Residency Guidelines

Criteria to Establish Residency

    The specific requirements for establishing residency for tuition classification purposes are prescribed by state law. No person may establish domicile in Colorado solely for the purpose of changing a student's classification for tuition purposes from out-of-state to in-state. An individual who seeks to establish domicile while a registered student is presumed to be seeking domicile solely for tuition purposes, which is an unlawful purpose, absent clear and convincing evidence to the contrary [Colorado Revised Statutes § 23-7-101-103(2)(e)].

    Because Colorado law governs Colorado residency status, the fact that a student might not qualify for in-state status in any other state does not guarantee in-state status in Colorado. Moreover, it is presumed that a student classified as a non- resident at the time of matriculation who seeks to establish Colorado domicile while registered at CU seeks Colorado domicile solely for tuition purposes. The student can rebut this presumption and be deemed an in-state resident only by a showing of clear and convincing evidence of his or her eligibility for this status.

    You must be a qualified person for at least one year to be eligible to establish a Colorado domicile and begin the one year domicile period necessary to qualify for in-state tuition. Adults, emancipated minors, graduate students or a married student are qualified persons. 

    You are eligible to establish domicile and begin the one year domicile period if you are at least 22 years old, are married, or are emancipated from your parents, grandparents and/or friends. Persons not so qualified are not emancipated minors and assume the domicile of their parents, grandparents, or court-appointed legal guardian.

    Adult students cannot qualify for in-state tuition through their parents, with the following exception: Because in-state status may be lost after one year of domicile elsewhere, adult students less than age 23 may be able to qualify through their parents. Consult the Tuition Classification Officer for additional information. 

    In-state or resident status requires domicile in Colorado for one year or more immediately preceding the beginning of the semester for which in-state status is sought. "Domicile" means a person's true, fixed and permanent home and place of habitation. It is the place where the individual intends to remain and to which he intends to return when he leaves.


    Establishment of a new domicile in Colorado occurs when an individual is physically present in Colorado and does not intend to return to the state in which he or she was formerly domiciled (or to acquire a domicile at some other place outside of Colorado). The domicile of a non-emancipated minor is the same as the parent or guardian with whom he or she resides. Students over the age of 22 years, students enrolled in a graduate degree program, and emancipated minors are qualified to determine their own domicile.

    Pursuant to Colorado law, the following may be considered as evidence of Colorado domicile:
    • Payment of Colorado income tax
    • State of Colorado drivers license
    • State of Colorado voter registration
    • Graduation from a high school located in Colorado
    • Continued residence in the state of Colorado during periods when not enrolled as a student or during periods between academic sessions
    • Acceptance of future permanent employment in the state of Colorado
    • Any other factor peculiar to the individual that tends to establish the necessary intent to make Colorado a permanent home
    • Vehicle registration in Colorado
    • Ownership of residential real property in Colorado
    • Employment in Colorado (other than that normally provided to students on a temporary basis by CU or other temporary employment)

    Note: No single factor or combination of these factors may be considered conclusive evidence of domicile. Moreover, because domicile is defined as a true, fixed and permanent home, individuals who are present in Colorado on a temporary basis, e.g., for the purpose of completing a degree, cannot establish domicile by merely taking these actions.

    You may qualify for in-state tuition through the domicile of a Colorado guardian only if your guardian has legal custody as defined by Colorado Revised Statutes §19-1-103(73). The court appointing the guardianship must certify that the primary purpose of the appointment is not to qualify the student for in-state tuition. The court must also certify that your parents do not provide financial support. The guardianship must be in effect for at least one year. Power of attorney is not guardianship.

    Emancipation requires you to demonstrate financial and residential independence. This means that you cannot receive financial support from your parents, extended family or other similar sources, including from funds your parents or others may have previously established in your name. Parents and family may provide reasonable incidental gifts consistent with emancipation, so long as such gifts are not inconsistent with the concept of financial independence. You are an emancipated minor if you are less than 22 years old and have been financially and residentially independent for at least one year. This means your parents, grandparents, family, friends, etc. have entirely surrendered the right to your care, custody, and earnings, are no longer under a duty to support you, and have made no provision for your support.


    You must have income necessary to pay all of your ordinary or necessary expenses, including tuition. Financial support from sources outside your personal income, including gifts and loans (including PLUS loans), and trust funds or other assets established by your family are regarded as evidence of non-emancipation if the funds or assets were intended, or could reasonably have been expected, to provide support for the period you claim to be emancipated. If you are an emancipated minor granted in-state tuition status, you are subject to reclassification as a non-resident if support is resumed.

    The following may be considered as evidence of emancipation, although none of these items, other than marriage, may be considered as conclusive evidence of emancipation:
    • Entry into the military service by the minor
    • Evidence that the minor is independently able to meet his or her own financial obligations, including the cost of his or her education
    • A minor’s marriage
    • Any other factor peculiar to the individual that tends to establish that he or she is independent