Residency Determination Service (RDS)

Understanding Residency Determination Service (RDS)

In order to receive in-State tuition, a student must be classified as a resident for tuition purposes. Completing RDS is a required step in the community college application process.  North Carolina law sets forth the eligibility criteria required to receive in-State tuition. Residency determinations are implemented through a centralized, uniform process called Residency Determination Services, more commonly known as RDS.  RDS ensures that no matter which North Carolina community college or university you want to attend, your residency status will be the same. The North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (SEAA) is the State agency responsible for implementing and administering North Carolina residency law and the RDS system.

Why Residency Matters in North Carolina

The state offers subsidized tuition costs for students whose permanent legal residence is in North Carolina, considering it a taxpayer benefit. In addition, millions of dollars of State-funded financial aid goes to students who receive in-State tuition.  

Therefore, understanding and determining your residency status is crucial as it directly impacts your tuition and state financial aid. Explore, understand, and if needed, reach out to for more information to ensure you are well-informed and can navigate your educational journey smoothly in North Carolina!

Completing the RDS Process

Here you can complete the RDS process online and find answers to information navigating the RDS  If you need additional help, there is a toll-free number to the RDS Call Center.  Contact information is listed below.

If you believe you have been incorrectly classified as an out-of-State student, you can request a reconsideration. Additional information on reconsiderations and appeals can be found here.

Also, while you may not qualify as a resident for in-State tuition under the residency law, there are several exceptions for community college students. Eligibility for these exceptions is made at the local community college.

Contact RDS

200 West Jones Street Raleigh, North Carolina 27603

(919) 807-7100