The information on this website is considered to be general guidance and is not legal advice. Refer to the state statutes to view the actual law.

Tuition classification is governed by state law (Title 23, Article 7, of the Colorado Revised Statutes of 1973, as amended) and by judicial decisions that apply to all public institutions of higher education in Colorado, and is subject to change at any time. The university is not free to make exceptions to the rules except as specifically permitted by state law. For more information, please visit the Colorado Department of Higher Education website.

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 nonresident to resident. 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 resident status in any other state does not guarantee resident status in Colorado. Moreover, it is presumed that a student classified as a nonresident 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 a Colorado 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. You are a qualified person and thus eligible to establish domicile and begin the one-year domicile period if you are at least 22 years old, are married, are a second-year graduate student or are emancipated from your parents, grandparents, other family and/or friends. Persons not so qualified assume the domicile of their parents or court-appointed legal guardian. Students who are considered a qualified person under any of the criteria above are not eligible for in-state tuition through their parents. 

Resident status requires domicile in Colorado for one year or more immediately preceding the beginning of the semester for which resident status is sought. "Domicile" is 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 the individual intends to return when he or she 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 from 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 that of a parent or legal guardian. Students over the age of 22 years, second-year graduate students, married students and emancipated minors are qualified to determine their own domicile.

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

​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 merely by taking these actions.