Am I eligible for In-State Tuition Rates?
Generally, state financial aid programs and in-state tuition are reserved for Virginia residents. A student's eligibility for in-state tuition rate is based on information provided by the student on the domicile portion of the college application.
This eligibility for in-state tuition is determined by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) guidelines pertaining to Code of Virginia § 23.1 chapter 5, which authorizes over a dozen individual paths for qualifying for in-state tuition. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) provides “Domicile Guidelines” to assist persons who are potentially eligible for Virginia in-state residency and in-state tuition rates. To review the Domicile Guidelines that are provided by SCHEV, please click here.
Dependent StudentsA dependent student is a student who receives substantial financial support from his or her parents or legal guardian. If you are under age 24 on the first day of classes, we will automatically classify you as a dependent student unless you:
- are married,
- are a veteran or active-duty member of the U.S. armed forces,
- are a graduate or first-professional student,
- are a ward of the court or were a ward of the court until age 18,
- have no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased, or
- have legal dependents other than a spouse.
Virginia Peninsula will look at the parents' domicile to determine if a dependent student is eligible for in-state tuition or state financial aid programs.
If you are under 24 and do not meet any of these six conditions, the only way you can be classified as an independent student is if you convince this College that you are financially self-sufficient.
If you are not classified as a dependent student, you may establish your own Virginia domicile.
A married person may establish domicile like any other student. A person's domicile is not automatically altered by marriage. However, if a student receives substantial financial support from his or her spouse, the student may claim domicile through the spouse. In such cases, Virginia Peninsula will look at the spouse's domicile to determine if the student is eligible for in-state tuition or state financial aid programs. You must inform the VPCC if you wish to claim domicile through your spouse.
How to Establish Residency (Domicile)
The primary pathway to in-state residency and in-state tuition is through establishing “domicile”, meaning that Virginia is the person’s permanent legal home state, where they intend to remain indefinitely with no plan or expectations to leave and where they remain ties even during prolonged absence. See below information on “Basic Requirements” and “Domiciliary Intent”.
An individual must demonstrate legal residence in Virginia with an intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely to establish domicile in Virginia. After meeting the requirements to establish domicile, a person must continue to be domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 months preceding the first day of classes.
Several factors are used to determine if a person demonstrates intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely. Below is a list of information that may be requested in order to establish domiciliary intent:
- State to which income taxes are paid
- Voter registration and actual voting
- Driver's license
- Motor vehicle registration
- Continuous residence in Virginia
- Social and economic ties
- Ownership of real property
- Sources of financial support
- Current employment
- Post-graduation employment in Virginia
- Military records
Other Paths to Qualify for In-State Tuition
Students not able to demonstrate domicile in Virginia can obtain the in-state tuition rate by meeting requirements of one of the exceptions provided within the Code of Virginia. While there are many pathways to in-state tuition rates, not all pathways are considered for federal or state financial assistance. Below is a list of common exceptions:
- A student who lives outside Virginia but who works or whose parent works in Virginia;
- A student who is active duty military residing within the Commonwealth or the spouse/dependent of active duty military member;
- A student who is a veteran and residing within the Commonwealth;
- A student who is a refugee or has received a Special Immigrant Visa;
- A high school student who is in a dual-enrollment program at a community college;
Virginia Peninsula admissions staff may ask you questions to determine if you qualify for exceptions.
All students have the right to appeal an out-of-state tuition rate.
If you are a new student (or are returning after an absence of at least one term), please complete the Residency/Domicile Application form to request a review of the initial determination. If you have pre-registered, please be sure to submit this request at least 3 business days before the payment deadline.
If you are a returning student who has previously paid out-of-state tuition and would like to be reevaluated, please complete the Residency/Domicile Reclassification form.
Evaluation of the domicile reclassification will be completed by the first day of classes for each enrollment term. Retroactive domicile status cannot be granted.
Note: Domicile reclassification must be requested and determined on or before the first day of classes for the semester of eligibility.