Student Residency

To qualify as a resident student, state law requires that a student establish a bona fide domicile in the state of Washington for a period of one year, for purposes other than educational, prior to the start of the semester or quarter for which the student intends to register. Washington’s public colleges and universities are required to apply uniform rules in determining whether a student pays resident or nonresident tuition. 

The following are four areas of residency determination that cover special circumstances.

Undocumented or non-immigrant visa holders

Presumed undocumented students or non-immigrant visa holders who meet certain criteria are eligible for resident student status and resident tuition rates. To qualify, students must complete an affidavit promising to apply for permanent residency in the United States at the earliest possible opportunity and indicating a willingness to engage in activities necessary to acquire citizenship.


Oregon border counties

Students who live in 13 Oregon border counties are eligible for resident tuition rates at some Washington community colleges and at Washington State University Vancouver and Tri-Cities under certain conditions.


Pacific Islanders

A report titled Residency Determination for Tuition Purposes and Basic Financial Aid Eligibility can assist in determining resident eligibility for Pacific Islanders. In addition, Financial Aid eligibility for Pacific Islanders is reviewed. The information was compiled from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, State Department sources, and Washington State statutes.


Federally recognized tribes

According to RCW 28B.15.0131, American Indian students who meet the following two conditions qualify for Washington resident tuition.

  1. For a period of one year immediately prior to enrollment at a state institution of higher education, the student must have been domiciled in one or a combination of the following states: Idaho, Montana, Oregon, or Washington.

  2. The student must be a member of one of the following federally recognized tribes whose traditional and customary tribal boundaries included portions of the state of Washington, or whose tribe was granted reserved lands within the state of Washington. 

Washington State Tribes
  • Chehalis Confederated Tribes
  • Colville Confederated Tribes
  • Cowlitz Indian Tribe
  • Hoh Tribe
  • Jamestown S'Klallam Tribe
  • Kalispel Tribe
  • Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe
  • Lummi Nation
  • Makah Tribe
  • Muckleshoot Tribe
  • Nisqually Tribe
  • Nooksack Tribe
  • Port Gamble S'Klallam Tribe
  • Puyallup Tribe
  • Quileute Tribe 
  • Quinault Nation
  • Samish Nation
  • Sauk-Suiattle Tribe
  • Shoalwater Bay Tribe
  • Skokomish Tribe
  • Snoqualmie Tribe
  • Spokane Tribe
  • Squaxin Island Tribe
  • Stillaguamish Tribe
  • Suquamish Tribe
  • Swinomish Tribe
  • Tulalip Tribes
  • Upper Skagit Tribe
  • Yakama Nation
Idaho Tribes
  • Coeur d'Alene Tribe
  • Kootenai Tribe of Idaho
  • Nez Perce Tribe
Oregon Tribes
  • Grand Ronde Confederated Tribes
  • Umatilla Confederated Tribes
  • Warm Springs Confederated Tribes