Determination of Residency Status for Tuition Purposes
Tuition classification is governed by state law (Colorado Revised Statutes, Sections 23-7-101 to 104 and 23-7-105) and by judicial decisions that apply to all public institutions of higher education in Colorado. Colorado Mesa University does not have the discretion to make exceptions to state law. Although an individual may be considered a state resident for voting and other legal purposes after being in the state for a short period of time, the tuition law specifies additional requirements for classification as “in-state” for tuition purposes.
Initial tuition classification is determined from information a student supplies on an application for admission to Colorado Mesa University. Failure to completely answer questions may lead to an initial classification of out-of-state for tuition purposes. A student’s residency status will be stated within their admissions letter. Students who identify that their classification is incorrect should contact the Admissions Office immediately.
Students who are entering a Colorado university after completing high school are granted in-state status if they:
- Are a United States citizen
- Graduated from a CO public or private high school (list school)
- Attended a CO high school for at least one year immediately preceding high school graduation (must list specific years of attendance)
Students who have earned a GED or high school equivalency exam in Colorado are granted in-state status if they:
- Are a United States citizen
- Successfully completed a GED test (list test date)
- Resided in CO for the 12 months preceding the proposed first semester of enrollment at a CO college (list specific years of residence)
New students seeking in-state status who are unable to answer either of the above series of questions will need to answer all questions on the residency section of the admissions application. If a student is under the age of 23 and not otherwise emancipated via marriage, having a dependent or having been in military service, then CO statute requires parental information to determine the student’s residency status. A student under the age of 23 may be granted in-state tuition based on their parental information as long as the parent meets Colorado in-state statute requirements and the student is not otherwise emancipated as previously mentioned. All questions in the residency section of the admissions application should be answered with parent information in this case.
If a student under the age of 23 is emancipated via marriage, having a dependent or having been in military service, they need only provide their own information (not parent information). If a student is over the age of 23, questions need only be answered with student information (not parent information). Colorado statute requires physical presence (domicile) and intent to be a permanent resident of Colorado a full 12 months prior to the first day of the semester in which the student wishes to be considered in-state.
Students Under 23 with No Colorado Resident Parent
Students under the age of 23 seeking in-state tuition, that do not have a parent who resides in CO and are not otherwise emancipated as outlined above, must submit a Residency Petition to request in-state status on their own accord. These students must prove that their sources of income are sufficient to meet their financial needs without any parental assistance for a full 12 month period prior to the term they are seeking in-state status. In addition, they must prove 12 month’s domicile (bodily living) in CO and that all prior state ties are severed and created in CO for that 12 month period. A Residency Petition will require documents be attached as proof and must be notarized.
Changing from Out-of-State to In-State Status
Students who begin classes at CMU with out-of-state tuition may petition for in-state status when they believe they have met all state of CO requirements for such. A Residency Petition may be submitted if:
- The student is under the age of 23 and their parent is now a CO resident;
- The student is under 23 and seeking in-state status on their own accord; or
- The student is over the age of 23 and believe they have now met CO requirements for in-state status.
A change in status is NOT automatic after attending CMU as an out-of-state student for one year; a student’s way to request in-state status is by submitting a completed, notarized Residency Petition with all requested documents attached. Domicile (bodily living) in CO a full 12 months and intent to be a permanent resident of CO are required. Intent requires severing prior state ties and creating them in CO. Such items include, but are not limited to: driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration and payment of CO state income tax.
The Residency Petition may be found on our Admissions Forms web page. Completed, notarized petitions with all requested documents attached are to be submitted directly to the Tuition Classification Officer located in the Admissions Office. Please see the residency petition deadlines.
Students who do not agree with the decision of their residency petition may appeal the decision in writing within 15 days from the date their denial decision was e-mailed to them. The appeal and any additional documentation should be sent directly to the Tuition Classification Officer located in the Admissions Office. The decision of the Residency Appeals Committee is the final university determination. For further residency related questions, please contact the Tuition Classification Officer at 970.248.1875.
Military Exemptions and Tuition
Certain exemptions for in-state tuition status are available for military personnel if:
- Military personnel is active duty and stationed in CO – copy of orders needed to consider student, spouse, or children in-state without further documentation.
- Honorably discharged veterans, not using military education benefits, that have resided in Colorado less than 12 months are eligible for in-state tuition with a copy of their DD-214 showing honorable discharge and proof of Colorado being a true and fixed permanent state of residence before the first day of the term.
- Veteran is using VA Education benefits – a copy of Certificate of Eligibility must be provided to the CMU Veteran Services office.
Service members who do not receive an honorable discharge are not eligible for in-state status under the state statutes or for federal veteran education benefits. These students, may, however, meet Colorado in-state residency requirements outlined in C.R.S. 23-7-103.
Contact the Tuition Classification Officer in the Admissions Office for further details.
Dependents of Military Personnel
Certain exemptions for in-state tuition status are also available for dependents of military personnel if:
- Military personnel is an active duty member of armed forces in CO and is
- stationed in CO or
- was transferred out of Colorado;
- Military personnel is active duty in the state during the student’s last year of high school and student intends to enroll in CMU within 12 months of graduating from high school;
A veteran child dependent or spouse applying as a student must:
- Have a military parent/spouse who was stationed in Colorado within the last 12 years on PCS orders
- If a child dependent, be biological or legally adopted
- If a spouse, have been married to the military member at the time the member was stationed in Colorado and at the time the spouse is requesting resident tuition classification
- Veteran dependents who do not qualify for the exception above may qualify for in-state tuition if the dependent qualifies under the requirements of the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020 Sec 1005. To qualify through Isakson and Roe, the student must be using transferred post-9/11 GI Bill benefits
- The honorably discharged service member does not reside in Colorado, but was assigned on permanent or temporary duty in Colorado within the past 12 years;
- Dependent is using VA Education benefits – a copy of Certificate of Eligibility must be provided to the CMU Veteran Services Office.
Citizenship and Tuition Classification
Unless otherwise noted in this section, only US citizens, permanent residents, and a select few Visa holders are eligible to be considered for in-state tuition status. Additionally, students without lawful immigration status may be eligible for in-state status if they meet all criteria through ASSET as outlined in the following paragraph.
Students without Lawful Immigration Status and Colorado ASSET Bill
SB 13-033, otherwise known as the ASSET bill, was signed into law in April of 2013. This bill allows certain students without lawful immigration status to be considered in-state for tuition purposes when all the following criteria are met:
- Attended a CO high school for a minimum of one year;
- Graduated from a CO high school;
- Have completed the College Opportunity Fund (COF) application process including attached Affidavit;
- Reside in Colorado for at least 12 consecutive months prior to enrolling at the institution.
Students having earned a GED may be considered as long as the GED or high school equivalency test is completed in Colorado and they have completed the COF application and affidavit. Students who were not admitted to the university within 12 months of their high school graduation or GED test date must prove 12 months physical domicile in CO in addition to the above requirements. Please contact the Tuition Classification Officer in the Admissions Office for further details.
Under the Colorado American Indian Tribes In-State Tuition Act (effective Fall 2021), a student who would not otherwise qualify for in-state tuition and who is a registered member of one of the federally recognized American Indian tribes with historical ties to Colorado, as designated by the Colorado Commission of Indian Affairs in partnership with History Colorado, is eligible to be classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes.
Special Immigrants & Refugees
According to Senate Bill 18-087 (effective Fall 2018), a foreign national admitted to the United States as a refugee or special immigrant who settles in Colorado upon entering the United States is eligible for classification as an in-state student immediately upon settlement in Colorado. The primary purpose for settlement in Colorado must not be solely for educational purposes.
Required documentation may include:
- A copy of your Form I-589 or other proof of application
- If you're under the age of 23: A copy of your Colorado parent's immigration status to the United States
- If you've recently applied for U.S. permanent residency: A copy of your I-485 receipt notice
Senate Bill 23-096 (effective Fall 2023) requires a Peace Corps volunteer to be classified as an in-state student for tuition purposes if the student was certified by the director of the Peace Corps as having served satisfactorily as a Peace Corps volunteer.