Eligibility for In-State Tuition Rates

To be considered for in-state tuition, students must meet the residency requirements set forth by the Code of Virginia.

To qualify for in-state tuition, a student or in the case of a dependent student, their parent, spouse or legal guardian must demonstrate through clear and convincing evidence that they have been domiciled in Virginia for at least 12 continuous months immediately prior to the first day of classes.

Exceptions in the Virginia Code and federal provisions do exist for military members, veterans and their dependents.  See the Active Duty Military, Veterans, and Military Dependents page for more information.

Information regarding the process for making Domicile determination can also be found on the SCHEV In-State Residency website, and SCHEV’s Guidelines for Determining Domicile and Eligibility for In-State Tuition Rates.

Domicile Determinations

Domicile is initially determined by the Office of Admissions when a student applies to Mason. 

Prior to submitting your intent to enroll, all communications regarding domicile classification should be made to the Office of Admissions.

If a student fails to submit an Application for In-State rates at the time they apply to Mason, they will be automatically classified as out-of-state.

If you believe you were mistakenly  classified as out-of-state, or your circumstances have changed and you believe you now qualify for in-state tuition, you should submit a domicile appealThe deadline for any semester is no later than the first day of the semester for which you are appealing.  For summer terms, this is the first day of the first session.

Domicile changes will only be granted prospectively from the date the application is received. Please allow up to 30 business days for processing.

It is important to note that you may not qualify is you are residing in Virginia primarily to attend Mason.

It’s the student’s responsibility to apply for a change of residency. Our assistance is limited to helping students understand the process and providing information about relevant sections of the Code of Virginia. We cannot advise students on how to present their case or speculate on their chances of getting reclassified as in-state.

Dependent and Independent Students

The Virginia code also distinguishes between dependent and independent students.

Dependent student:

  • A student is a dependent if they are listed as a dependent on their parent(s), or legal guardians tax returns, or they receive 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 term is presumed to dependent unless the student meets one of the exceptions listed in the Virginia Code.

Independent student: Any student who is over the age of 24 and whose parents have not claimed them as a dependent on federal and state income tax returns for at least 12 months. A student under the age of 24 will be considered independent if they meet at least one of these conditions:

  • Is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces
  • Is a graduate or professional student
  • Is married
  • Is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18
  • Has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased
  • Has legal dependents other than a spouse
  • Is able to present clear and convincing evidence that they are financially self-sufficient

Non-U.S. citizens

Non-U.S. citizens who have an eligible status may seek eligibility for in-state tuition rates in the same manner as any other student. The burden is on the student to establish their domicile in Virginia for the required 12-month period.

See SCHEV Addendum A – Descriptions and Domicile Eligibility Status for Various Categories of Aliens

Tuition Waivers

Tuition waivers based on University Policy, such as for qualified Doctoral students, is determined by the student’s academic unit and are not administered by this office.  For questions regarding tuition waivers, contact your department.


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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.