Hawai‘i Residency

Establishing Residency in the State Of Hawaiʻi For Tuition Purposes

Why Does It Matter?

Tuition for attending Kapi‘olani Community College (Kapi‘olani CC) is based on your Hawai‘i state residency status. As part of the University of Hawai‘i system, Kapi‘olani CC must comply with residency requirements for payment of resident tuition. As with similar schools, these legal requirements can seem rather complex and confusing. But don’t worry. We’ll help you figure it all out and get you the answers you need.

Residency Regulations (condensed)

The residency rules and regulations may be subject to change

Students who do not qualify as bona fide residents of the State of Hawai‘i, according to the University of Hawai‘i rules and regulations in effect at the time they register, must pay the nonresident tuition. An official determination of residency status will be made prior to enrollment. Applicants may be required to provide documentation to verify residency status. 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 that proves otherwise (prior to the start of the term of change).

For additional information and complete rules and regulations, contact the residency officer in the Admissions and Records Office.  Some of the more pertinent University residency regulations as follow:

Definition of Hawai‘i Residency

A student is deemed a resident of the State of Hawaiʻi for tuition purposes if the student (18 or older) or the student (under 18) and his/her parents or legal guardian have:

  1. Demonstrated intent to permanently reside in Hawaiʻi (see below for evidence);
  2. 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
  3. 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.

To demonstrate the intent to make Hawaiʻi your legal residency, the following evidence apply:

  • Filing Hawaiʻi resident personal income tax return
  • Voting/registering to vote in the State of Hawaiʻi

Other evidence, such as permanent employment and ownership or continuous leasing of a dwelling in Hawaiʻi, may apply, but no single act is sufficient to establish residency in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Other legal factors in making a residency determination include:

  1. The 12 months of continuous residence in Hawaiʻi shall begin on the date upon which the first overt action (see evidence) is taken to make Hawaiʻi the permanent residence. Residency will be lost if it is interrupted during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of instruction.
  2. Residency in Hawaiʻi and residency in another place cannot be held simultaneously.
  3. 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.
  4. The residency of unmarried students who are minors follows that of the parents or legal guardians. Marriage emancipates a minor.
  5. 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.

Board of Regents Exemptions

  1. Nonresidents may be allowed to pay resident tuition if they qualify as one of the following:
    • 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
    • East-West Center student grantees pursuing a baccalaureate or advanced degrees
    • Hawaiians, descendants of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778
    • Veterans Post 9/11 GI Bill® or Montgomery GI Bill® Active Duty using education benefits
    • Individuals eligible to use transferred Post 9/11 GI Bill education benefits, and whose transferor is a member of the uniformed service on active duty
    • Individuals using Post 9/11 GI Bill® education benefit under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship
    • Individuals using educational assistance under the Veteran Readiness and Employment program (formerly Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment)

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at http://www.benefits.va.gov/gibill.

  1. 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 may be allowed to pay 150% of the resident tuition. At the time of publication, these included the following:
    • American Samoa
    • Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
    • Cook Islands
    • Federated States of Micronesia
    • Futuna
    • Kiribati
    • Nauru
    • Niue
    • Rapa Nui (Easter island)
    • Republic of Palau
    • Republic of the Marshall Islands
    • Solomon Islands
    • Tokelau
    • Tonga
    • Tuvalu
    • Vanuatu
    • Wallis

This list is subject to change. For a current list, eligibility and documentation requirements, please contact the Admissions and Records Office of the campus you are applying to.


A student or prospective student who provides incorrect information on any form or document intended for use in the determination of residency status for tuition purposes will be subject to the requirements and/or disciplinary measures provided for in the rules and regulations governing residency status.

Appeal Process

Residency decisions may be appealed by contacting the residency officer for information on how to initiate an appeal. If you have additional residency questions, please call (808) 734-9555 or email kapinfo@hawaii.edu.

Admission Forms

To access the necessary forms and information, please visit the Admissions & Records page. We're here to support you every step of the way on your journey toward success