The University is required to determine the residency status of each applicant. Therefore, each applicant must complete and submit a residency declaration (contained within the System Application Form), together with such documentation considered necessary to clearly determine residency status. An official determination of residency status will be made prior to enrollment.
The burden of proof for establishing resident status lies with each applicant. Final decisions will be made by the Office of Admissions. Students who do not qualify as bona fide residents of the state of Hawaiʻi, according to the University of Hawaiʻi rules and regulations in effect at the time they register, must pay the nonresident tuition. Once classified as a nonresident, a student continues to be so classified during his/her term at the college until he/she can present clear and convincing evidence to the residency officer the proves otherwise. Students may appeal the decision by the Office of Admissions. The appeal will be considered by the University of Hawaiʻi systemwide Residency Appeals Board.
Listed below are some frequently asked questions students have regarding residency:
- What is residency for tuition purposes?
- How can I be considered a resident for tuition purposes?
- How do I prove that I am a resident?
- If I am a nonresident, can I attend school and establish residency at the same time?
- Can non-U.S. citizens be residents?
- Are there any exemptions to the residency requirements?
- If I am a classified as a nonresident but believe that I am indeed a resident, can I contest my nonresident classification?
What is residency for tuition purposes?
Residency for tuition purposes is not the same as residency for other purposes, such as obtaining a Hawaiʻi driver’s license. Residency for tuition purposes is synonymous with the legal concept of domicile. A person’s domicile is the place where that person lives permanently and returns to after any absence. You can have only one domicile at any given time.
How can I be considered a resident for tuition purposes?
A student is deemed a resident of the State of Hawaiʻi for tuition purposes if the student (19 or older) or the student (under 19) and his/her parents or legal guardian have:
- Demonstrated intent to permanently reside in Hawaiʻi (see below for evidences);
- Been physically present in Hawaiʻi for the 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction, and subsequent to the demonstration of intent to make Hawaiʻi his/her legal residency; and
- The student, whether adult or minor, has not been claimed as a dependent for tax purposes for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction by his/her parents or legal guardians who are not legal residents of Hawaiʻi, unless in the case of divorced or legally separated parents, the parent legally claims the dependent and the other parent and student meet the Hawaiʻi residency requirements.
How do I prove that I am a resident?
The determination of residence requires a finding of objective fact, or physical presence, as well as subjective fact, which is the intent to establish domicile in Hawaiʻi while giving up any prior domicile.
The following actions are the most important, but no single act is sufficient to establish residency in the State of Hawaiʻi. The University will consider all actions to determine your residency status.
- Filing a Hawaiʻi resident personal income tax form
- Voting/registering to vote in Hawaiʻi
- Proof of employment in Hawaiʻi
- Ownership or continuous lease of a residence in Hawaiʻi
Any other actions that could prove domicile in Hawaiʻi are also considered.
Other legal factors in making a residency determination include:
- The 12 months of continuous residence in Hawaiʻi shall begin on the date upon which the first overt action is taken to make Hawaiʻi the permanent residence. Residence will be lost if it is interrupted during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of instruction.
- Residency in Hawaiʻi and residency in another place cannot be held simultaneously
- Presence in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend an institution of higher learning does not create resident status. A nonresident student enrolled for 6 credits or more during any term within the 12 month period is presumed to be in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend college. Such periods of enrollment cannot be applied toward the physical presence requirement.
- The residency of unmarried students who are minors follows that of the parent or legal guardian. Marriage emancipates a minor.
- Resident status, once acquired, will be lost by future voluntary action of the resident inconsistent with such status. However, Hawaiʻi residency will not be lost solely because of absence from the State while a member of the United States Armed Forces, while engaged in navigation, or while a student at any institution of learning, provided that Hawaiʻi is claimed and maintained as the person’s legal residence.
If I am a nonresident, can I attend school and establish residency at the same time?
All nonresident students who are newly admitted to the University of Hawaiʻi may be affected by a change in the University of Hawaiʻi’s policy regarding nonresident status for tuition purposes. The policy is in accordance with Chapter 20-4-8, Hawaiʻi Administrative Rules which states:
“Presence in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend an institution of higher education shall not create resident status. A nonresident student shall be presumed to be in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend an institution of higher learning...Continued presence in Hawaiʻi during vacation periods and occasional periods of interruption of the course of study shall not in itself overcome this presumption.”
Nonresident students who enter any campus of the University of Hawaiʻi may not be allowed to change his/her residency status from nonresident to resident during any period in which he/she:
- Is enrolled for six (6) or more credits at any institution of higher learning in Hawaiʻi;
- Was absent from Hawaiʻi for more than 30 days per year during school vacation periods;
- Received student financial aid assistance based on residency in another state; or
- Was a dependent of nonresident parent(s) or legal guardian.
Can non-U.S. citizens be residents?
Only aliens legally in the U.S. by consent of the U.S. government may be allowed to establish domicile in Hawaiʻi. This includes permanent residents (green cards).
Those persons in the U.S. on temporary visas, such as student, tourist, or visitor visas cannot be residents, since their stay in the U.S. is temporary, and their legal domicile is their home country.
Are there any exemptions to the residency requirements?
Yes. The UH Board of Regents has established exemptions which allow certain nonresidents to pay the resident tuition if they qualify as one of the following (documentation required):
- United States military personnel and their authorized dependents during the period such personnel are stationed in Hawaiʻi on active duty.
- Members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard and Hawaiʻi-based Reserves.
- Full-time employees of the University of Hawaiʻi and their spouses and legal dependents as defined under Internal Revenue Service rules).
- East-West Center student grantees pursuing baccalaureate or advanced degrees.
- Hawaiians, descendents of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.
In addition, the UH Board of Regents also allows citizens of an eligible Pacific Island, district, commonwealth, territory, or insular jurisdiction, state, or nation which does not provide public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees to pay 150% of the resident tuition. These currently include the following:
|Federated States of Micronesia||Republic of Palau||Vanuatu|
|Futuna||Republic of Marshall Islands||Wallis|
If I am a classified as a nonresident but believe that I am indeed a resident, can I contest my nonresident classification?
Yes, there is an appeal process available. You would first have to pay the nonresident tuition to register, then file an appeal, which will be heard by the UH Residency Appeals Board. If the board finds that you are indeed a resident, the nonresident tuition differential will be refunded to you.
If the Board finds that you are a nonresident, and you decide to withdraw from classes, your tuition will not be refunded to you.
Additional Residency Information
For additional information regarding residency, please contact the Residency Officer at the UHWO Office of Admissions, 689-2900, toll-free from the Neighbor Islands at 1-866-299-8656, or by email at email@example.com.