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Financially Independent Students

If your parent(s) or legal guardian(s) do not reside in the state of Washington and you are under the age of 25, your primary option to gain residency for tuition paying purposes is to become financially independent of your parents/legal guardians. Information for students 25 years of age and older.

New! If your primary residency was in Washington state during the twelve (12) months prior to your first term at WSU, you may be eligible using the Residency Affidavit.

Requirements for residency for tuition purposes

  • Meet domicile requirements, AND
  • Meet financially independent requirements, including:
    • Not claimed as a dependent by anyone on federal IRS income tax returns for the current and prior calendar year, and
    • Provide documentation of personal financial resources of at least 51% of the WSU Non-Resident Estimated Cost of Attendance for the calendar year prior to the term you are seeking residency, AND
    • Provide documentation of personal financial resources of at least 51% of the WSU Resident Estimated Cost of Attendance for the current calendar year.

The WSU Estimated Cost of Attendance includes tuition, fees, room & board, books, supplies, transportation, and living expenses. For example: Spring 2022 and Fall 2022 Residency applications will consider resources for 2021 and 2022.

Domicile Requirement

Residency for Tuition Purposes requires three basic actions:

  • Move to 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) within 30 days, 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 to determine the start of the waiting period. You may demonstrate that you moved to Washington for more than educational reasons by carefully following the deadlines for establishing a domicile. WSU requires a state documents, such as a drivers license, learner permit, or identification card obtained within 30 days of the start of the waiting period

  • Example: Fall 2022 starts on 8/22/22. To be eligible for Fall 2022 residency, the student must move to Washington no later than 8/22/21. As the state allows new residents 30 days to obtain state documents and register vehicles, we would traditionally require that these documents are obtained by 9/22/21. 

Actions to take now to establish residency in the future.


The Application

Our application is available online for ALL STUDENTS. Undergraduate & Professional students must apply using the online application. Graduate students may use the online or paper applications. Both are available on the Application page.

The Checklist: Independent Student version

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

Required Items Checklist for Independent 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 Independent 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 you are not a US citizen, but hold 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 your Resident Alien Card, Temporary Resident card, VISA, or other verification of your status with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).

Housing Documentation

Housing documentation must show that you lived in Washington state during the 12 month period prior to the term you are seeking residency. You may leave the state on a sojourn if you do not take steps to establish residency in another state. For instance, you may take a summer internship that benefits your education, but should not change your license to the other state and must file out-of-state taxes on income in that state.

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

You are not required to register to vote in Washington, however current voter registration can support and strengthen your claim for residency.

Acceptable voter registration documents

State of Washington vehicle registration

Washington requires new residents to register their vehicle(s) within 30 days of moving to and establishing a domicile in the state. Submit a vehicle registration if you own or are using a vehicle in Washington. If you 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 within 30 days of moving to and establishing a domicile in the state. Maintaining an out-of-state document will preclude receiving Washington residency. It is important to obtain your Washington documents independent of the expiration status of your previous state document. Washington State Department of Licensing 

Acceptable identification documents

WSU considers your state identification document to be integral to your residency application, in part, because it is easy to obtain. Additionally, the process of surrendering your previous state documents shows strong intent to be a Washington resident and demonstrates an intent beyond education.

  • 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. Students who are 25 years of age for the entire previous academic year are exempt from this requirement. More information for students 25+ years of age.

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).

  • 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 parent(s)/legal guardian(s) 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.

Supporting Documents: Financial Independence

The student must show that they were financially independent for both the current calendar year (the year you file for residency) and the prior calendar year. The student must demonstrate evidence, satisfactory to the institution, that they have met, through personal financial resources, both living and educational expenses. The burden of proof is on the student. WSU currently requires the student to demonstrate that they have provided 51% of the Estimated Cost of Attendance. More information about the cost of attendance numbers.

Students who are 25 years of age for the entire previous academic year are exempt from this requirement in some circumstances. More information for students 25+ years of age.

Required financial independence documents

Please black-out income and identifying numbers, with the exception of the last 4 digits of the student's social security number. Income is required. 

  • Federal IRS tax return transcript for the calendar year prior to requesting residency, 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 for the calendar year prior to requesting residency, OR
  • Earnings documented on W-2 and/or 1099 forms for the calendar year prior to requesting residency.

Other acceptable financial independence documents

  • Earnings documented on a pay check stub for the current calendar year (the year in which application is made). When Year To Date (YTD) earnings are listed, the latest stub is all that is required.
  • Earnings from unemployment and other state benefits.
  • Financial aid grants, scholarships and loans authorized by Student Financial Services in the student’s name. We will retrieve the latest documents from myWSU during processing; there is no need to submit these unless the previous terms were at a different institution.
  • A trust or education account in the student's name (GET, 529 College Savings Plan, etc.), if the account was created before the student entered high school
    • Documentation of the date the account was established, and
    • Proof the account was used to pay for education expenses for the current calendar year and the calendar year immediately prior to the year in which application is made.
  • Documentation of financial independence from Student Financial Services.
  • Other documented financial resources, which may include but are not limited to the sale of personal or real property, inheritance, trust funds, state or financial assistance, loans, or statement of earnings of the student's spouse.

Financial resources that are not eligible

  • Personal loans, PLUS loans, checking & savings accounts, gifts, and cash earnings shall not be counted as income in this calculation. Receipt of the Federal Parent PLUS loan for more than 51% will contradict financial independent status.

Students 25 years of age or older

If you were at least 25 years of age for the entire academic year prior to submitting the residency questionnaire, you do not need to prove financial independence unless there is evidence that you did not pay at least 51% of the estimated Cost of Attendance as described for students under 25 years of age or that someone else did pay 49% or more of the estimated cost of attendance.

You must meet all other residency criteria and must obtain all Washington state documents 11 months prior to the first day of term you are seeking residency.


 

Financially Independent Students
Residency for Tuition