FAQs

Domicile

A student, past the age of majority, whose parents have surrendered the right to care, custody and earnings, do not claim the student as a dependent on federal and state income tax returns, and have stopped providing the student substantial financial support (more than 50%).

A student who is listed as a dependent on the tax returns of their parent(s) or legal guardian, or who receives substantial financial support (more than 50%) from them.  A married student whose spouse provides substantial financial support also can be a dependent student.  A student under the age of 24 on the first day of the semester or term is presumed to dependent unless the student meets one of the exceptions listed in the Virginia Code.

There is no required list of actions that, if taken, will qualify you for in-state tuition.  Every student’s situation is unique, so we cannot speculate when or if you will qualify without thoroughly reviewing all required written documentation, including the application form and supporting documentation.

The first official day of classes for the semester or term that you are seeking in-state tuition.  The deadline may be different for Law School students.  Check your Academic Calendar for specific dates.  File early to obtain a much quicker decision!

Domicile is the present, fixed home of an individual to which one returns following temporary absences and at which one intends to remain indefinitely.  Domiciliary intent, together with physical presence, establishes domicile.  Evidence of domiciliary intent includes, among other things, paying resident Virginia income taxes, obtaining a Virginia driver’s license and registering your vehicle here.  Domicile must be established by the student (or the parent, legal guardian, or spouse) for at least one year immediately preceding the first day of classes.

A legal status created by a court order that gives someone personal and financial responsibility over a minor.  You must provide verification of the court appointment and demonstrate that the appointment was not for the purpose of obtaining in-state tuition.

Maybe.  The domicile of a dependent student may be either the domicile of the parent with whom he resides, the parent who claims the student as a dependent for federal or Virginia income tax purposes, or the parent who provides the student substantial financial support.

No.  Applicants must petition separately at each college or university.  Each school is responsible for verifying the domicile of its own students.

No.  The Financial Aid Office gets its initial information from your FAFSA form. If you report that you are a resident, then the Financial Aid Office will process your form as a resident. If that assessment runs counter to the Office of Admissions assessment, then you are considered a nonresident and your financial aid offer will be recalculated. If you detect discrepancies in correspondence you receive from the Office of Admissions and the Office of Student Financial Aid, you should contact those offices for clarification.

No.  Virginia law prohibits retroactively changing a student’s domiciliary status.  It is the student’s responsibility to apply for a change in domiciliary status upon becoming eligible for such change.

Maybe.  The above “factors” are evidence of domiciliary intent but are not determinative because Virginia law requires consideration of other matters.  If you are a dependent student or a minor, your domicile will be presumed to be that of your parent(s).  If your residence or physical presence in Virginia is primarily for educational purposes, you will not qualify for in-state tuition even if you achieved all of the above factors.  If you entered the University as an out-of-state student, you must present clear and convincing evidence to rebut the presumption that you are residing in Virginia primarily to attend school.

No.  Virginia law specifically provides that an individual who holds a student or other temporary visa, including a B-1 (Visitor) or J-1 (Exchange Visitor) visa, does not possess the legal ability to establish a domicile in Virginia and, therefore, is not eligible for in-state tuition.

Yes. Qualifying for in-state tuition is not automatic.

Possibly.  Even if you are currently paying in-state tuition, you may lose your eligibility to pay in-state tuition in any subsequent semester by doing something that is incompatible with having the intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely, or otherwise indicating your intent to establish your domicile elsewhere.

You would request in-state tuition from the Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions Office when applying to Mason.  If the Admissions Office determines that you should pay out-of-state tuition, only then may you apply for in-state tuition through the Office of the Registrar, Domicile Appeals section.

Yes, but you must still request in-state tuition status when applying to Mason.  Failing to provide proper documentation of military service may result in you being classified as out-of-state.  Additional information can be obtained at the University’s Office of Military Services at http://military.gmu.edu or the Office of the University Registrar, Domicile Appeals.  Contact the Office of Military Services for information regarding other veteran benefits or the veteran certification process.

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Disclaimer

This web site and accompanying materials have been prepared by the George Mason University Office of the University Registrar for informational purposes only, and may not be construed as "Legal Advice" or an official determination of eligibility for in-state tuition by the Office of the University Registrar.

Because this web site is not intended to be a determination of eligibility for in-state tuition, the reader should not rely on any information provided in this website as such.

It is incumbent on the student to apply for change in domiciliary status on becoming eligible for such change. Changes in domiciliary status shall only be granted prospectively from the date such application is received.