Unless their spouse is a bona fide Ohio resident. This is defined as a person who meets the criteria established in the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines and is also a United States citizen, Permanent Resident Alien, Political Asylee, Political Refugee, or hold an A, E, G, H, I, L, O, P, R, TC, TD or TN visa.
  • Financially dependent is defined as having been claimed for tax purposes since birth.

21. I hold an F visa but have applied for permanent residency. Am I eligible to be reviewed for residency?

No. The act of applying for a change in visa status does not make a student eligible for Ohio residency for tuition purposes. Only when DHS has approved the student for permanent residency can s/he be eligible to apply for reclassification to Ohio resident. Students whose immigration status is pending are eligible to establish Ohio residency only if their most recent immigration status was eligible to establish Ohio residency. The student still needs to meet the 12-month residency rule.

22. I own property or a business in Ohio, but live in another state. Does that make my dependents or me Ohio residents for tuition purposes?

No. The state guidelines do not grant residency to individuals or their dependents solely on the basis that they own property or a business in Ohio.

23. In submitting a Residency Petition, what are some examples of acceptable income documentation?

The following are examples of some of the income documents you may submit with your petition: Tax return W-2 forms, pay stubs, financial aid award letters, bank statements established in your name, and statements showing receipt of government benefits.

24. What types of income sources are not eligible for helping me establish in-state residency?

  • The following are examples of income sources, if received within the 12-month period preceding the term residency reclassification is desired, that would make a student ineligible for residency:
  • Support from individuals who are not Ohio residents
  • PLUS loan money because these types of loans are taken out by the student's parents
  • "Loan" from individuals or entities that are not Ohio residents
  • Loans with a co-borrower
  • Savings that have not been in an account in your name for a least one year prior to the beginning of your residency review period (this must be proven)
  • Financial aid that required you to be a resident of another state in order to receive it
  • Credit card debt

25. How important is it that I obtain an Ohio driver's license or register to vote in Ohio?

  • Obtaining an Ohio driver license and registering to vote in Ohio demonstrate your intent to make Ohio your state of residence. Since the Ohio Board of Regents Guidelines are meant to exclude from residency those who are in Ohio for educational purposes only, transferring these items of registration is a way to show that you intend to become an Ohio resident.
  • If you own a car, you must provide a copy of your driver's license.

26. I am currently trying to establish residency. How does leaving Ohio for the summer or any period for an internship, study abroad, etc, affect my residency application?

  • The expectation is that students who are in the process of establishing their residency are physically living in the State of Ohio for the 12 consecutive months prior to the term for which they are requesting reclassification. Leaving the state for the summer or for any length of time longer than a 3-week period seriously jeopardizes your claim to Ohio residency. Students who leave Ohio for internships, study abroad, etc., during their residency review period for any period longer than three weeks must submit a letter from their college Dean's Office stating that the student was encouraged to participate in the internship or program and that it was approved by the college.
  • Students must also maintain their home in Ohio while in the other state on the internship. Proof that their home in Ohio was maintained will be required which will include but is not limited to copies of canceled checks for the payment of rent, copies of leases, or documents proving the purchase of a home in Ohio. If these documents cannot be provided, the absence will cause a denial of residency.
  • Any income earned during the internship in another state is not eligible towards residency.

27. After reading the residency guidelines, I think I should have been considered a resident several months ago. Can I apply for a prior term and get a refund if I can show I was a resident then?

No. The state guidelines prohibit retroactive residency decisions. Your application will only be considered for the current semester, providing you have submitted the petition prior to the deadline, which is the 11th week of the current semester.  If the petition is submitted after the 11th week, it will be considered for the next semester.

28. Can I use my savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc, as "income" for establishing residency during my 12-month residency review period?

  • Savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., may be used as income during a 12 month residency review period if the account(s) and funds are determined as eligible.
  • If you have used savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that are in your name, you must also prove that you had these funds in your possession 12 months prior to the beginning of your residency review period. The residency review period is the 12 months proceeding the semester you wish to be reclassified as a resident.
  • The student must demonstrate and provide documentation proving that they had control over the funds if any other persons name is listed on the account. Eligibility of the account(s) and final determination will be decided by the Residency Officer if another name is on the account other than the student's.
  • You will then be required to submit a minimum of three account statements: a copy of your account statement from one year prior to the start of your 12-month review period; a copy of your account statement from the beginning of your 12-month review period; and a copy of your most recent account statement. The balance from your most recent account statement will be subtracted from your account statement at the start of your 12-month review period. This "difference" in the balance is the amount you may report as savings used during your review period. This is the amount of savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that have been used to cover your expenses during your residency review period. The amount of savings, mutual funds, stocks, etc., that you had in your possession 12 months prior to the beginning of your residency review period is the amount that will be eligible to use as a beginning balance at the beginning of your review period.
  • Students are not allowed to be "gifted" a sum of money, less than 12 months prior to the beginning of their review period, to use towards residency.

29. What if I am classified incorrectly as a nonresident upon admission?

Contact the admission office to make sure no mistakes were made in your application. But if you checked one of the nonresident boxes or are currently on a "H" visa, you will need to file a residency petition. You can state why there was an error, and must provide documentation.

30. Where do I submit the completed Residency Petition and documents?

Send the petition and documents to: Cleveland State University - Campus 411 2121 Euclid Avenue, MC 116 Cleveland, OH 44115-2214 or fax them to (216) 687-5491. Faxed documents must be readable or your petition will not be able to be reviewed.

31. Is there a deadline for filing a residency petition?

Yes, petitions will be accepted until the 11th week of the semester for which you are applying for Residency.  If the petition is submitted after the 11th week, it will be considered for the next semester.  Residency cannot be awarded retroactively.