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Financially Dependent Students

Students are considered financially dependent when they are claimed on someone else's federal income taxes and/or they receive more than half of their support from another person. The residency of a financially dependent student is based on the domicile of the student's parent, step-parent, or legal guardian, not the domicile of the student. It does not matter where the student lives. It is possible for a student to be considered a resident in more than one state when parents are separated or divorced.

  • Example: The student lives in Montana with one parent. The other parent lives in Washington and meets the domicile requirements for Washington state. The Montana parent claims the student on federal income taxes. The student is eligible for Washington residency as a dependent. It is likely that the student is also eligible for resident tuition in the state of Montana.

Visit our FAQ page for more examples of financially dependent residency.

Domicile Requirement

Residency for Tuition Purposes requires three basic actions from the parent/legal guardian:

  • Move to or live in Washington state for reasons other than education, AND
  • Establish a domicile. Surrender previous state documents and obtain Washington documents, including identification, voter registration (if desired), and vehicle registration (if you drive), AND
  • Wait 12 months from the date of moving to Washington or the date of last action to establish a domicile, whichever is later.

WSU uses the first day of term determine the waiting period.

  • Example: Fall 2022 starts on 8/22/22. To be eligible for Fall 2022 residency, the parent must move to Washington state no later than 8/22/21.

The Application

Our application is available online for ALL STUDENTS. Undergraduate & Professional students must apply using the online application. Graduate students have the option to use either the older paper questionnaire or the online application. The paper application is available as a downloadable pdf on the application page.

The Checklist: Dependent Students version

Use the checklist to help you assemble the required documents. Read the instructions and don't submit additional documents unless requested.

Required Items Checklist for Dependent Students

The WSU Online Residency Application: All Students

This is an online version of the residency application/questionnaire. It is created using Smartsheet, a FERPA/HiPPA compliant application. You may receive some communication from us via Smartsheet to your WSU email address. Please assemble your documentation before completing the form; it must be completed in one sitting. Use the checklist above to determine what documents to assemble.

Your completed Dependent Residency Application will include

  • WSU Online Residency Application with uploaded supporting documents.

Failure to submit appropriate documentation will significantly delay decisions regarding your residency or may result in denial of residency. Do not submit additional documentation unless it is requested. Your residency application will be processed in the order received based on the date of the latest document submission. You can watch our progress on our homepage. Please allow several WEEKS for processing.

Supporting Documents: Domicile

Documents that prove your residency claim are required as part of your residency application. The Residency Checklist is helpful for assembling these documents. Do not send original documents; documents will not be returned to you and will be kept for our files.

Citizenship Status Documentation

If your parent/legal guardian is not a US citizen, but holds permanent resident immigration status, temporary resident status, “Refugee-Parolee,” “Conditional Entrant” status, or are permanently residing in the United States under color of law, attach a copy of both sides of their Resident Alien Card, Temporary Resident card, VISA, or other verification of their status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Housing Documentation

Housing documentation must show that your parent/legal guardian lived in Washington state during the 12 month period prior to the term you are seeking residency. They may leave the state on a temporary sojourn if they do not take steps to establish residency in another state and otherwise meet the domicile requirements. For instance, a parent/legal guardian may be temporarily working overseas and plans to return to Washington state. You may be eligible if the parent did not establish residency in another state prior to moving overseas.

Preferred housing documents

  • The first and signature page of your lease agreement (document must include lease duration and physical address), Or
  • A letter from the WSU housing office (if you resided in WSU housing), Or
  • A home purchase agreement showing the physical address of the home and date of closing, Or

Acceptable housing documents

  • A notarized letter from your landlord (or a person that you lived with) along with copies of official pieces of U.S. Mail you received at that residence for the duration of the living arrangements, Or
  • Copies of rent receipts or tenant ledger from landlord along with copies of official pieces of U.S. Mail you received at that residence for the duration of the living arrangements, Or
  • Copies of canceled rent checks from your bank along with copies of official pieces of U.S. Mail you received at that residence for the duration of the living arrangements.

State of Washington State Voter Registration

Your parent/legal guardian are not required to register to vote in Washington, however current voter registration can support and strengthen their claim for residency.

Acceptable voter registration documents

State of Washington vehicle registration

Submit a vehicle registration if your parent/legal guardian owns or is using a vehicle in Washington. If they use, but do not own a vehicle in Washington, it must be registered in the state. State of Washington vehicle registration website.

Acceptable vehicle registration documents

  • Vehicle registrations documenting registration for the 11 months prior to the start of the semester you desire residency, Or
  • Screenshot or printout from Washington Department of Licensing's website showing historical data for the vehicle. More information on obtaining historical data on our Links & Resources page.
Vehicle(s) purchased less than 12 months ago
  • The Bill of Sale is required if your vehicle was purchased during the 12 month waiting period and was registered less that 11 months prior to the semester you wish to gain residency.

State of Washington Identification Documents

Washington requires new residents to surrender their previous state's documents and obtain Washington documents. Maintaining out-of-state documents will preclude receiving Washington residency.

Acceptable identification documents

  • State of Washington driver’s license, Or
  • State of Washington identification card, Or
  • State of Washington learner permit

Federal IRS Tax Documents: Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s)

State law determines residency, in part, based on whether the student is claimed as a dependent on a parent(s) federal income taxes for the most recent tax year.

Acceptable tax documents: Parent(s)/Legal Guardian(s)

Please black-out income and identifying numbers, with the exception of the last 4 digits of the student's social security number. We do not need income nor social security numbers for parent(s)/legal guardian(s).

  • Federal IRS tax return transcript for the most recent tax year, OR
    • The IRS offers a "tax return transcript" and a "tax account transcript". The "tax return transcript" shows dependents and is the document that we require.
  • Signed Federal Income tax 1040 showing dependents and signature pages ONLY for the most recent tax year, OR
  • In situations where the parents have not yet filed taxes for the previous tax year, a notarized statement from the parent(s)/legal guardian(s) stating intent to claim or not claim the student on the federal income taxes.
  • More information about obtaining tax documents.

Military-Affiliated Students

Military Residency is the easiest way to obtain resident tuition. Once granted, the student will receive resident tuition until they need to re-apply at WSU, perhaps for Graduate. Military residency does not grant full Washington residency status; the student will continue to be coded as a Non-Resident in myWSU. There will be periods of time when the Cost of Attendance has not yet updated to the resident tuition amount, and this can occasionally be disconcerting.

If the military member has maintained Washington as their state of residence, including driver's license, that status can be used to apply for full Washington residency. Dependent student may choose to also apply for residency using the Traditional application. The recommendation is to apply for Military Residency first, as that form is available sooner and is very easy to complete, then apply for traditional residency when that form opens 60 days before the start of the term. Full resident status will update residency in myWSU to Resident and may make some Washington financial aid available.

Financially Dependent Students
Residency for Tuition