Residency Determination Service (RDS)

Residency Determination Service (RDS)

Session Law 2013 – 360 directs the University of North Carolina (UNCGA), the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) to create a centralized, uniform process for determining residency for tuition purposes and for administration of state financial aid.

Purpose and Background of North Carolina Residency

The state of North Carolina partially subsidizes the cost of tuition for all students whose domicile, or permanent legal residence, is in North Carolina. Since it first became a state, North Carolina has abided by the philosophy that an educated public is necessary to a democratic government and that the State, therefore, has an obligation to provide for the education of its people. Article IX, Section 9, of the State Constitution states “The General Assembly shall provide that the benefits of the University of North Carolina and other public institutions of higher education, as far as practicable, be extended to the people of the State free of expense”. Therefore, while North Carolina welcomes out-of-state students it considers the privilege of providing a reduced in-state tuition rate to be a taxpayer benefit.

In 2013 the NC General Assembly became concerned about inconsistency in residency determinations across institutions of higher education in North Carolina. The General Assembly legislatively directed UNC General Administration (GA), the NC Community College System (NCCCS), the NC State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) and the NC Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) to create a centralized, uniform process for determining residency for tuition purposes and for administration of state financial aid. This centralized process is known as the Residency Determination Service (RDS). In order for a student to receive the benefits of in - state tuition a residency determination from RDS is required as part of admission. To learn more about residency and complete a determination go to: www.NCresidency.org

Residency Determination Service (RDS)

The purpose and mission of RDS is to provide leadership and administration of residency determinations in accordance with North Carolina residency laws and applicable federal statutes. The RDS goal is to provide students access to transparent information and the opportunity to claim NC residency in a simple, accurate and straight forward manner. For more information on residency for tuition purposes contact RDS at: 

www.NCresidency.org
844-896-2411 (phone)
919-835-2427 (fax)

Determining Residency Status

The specific requirements for establishing residency for tuition classification purposes are prescribed by state law. A North Carolina resident for tuition purposes is a person, or a dependent person (dependent according to IRS tax code), whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal residence in North Carolina for at least 12 months. Residence in North Carolina must be legitimate and be a permanent situation rather than just for the purpose of maintaining a residence prior to enrollment at an institution of higher education.

Under North Carolina law, to qualify for in - state tuition, you must show that:

  • You have established your legal residence (domicile) in North Carolina.
  • You have maintained that domicile for at least twelve (12) consecutive months before the beginning of the term.
  • You have a residentiary presence in the state.
  • You intend to make North Carolina your permanent home indefinitely (rather than being in North Carolina solely to attend college).

Other persons not meeting the 12-month legal residence requirement may be classified as North Carolina residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited categories authorized by the North Carolina Legislature. All other persons are ineligible for classification as a North Carolina “resident for tuition purposes” and will be charged out-of-state tuition. To learn more about residency and complete a determination go to www.NCresidency.org .