Virginia Domicile Requirements
Statutory Requirements of Virginia Domicile, Code of Virginia, Section 23.1 Chapter 5
To be eligible for in state educational privileges, an applicant (or the parent, legal guardian, spouse, or person acting in loco parentis of the financially dependent applicant) must demonstrate three requirements of Virginia domicile for one year prior to the term for which entitlement is sought.
The statutory requirements are:
- twelve months of physical presence in Virginia (i.e. living in the state) and,
- the simultaneous demonstration of domicile intent (the performance of acts of objective conduct that demonstrate intent) and,
- the intent to remain in Virginia indefinitely.
The Code of Virginia, Section 23.1 Chapter 5 puts the burden on the applicant to demonstrate entitlement by clear and convincing evidence. If the applicant does not prove all three requirements of Virginia domicile by clear and convincing evidence, the application will be denied. Clear and convincing evidence is that degree of evidence "that affirms that the student's assertion is more highly probable to be true than not and the domicile officer has a firm belief or conviction in it." State Council on Higher Education for Virginia Guidelines. The University of Virginia bears no evidentiary burden to show that an applicant, or person through whom they seek entitlement. Under state law, an individual may be undomiciled despite maintaining a residence in Virginia.
The Code of Virginia distinguishes between being a resident and being a domicile of Virginia. A domicile is entitled to in-state educational privileges as a benefit of that status. A resident of Virginia (unless an honorably discharged military member, veteran or active-duty member of the military) is not.
Where an applicant moves to Virginia and enrolls as a full-time student soon afterwards, there is a rebuttable statutory presumption that they are living in Virginia as a resident rather than as a domicile. If an applicant's primary purpose in moving to Virginia was to attend school, it will be determined that the applicant is not entitled to in-state educational privileges. To rebut the statutory presumption, an applicant must provide clear and convincing evidence that their primary purpose for moving to Virginia was not to pursue educational objectives.
An applicant unable to demonstrate Virginia domicile may be entitled to in-state educational privileges under the Tuition Equity Provision of the Code. An applicant who attended a Virginia high school for at least two years and graduated from a Virginia high school after 2008 is entitled to in-state educational privileges if specific statutory requirements are met. The applicant will be expected to submit evidence of two years attendance and graduation from a Virginia high school and two years of Virginia resident income tax paid by the applicant, a parent, legal guardian or person acting in loco parentis. This provision applies regardless of citizenship or immigration status of the applicant. The provision does not, however, apply to holders of F, H3, J or M visa holders.
Under state law an applicant may not be denied in-state educational privileges at the University of Virginia due solely to the legal status of the applicant's parent(s). The University of Virginia supports access in higher education and the minimization of barriers to enrollment
- Financial Dependence/Independence under the Code of Virginia, Section 23.1-500
A financially dependent applicant is one listed as a dependent on the federal or state income tax return of the parent or legal guardian or an applicant who receives substantial financial support from the spouse, parent, or legal guardian. "Substantial financial support" is defined as over half an applicant's overall support during the year prior to the term for which entitlement is sought.They are:
- presumed to share the domicile status of the parent/guardian providing financial support.
These presumptions may only be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. If the applicant or student claims to be financially independent, they will be expected to demonstrate financial self sufficiency by clear and convincing evidence. The applicant or current student will be expected to complete a Financial Statement Form and to provide copies of federal and state tax returns for the year prior to the term for which entitlement is sought. The applicant or student will also be required to demonstrated that their move to Virginia was not primarily for educational purposes. If the applicant does not provide clear and convincing evidence as to both these statutory requirements, the application will be denied.
Under the Code of Virginia, Section 23.1 Chapter 5, a financially dependent applicant shares the domicile status of their supporting parent. The in-state review process always begins with the parent's domicile. State law does, however, make allowances for certain applicants even if their parent is not domiciled in Virginia. For example, an applicant who is un-housed, whose parent is incarcerated, whose parent has an immigration status that does not allow for establishment of domicile, and in some cases, one raised in Virginia by a relative. If you have questions regarding your specific circumstances, please contact the Office of Virginia Status before submitting an application.
The Code provides that certain applicants or current students are presumed to be financially independent. They are:
- a married student;
- ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18;
- without an adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased;
- an individual who has legal dependents other than a spouse; or,
- is able to present clear and convincing evidence that he is financially self-sufficient
- a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces; a graduate or professional student;
An applicant or current student whose circumstances are as described above, is not required to complete a Financial Statement Form or Virginia income tax returns unless specifically requested to do so.
- Application Process
Applicants for admission to the University of Virginia, both new, re-entry, enrolled students and current students changing programs who seek Virginia in-state educational privileges, must complete either an Application for Virginia In-state Tuition Educational Privileges or an Application for Virginia Student Status. If you are a new, re-entering, enrolled or current student changing programs claiming entitlement based upon the domicile of your parent, spouse, legal guardian or person acting in loco parentis complete the Virginia In-State School Application. If you are a new, re-entering, enrolled or current students changing programs claiming entitlement based upon your domicile, not that of a parent, spouse, legal guardian, or person acting in loco parentis, complete the Application for Virginia Student Status. If you are applying to a graduate school or professional program, please use the form specific to the school or program.
An Application for Virginia Educational Privileges or Application for Virginia Student Status must be submitted before the first day of classes for the term entitlement is sought. Applications submitted after the first day of classes for the term entitlement is sought will not be reviewed.
To ensure that applicants who intent to enroll and currently enrolled students have a determination before the tuition payment deadline, please submit a completed application at least sixty (60) days prior to the first day of classes for which entitlement is sought. Retroactive re-classifications requested by an applicant or current student will not be permitted. If the University of Virginia made an error in the review process, retroactive reclassification may be sought.
If supporting documentation and information is needed, the applicant will be contacted. Please do not send additional material unless specifically requested to do so. All Social Security numbers, identifying bank and credit card numbers must be deleted from any documentation provided. Send all applications and any requested supporting documentation and information via email to: email@example.com . If a due date is provided for the submission of supporting documentation and information and that material is not timely submitted, the application will be denied.
- Domicile Review Appeal Process
At the University of Virginia, the three steps of the review process are:
The initial review of all applications for in-state educational privileges is in the Office of Virginia Status. When an application is denied, the applicant may request an appeal. An appeal will be reviewed by the Committee on Virginia Student Status.
An applicant may request that the appeal be reviewed either solely on the written record or by a hearing before the members of the Committee. An applicant must appear before the Committee if a hearing is requested. Family members, business associates or friends may not appear at the hearing without notice to and approval from the Director of the Office of Virginia Status. An applicant may engage legal counsel to appear at the hearing, but legal counsel is not required. If the applicant engages counsel, the applicant is still required to appear. The third and final stage of administrative review is to the Office of the Provost.
The Committee chair will send the applicant a determination letter no later than sixty (60) days after a hearing or Committee review on the written record. If the applicant wants to appeal the outcome, the applicant is expected to notify the Director of the Office of Virginia Status in writing no later than fourteen (14) days after the determination letter is sent. The appeal will then be sent to the Office of the Provost for a final administrative review. After the appeal is reviewed by that office, the applicant may appeal the final administrative denial to circuit court.
Certain applicants may not appeal or re-apply for in-state educational privileges. An applicant seeking admission but not yet enrolled at the University of Virginia may not appeal. Should that applicant be admitted and choose to enroll as an out-of-state student, they may seek to appeal the initial denial. An applicant who is an enrolled student may not re-apply for the academic term immediately following a denial of an appeal. For example, the applicant seeks in-state privileges for fall 2022. That claim is denied, and the applicant appeals. The Committee reviews the appeal, and the claim is again denied.Whether or not the student seeks review by the Office of the Provost on that claim, they may not seek in-state educational privileges for the spring 2023 term. The student may re-apply for fall 2023.
Under state law, the University of Virginia is not bound by an in-state status determination made at another Virginia institution. A prior in-state status determination does not guarantee entitlement at the University of Virginia. Applicants seeking to transfer to the University of Virginia from another state institution must apply for in-state educational privileges like any other applicant. A determination of ineligibility may only be appealed after the transfer applicant has been admitted and has committed to enroll.
- Change in Circumstances Affecting Domicile
If an enrolled student's parent moves to Virginia and fulfills the requirements of domicile, the student can apply for a change of status twelve months after the date of the parent(s)' move.
If an enrolled student's parent moves from Virginia, the student is expected to notify the Office of Virginia Status of the parent's move. The student has a two academic term "grace-period" of continued entitlement to in-state tuition. In some instances, a parent may maintain Virginia domicile despite a move from the state. In most situations, the parent who has moved will have abandoned status as a Virginia domicile. Where a parent is no longer a Virginia domicile and the two term grace-period has passed, the student may seek continued entitlement for in state tuition. Under these circumstances, the student will complete an Application for Virginia Student Status. The student may claim either the establishment of an independent Virginia domicile despite the parent's move or seek continued entitlement under the Tuition Equity Provision.
- Credit hour surcharge
Students who qualify for in-state tuition privileges must pay a surcharge (generally calculated at out-of-state tuition rates) for courses taken after completion of 125% of the credit hours required for the degree. For example, for a bachelor’s degree requiring 120 credit hours, this would mean that any credits taken beyond 150 (or 125% of 120) would be charged at the out-of-state rate. Certain exceptions apply, including AP/IB credits; see Section 23.1-509 of the Code of Virginia for more information.
- In-State Privileges for DACA, Asylees and Undocumented Applicants
If you have immigration status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) or are an asylee or awaiting asylee designation or are undocumented, you may be entitled to in-state educational privileges. If you or a parent, spouse, legal guardian, or person acting in loco parentis meet the requirements of Virginia domicile as set forth in the Code of Virginia, apply for in-state educational privileges through the standard process. Complete either the Application for Virginia In-State Educational Privileges or the Application for Virginia Student Status depending upon whether you claim entitlement based upon your domicile or that of a parent, spouse, legal guardian, or person acting in loco parentis.
If you are not entitled to in-state educational privileges based upon your domicile or the domicile of a parent, spouse, legal guardian, or person acting in loco parentis and you attended high school in Virginia for at least two years, review the requirements for entitlement under the Tuition Equity Provision explained above.
Under state law, the personally identifiable information provided on the Application for In-state Educational Privileges and Application for Virginia Student Status is confidential and used solely to determine eligibility for in-state educational privileges. This information is also protected by the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Please note that the Office of Virginia Status does not provide legal advice nor will it provide a determination in advance of an application being submitted. If you have any questions regarding in-state educational privileges, please contact:
Phone (office): 434-982-3391
PO Box 400160
Charlottesville, Virginia 22904