Any student who has failed to pay all required registration fees on or before the last date to change course schedules (as indicated in the University calendar) may be dropped from class rolls. Any student who fails to relieve any other indebtedness to the University or to any of its auxiliary agencies on the date such obligations become due may not be permitted to remain in University residence halls or be issued a transcript, diploma, or degree.
Checks, Money Orders, and Credit Cards
The University assesses a credit-card convenience fee for all students paying fees by credit card. If you decide to pay with a credit card, this nonrefundable fee will be added to your bill to cover the cost being charged to the University. Since the majority of students find VIP (Visual Information Processing on the Web at http://vip.sc.edu) a convenient way to pay, VIP will present you with an option to accept this fee or decline the transaction. If you decline, you must select another method of payment. Alternative methods include electronic checks and payment by check or money order through the mail. Visa will no longer be accepted on through VIP.
The University of South Carolina is required by state law to determine the residence classification of applicants. The initial determination of one’s 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
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.
“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 person’s college education. A dependent person’s 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.
“Family’s 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 dependant 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
Independent persons who have physically resided and been domiciled in South Carolina for 12 continuous months immediately preceding the date that classes begin for the semester for which resident status is claimed may qualify to pay in-state fees. The 12-month residency period does not start until the independent person begins to take steps which indicate that the independent person intends to establish a permanent home in the state. Absences from the State for more than 30 days during the 12-month period may affect the establishment of permanent residence for fee and tuition purposes. Steps an independent person should take to establish a permanent home in South Carolina are listed in the section entitled "Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary."
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 the dependent person as a dependent for federal income tax purposes. The residence and domicile of a dependent minor and other dependent persons are presumed to be that of their parent(s), spouse, or guardian(s).
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 supports and/or claims the dependent person as a dependent for tax purposes, or it may be based on the resident status of the parent who has legal custody of the dependent person.
Nonresident Aliens, Noncitizens, and Nonpermanent Residents
Except as otherwise specified, all noncitizens and nonpermanent residents of the United States are assessed tuition fees at the nonresident, out-of-state rate. Independent aliens, including refugees, asylees, and parolees and their dependents, 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 may not be counted toward the 12-month residency period. Certain nonresident aliens present in the United States in specified visa classifications may be granted in-state residency for tuition and fee purposes.
Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary
Resident status may not be acquired by an applicant or student while residing in South Carolina for the sole purpose of enrollment at the University.
If a person asserts that his or her domicile has been established in South Carolina, the individual has the burden of proof. Such person should provide to residency officials any and all evidence which the person believes satisfies the burden of proof. Residency officials 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, examples of intent to become a South Carolina resident may include, although any single indicator may not be conclusive, indicia as listed below. The absence of indicia in other states or countries is required before a student is eligible to pay in-state rates. Indicia may include:
1. statement of full-time employment;
2. possession of a valid South Carolina voter registration card and voting in South Carolina elections;
3. designating South Carolina as the state of legal residence on military records;
4. possession of a valid South Carolina driver's license, or if a nondriver, a South Carolina identification card;
5. possession of a valid South Carolina vehicle registration card;
6. continuous presence in South Carolina during periods when not enrolled as a student;
7. paying South Carolina income taxes as a resident during the previous 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.
These indicia will likewise be considered for spouses, parents, and guardians of dependent persons who wish to establish South Carolina domicile. As noted under "Citizens and Permanent Residents," the resident status of a dependent person matches that of the person who provides more than half of the dependent person's support and claims the dependent person as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.
A person's 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 person's 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 fee and tuition purposes include: continuing to use a South Carolina permanent address on all records; retaining South Carolina voter's status; voting by absentee ballot; maintaining South Carolina driver's license; maintaining a South Carolina vehicle registration; 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 establish South Carolina residence. This includes income earned in another state or country.
South Carolina residents (and their dependents) who serve in the military may continue to be eligible to pay in-state fees as long as they continuously claim South Carolina as their state of legal residence during their military service. South Carolina residents who change their state of legal residence while in the military lose their South Carolina resident status for fee and tuition purposes. To re-establish their South Carolina resident status, such persons must take steps which indicate that they plan to re-establish permanent residence in the state. These persons must then physically reside in the state for 12 continuous months.
Effect of Change of Residency
Any dependent person, except as otherwise excluded, who has been domiciled with his or her family in South Carolina for a period of not less than three years immediately prior to enrollment at state supported colleges and universities may enroll in those institutions of higher learning at in-state rates and may continue to be enrolled at such rates even if the person upon whom he or she is dependent moves their domicile from this state.
If a dependent or independent person has been domiciled in South Carolina for less than three years, eligibility for in-state rates ends on the last day of the academic session during which domicile is lost.
Effect of Marriage
In ascertaining domicile of a married person, irrespective of gender, such a review is 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 may 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 is 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.
Persons in the following categories may qualify to pay in-state fees without having to establish a permanent home in the state for 12 months. Persons who qualify under any of these categories must meet the conditions of the specific category on or before the first day of classes of the term for which in-state fees are requested.
Military Personnel and Their Dependents. Members of the United States Armed Forces (and their dependents) who are stationed in South Carolina on active duty may be considered eligible to pay in-state fees. "Armed Forces" means the United States Air Force, Army, Marine Corps, and Navy. When such personnel are ordered away from the state, their dependents may continue to pay in-state fees for an additional 12 months. Such persons (and their dependents) may also be eligible to pay in-state fees for a period of 12 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 12 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 12-month "physical presence" requirement for them or their dependents to qualify to pay in-state fees.
Faculty and Administrative Employees, and Their Dependents. Full-time faculty and administrative employees of South Carolina state-supported colleges and universities are eligible to pay in-state fees. Dependents of such persons are also eligible.
Residents with Full-Time Employment and Their Dependents. Persons who reside, are domiciled, and are full-time employed in the state and continue to work full time until they meet the 12-month requirement are eligible to pay in-state fees, provided that they take steps to establish a permanent home in the state (see "Establishing the Requisite Intent to Become a South Carolina Domiciliary"). The dependents of such persons are also eligible.
Full-time employment means employment which consists of at least 37.5 hours a week on a single job in full-time status. However, a person who works less than 37.5 hours a week but receives or is entitled to receive full-time employee benefits may be considered to be employed full time.
Retired Persons. Retired persons who receive a pension or annuity, who reside in South Carolina, and are domiciled in South Carolina for less than a year may be eligible for in-state rates if they maintain residence and domicile in the state.
Persons on Terminal Leave. Persons on terminal leave who establish 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.
Application for Change of Resident Status
Persons applying for a change in 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 resident status is requested.
The burden of proof is the responsibility of those persons who apply for a change of resident classification. Persons who apply for resident status 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. Applications for resident status 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.
Persons incorrectly classified as residents are subject to reclassification and to payment of all nonresident 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 residency officials of such changes.
Inquiries and Appeals
Inquiries regarding residency requirements and determinations should be directed to the Legal Residency Office, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208, 803-777-4060.
Any person, following a final decision on resident classification by residency officials, may make an appeal to the University Committee on Legal Residence. The committee, however, is bound by the same laws 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.
Persons who appeal residency decisions must provide a letter to the Legal Residency Office informing the office that they wish 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 qualified to pay in-state fees.
The residency requirements are subject to change without notification.