The University of South Carolina is required by state law to determine the residence classification of applicants. The initial determination of ones resident status is made at the time of admission. The determination made at that time, and any determination made thereafter, prevails for each subsequent semester until information becomes available that would impact the existing residency status and the determination is successfully challenged. The burden of proof rests with the students to show evidence as deemed necessary to establish and maintain their residency status.
Legal Residency Requirements for Fee and Tuition Purposes
Code of Laws Governing Residence (SC ADC 62-601)
Rules regarding the establishment of legal residence for tuition and fee purposes for institutions of higher education are governed by Title 59, Chapter 112, of the 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended.
Definitions (SC ADC 62-602)
Academic Session is defined as a term or semester of enrollment.
Continue to be Enrolled is defined as continuous enrollment without an interruption that would require the student to pursue a formal process of readmission to the institution. Formal petitions or applications for change of degree level shall be considered readmissions.
Dependent Person is defined as one whose predominant source of income or support is from payments from a parent, spouse, or guardian and who qualifies as a dependent or exemption on the federal income tax return of the parent, spouse, or guardian. A dependent person is also one for whom payments are made, under court order, for child support and the cost of the dependent persons college education. A dependent persons residency is based upon the residency of the person upon whom they are dependent.
Domicile is defined as the true, fixed, principal residence and place of habitation. It shall indicate the place where a person intends to remain, or to where one expects to return upon leaving without establishing a new domicile in another state. For purposes of this section, one may have only one legal domicile. One is presumed to abandon automatically an old domicile upon establishing a new one. Housing provided on an academic session basis for students at institutions shall be presumed not to be a place of principal residence, as residency in such housing is by its nature temporary.
Familys Domicile in this State is Terminated is defined as an employer-directed transfer of the person upon whom the student is dependent and is not construed to mean a voluntary change in domicile. Also included is a relocation of the person upon whom the student is dependent who is laid off through no fault of their own, e.g. plant closure, downsizing, etc., who accepts employment in another state prior to relocating.
Full-Time Employment is defined as employment that consists of at least thirty-seven and one-half hours a week on a single job in a full-time status. However, a person who works less than thirty-seven and one-half hours a week but receives or is entitled to receive full-time employee benefits shall be considered to be employed full-time if such status is verified by the employer. A person who meets the eligibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act must satisfy their prescribed employment specifications in order to qualify as having full-time employment.
Guardian is defined as one legally responsible for the care and management of the person or property of a minor child or one qualified to claim a dependent person based upon the five tests for dependency prescribed by the Internal Revenue Service, provided, however, that where circumstances indicate that such guardianship or custodianship was created primarily for the purpose of conferring South Carolina domicile for tuition and fee purposes on such child or dependent person, it shall not be given such effect.
Immediately Prior is defined as the period of time between the offer of admission and the first day of class of the term for which the offer was made, not to exceed one calendar year.
Independent Person is defined as one in his/her majority (eighteen years of age or older) or an emancipated minor whose predominant source of income is his/her own earnings or income from employment, investments, or payments from trusts, grants, scholarships, commercial loans, or payments made in accordance with court order. An independent person must provide more than half of his or her support during the twelve months immediately prior to the date that classes begin for the semester for which resident status is requested. An independent person cannot be claimed as a dependent or exemption on the federal tax return of his or her parent, spouse, or guardian for the year in which resident status is requested.
Minor is defined as a person who has not attained the age of eighteen years. An emancipated minor shall mean a minor whose parents have entirely surrendered the right to the care, custody, and earnings of such minor and are no longer under any legal obligation to support or maintain such minor.
Nonresident Alien is defined as a person who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. By virtue of their non-resident status nonresident aliens generally do not have the capacity to establish domicile in South Carolina.
Parent is defined as the father, mother, stepfather, stepmother, foster parent or parent of a legally adopted child.
Reside is defined as continuous and permanent physical presence within the state, provided that absences for short periods of time shall not affect the establishment of residence. Excluded are absences associated with requirements to complete a degree, absences for military training service, and like absences, provided South Carolina domicile is maintained.
Resident for tuition and fee purposes is defined as an independent person who has abandoned all prior domiciles and has been domiciled in South Carolina continuously for at least twelve months immediately preceding the first day of class of the term for which resident classification is sought and for whom there is an absence of domiciliary evidence in other states or countries, not withstanding other provisions of the statute.
Spouse is defined as the husband or wife of a married person in accordance with Title 20, Chapter 1, of the 1976 South Carolina Code of Laws, as amended.
Temporary Absence is defined as a break in enrollment during a fall or spring semester (or its equivalent) during which a student is not registered for class.
Terminal Leave is defined as a transition period following active employment and immediately preceding retirement (with a pension or annuity), during which the individual may use accumulated leave.
United States Armed Forces is defined as the United States Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, Navy, and Coast Guard.
Citizens and Permanent Residents (SC ADC 62-603)
Independent persons who have physically resided and been domiciled in South Carolina for twelve continuous months immediately preceding the date the classes begin for the semester for which resident status is claimed may qualify to pay in-state tuition and fees. The twelve-month residency period starts when the independent person establishes the intent to become a South Carolina resident per section entitled Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary. Absences from the state during the twelve-month period may affect the establishment of permanent residence for tuition and fee purposes.
The resident status of a dependent person is based on the resident status of the person who provides more than half of the dependent persons support and claims or qualifies to claim the dependent person as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. Thus, the residence and domicile of a dependent person shall be presumed to be that of their parent, spouse, or guardian.
In the case of divorced or separated parents, the resident status of the dependent person may be based on the resident status of the parent who claims the dependent person as a dependent for tax purposes, based on the resident status of the parent who has legal custody or legal joint custody of the dependent person, or based on the resident status of the person who makes payments under a court order for child support and at least the cost of his/her college tuition and fees.
Nonresident Aliens, Noncitizens, and Nonpermanent Residents (SC ADC 62-6040)
Except as otherwise specified in this section or as provided in section entitled Exceptions, independent noncitizens and nonpermanent residents of the United States will be assessed tuition and fees at the nonresident, out-of-state rate. Independent nonresident aliens, including refugees, asylees, and parolees, may be entitled to resident, in-state classification once they have been awarded permanent resident status by the U.S. Department of Justice and meet all the statutory residency requirements provided that all other domiciliary requirements are met. Time spent living in South Carolina immediately prior to the awarding of permanent resident status does not count toward the twelve month residency period. Certain nonresident aliens present in the United States in specified visa classification are eligible to receive in-state residency status for tuition and fee purposes as prescribed by the Commission on Higher Education. They are not, however, eligible to receive state sponsored tuition assistance/scholarships.
Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) serves as the primary resource for defining visa categories.
Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary (SC ADC 62-605)
Resident status may not be acquired by an applicant or student while residing in South Carolina for the sole purpose of enrollment in an institution or for access to state-supported programs designed to serve South Carolina residents.
If a person asserts that his/her domicile has been established in this state, the individual has the burden of proof. Such persons should provide to the designated residency official of the institution to which they are applying any and all evidence the person believes satisfies the burden of proof. The residency official will consider any and all evidence provided concerning such claim of domicile, but will not necessarily regard any single item of evidence as conclusive evidence that domicile has been established.
For independent persons or the parent, spouse, or guardian of dependent persons, examples of intent to become a South Carolina resident may include, although any single indicator may not be conclusive, the following indicia:
1. statement of full-time employment;
2. possession of a valid South Carolina voter registration card;
3. designating South Carolina as state of legal residence on military record;
4. possession of a valid South Carolina drivers license, or if a nondriver, a South Carolina identification card. Failure to obtain this within 45 days of the establishment of the intent to become a South Carolina resident will delay the beginning date of residency eligibility.
5. possession of a valid South Carolina vehicle registration card. Failure to obtain this within 90 days of the establishment of the intent to become a South Carolina resident will delay the beginning date of residency eligibility.
6. maintenance of domicile in South Carolina;
7. paying South Carolina income taxes as a resident during the past tax year, including income earned outside of South Carolina from the date South Carolina domicile was claimed;
8. ownership of principal residence in South Carolina; and
9. licensing for professional practice (if applicable) in South Carolina.
The absence of indicia in other states or countries is required before the student is eligible to pay in-state rates.
Maintaining Residence (SC ADC 62-606)
A persons temporary absence from the state does not necessarily constitute loss of South Carolina residence unless the person has acted inconsistently with the claim of continued South Carolina residence during the persons absence from the state. The burden is on the person to show retention of South Carolina residence during the persons absence from the state. Steps a person should take to retain South Carolina resident status for tuition and fee purposes include:
1. continuing to use a South Carolina permanent address on all records;
2. retaining South Carolina voters status;
3. maintaining South Carolina drivers license;
4. maintaining South Carolina vehicle registration;
5. satisfying South Carolina resident income tax obligation. Individuals claiming permanent residence in South Carolina are liable for payment of income taxes on their total income from the date that they established South Carolina residence. This includes income earned in another state or country.
Active duty members of the United States Armed Forces and their dependents are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees as long as they continuously claim South Carolina as their state of legal residence during their military service. Documentation will be required in all cases to support this claim. South Carolina residents who change their state of legal residence while in the military lose their South Carolina resident status for tuition and fee purposes.
Effect of Change of Residency (SC ADC 62-607)
Notwithstanding other provisions of this section, any dependent person of a legal resident of this state who has been domiciled with his/her family in South Carolina for a period of not less than three years and whose familys domicile in this state is terminated immediately prior to his/her enrollment may enroll at the in-state rate. A student must continue to be enrolled and registered for classes (excluding summers) in order to maintain eligibility to pay in-state rates in subsequent semesters. Transfers within or between South Carolina colleges and universities of a student seeking a certificate, diploma, associate, baccalaureate, or graduate level degree does not constitute a break in enrollment.
If a dependent or independent person has been domiciled in South Carolina for less than three years, eligibility for in-state rates shall end on the last day of the academic session during which domicile is lost. Application of this provision shall be at the discretion of the institution involved.
Effect of Marriage (SC ADC 62-608)
In ascertaining domicile of a married person, irrespective of gender, such a review shall be determined just as for an unmarried person by reference to all relevant evidence of domiciliary intent.
If a nonresident marries a South Carolina resident, the nonresident does not automatically acquire South Carolina resident status. The nonresident may acquire South Carolina resident status if the South Carolina resident is an independent person and the nonresident is a dependent of the South Carolina resident.
Marriage to a person domiciled outside South Carolina shall not be solely the reason for precluding a person from establishing or maintaining domicile in South Carolina and subsequently becoming eligible or continuing to be eligible for residency.
No person shall be deemed solely by reason of marriage to a person domiciled in South Carolina to have established or maintained domicile in South Carolina and consequently to be eligible for or to retain eligibility for South Carolina residency.
Exceptions (SC ADC 62-609)
Persons in the following categories qualify to pay in-state tuition and fees without having to establish a permanent home in the state for twelve months. Persons who qualify under any of these categories must meet the conditions of the specific category on or before the first day of class of the term for which payment of in-state tuition and fees is requested.
Military Personnel and Their Dependents. Members of the United States Armed Forces who are permanently assigned in South Carolina on active duty and their dependents are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees. When such personnel are transferred from the state, their dependents may continue to pay in-state tuition and fees for an additional twelve months. Such persons (and their dependents) may also be eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees for a period of twelve months after their discharge from the military, provided they have demonstrated an intent to establish a permanent home in South Carolina and they have resided in South Carolina for a period of at least twelve months immediately preceding their discharge. Military personnel who are not stationed in South Carolina and/or former military personnel who intend to establish South Carolina residency must fulfill the twelve month physical presence requirement for them or their dependents to qualify to pay in-state tuition and fees.
Faculty and Administrative Employees with Full-Time Employment and Their Dependents. Full-time faculty and administrative employees of South Carolina state-supported colleges and universities and their dependents are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees.
Residents with Full-Time Employment and their Dependents. Persons who reside, are domiciled, and are full-time employed in the state and who continue to work full-time until they meet the twelve-month requirement and their dependents are eligible to pay in-state tuition and fees, provided that they have taken steps to establish a permanent home in the state. Steps an independent person must take to establish residency in South Carolina are listed above in the section entitled Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary."
Retired Persons and their Dependents. Retired persons who are receiving a pension or annuity who reside in South Carolina and have been domiciled in South Carolina as prescribed in the statute for less than a year may be eligible for in-state rates if they maintain residence and domicile in this state. Persons on terminal leave who have established residency in South Carolina may be eligible for in-state rates even if domiciled in the state for less than one year if they present documentary evidence from their employer showing they are on terminal leave. The evidence should show beginning and ending dates for the terminal leave period and that the person will receive a pension or annuity when he/she retires.
South Carolina residents who wish to participate in the Contract for Services Program sponsored by the Southern Regional Education Board must have continuously resided in the state for other than educational purposes for at least two years immediately preceding application for consideration and must meet all residency requirements during this two-year period.
Application for Change of Resident Status (SC ADC 62-610)
Persons applying for a change of resident classification must complete a residency application and provide supporting documentation at least four to six weeks prior to the start of classes for the semester for which status is requested.
The burden of proof rests with those persons applying for a change of resident classification who must show required evidence to document the change in resident status.
All requests for refunds are limited to the current academic year for which the refund is requested. Refunds may be requested any time during the academic year in which the applicable term occurs. Residency applications must be completed before the end of the academic year for which a refund is requested. The academic year begins with the fall term and ends with the last summer session.
Incorrect Classification (SC ADC 62-611)
Persons incorrectly classified as residents are subject to reclassification and to payment of all nonresident tuition and fees not paid. If incorrect classification results from false or concealed facts, such persons may be charged tuition and fees past due and unpaid at the out-of-state rate. The violator may also be subject to administrative, civil, and financial penalties. Until these charges are paid, such persons will not be allowed to receive transcripts or graduate from the University.
Residents whose resident status changes are responsible for notifying the residency official of the institution attended of such changes.
Inquiries and Appeals (SC ADC 62-612)
Inquiries regarding residency requirements and determinations should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Records, P.O. Box 889, University of South Carolina Lancaster, Lancaster, SC 29721; or call 803-313-7071.
Any person, following a decision on his or her resident classification, may appeal the decision to the University Committee on Legal Residence. The committee, however, is bound by the same laws and regulations as the residency officials, so its purpose is only to review the facts and details of any case brought before it to evaluate the correctness of the decision made by residency officials. Neither the committee nor residency officials may waive the provisions of the law or regulations.
Persons who appeal residency decisions must provide a letter to the Legal Residency Office informing the office that they want to appeal the decision made by the residency official. The letter must also include a summary of the persons situation and a statement which specifies the residency provision under which the person feels he or she qualifies to pay in-state fees. The director of legal residency will then schedule a hearing as soon as possible for the committee to hear the appeal.
The residency requirements are subject to change without notification.