The initial residency classification is determined at the time of admission based on S.C. law and Commission on Higher Education regulations at www.che.sc.gov.
There is a difference in tuition and fees for residents of South Carolina and also for residents of Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties and nonresidents of these areas.
Military personnel may present orders for local active duty and may need to provide additional documentation for dependents who are not listed on orders.
In determining the legal residency status of a student, South Carolina law differentiates between students who are independent and those who are still dependent on a parent or guardian. If the student is dependent, state law provides that the student is presumed to have the same residency status as the parent or guardian on whom he/she is dependent. S.C. Reg. § 62-603(B) specifically provides that "the residence and domicile of a dependent person shall be presumed to be that of their parent, spouse, or guardian." Therefore, in the typical case, where a student is dependent on a parent or guardian, that student's residency is presumed to be that of the parent or guardian.
Where the student is dependent on a parent or guardian who has an undocumented immigration status, the preliminary residency decision will typically be that the student qualifies as a "non-resident alien." According to Commission regulations, a "non-resident alien" is defined as "a person who is not a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. By virtue of their non-resident status 'non-resident aliens' generally do not have the capacity to establish domicile in South Carolina." S.C. Reg. § 62-602(K).
However, where that student is also a United States citizen, state law only presumes that the student is a "non-resident alien" like the parent or guardian on whom he/she is dependent. That presumption is rebuttable, and the burden remains on the student to rebut that presumption, if possible, by presenting evidence to establish that that he/she is entitled to in-state residency status notwithstanding the undocumented status of his/her parent or guardian.
A dependent student seeking classification as a South Carolina resident will not be automatically disqualified from receiving instate tricounty tuition because of the citizenship or immigration status of their parent(s) or guardian(s). Staff should advise students that the immigration or citizenship status of a student’s parents(s) or guardian(s) will not automatically disqualify them from receiving these benefits. For U.S. citizen students with undocumented parents or guardians, state-issued identification documents and other typical indicia of residency may not be available to the parents. In such cases, staff should work with the student to obtain alternate proof of the parents’ residence and domicile in South Carolina, including but not limited to the other documents listed in S.C. Code Reg. § 62-605(C), as well as utility bills, lease documents, medical and school records, and other records that may indicate domicile. No particular document or combination of documents shall be conclusive in every case; rather, in all cases, regardless of the citizenship or immigration status of the parents or guardians, staff shall endeavor to determine whether South Carolina is the true, fixed, principal residence and place of habitation as set forth in S.C. Code Ann. § 59-112-10(D), based on the information and documentation submitted by the student. In all cases, the student has the burden of proving fulfillment of the requirements for in-state tuition and attendant benefits.
To resolve a residency status, complete the residency application and submit it to the Admissions office by the last business day before your first term begins.