Residency Regulations for Tuition Purposes (condensed)

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 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 satisfactory evidence to the residency officer that proves otherwise.

Some of the more pertinent University residency regulations follow. For additional information or interpretation, contact the residency officer in KISC. The complete rules and regulations are available at KISC in `Ilima 102.

Definition and Determination of Hawai`i Residency

A student is deemed a resident of the State of Hawai`i for tuition purposes if the student (19* or older) or the student (under 19*) and his/her parents or legal guardian have:

  • Demonstrated intent to permanently reside in Hawai`i (see below for indicia);
  • Been physically present in Hawai`i for 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction, and subsequent to the demonstration of intent to make Hawai`i their legal residency; and
  • 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 Hawai`i.

The determination of residence requires a finding of objective fact, or physical presence, as well as subjective fact, which is the intent to establish domicile in Hawai`i while giving up any prior domicile.

The following actions are the most important. No single action is conclusive. The University will consider all actions to determine your residency status.

  • Filing a Hawai`i resident personal income tax form
  • Registering to vote and voting in Hawai`i
  • Proof of employment (other than student employment) in Hawai`i
  • Ownership or continuous lease of a residence in Hawai`i

Any other actions that could prove domicile in Hawai`i are also considered.

Other legal factors involved in making a residency determination include:

  • The 12 months of continuous residence in Hawai`i shall begin on the date upon which the first overt action (see indicia) is taken to make Hawai`i the permanent residence. Residence will be lost if it is interrupted during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of instruction.
    • Absent any clear and convincing evidence to the contrary, a nonresident student may not satisfy the 12-month durational requirement during any period in which the nonresident student:
      • was enrolled for a total of 6 or more credits at all institutions of higher learning in Hawai`i;
      • was absent from the state for more than thirty days per year during school vacation periods;
      • received student financial assistance based on residency in another state; or
      • was a dependent of nonresident parent(s) or legal guardian.
  • Residency in Hawai`i and residency in another place cannot be held simultaneously.
  • Presence in Hawai`i primarily to attend an institution of higher learning does not create resident status.
  • The residency of unmarried students who are minors follows that of the parents or of the legal guardian. Marriage emancipates a minor.
  • The residency of a married person may follow that of the spouse. (This rule which allows a student to claim Hawai`i residency on the basis of a spouse, changes effective fall 2007, when students must then qualify for Hawai`i residency on their own.)
  • Resident status, once acquired, will be lost by future voluntary action of the resident inconsistent with such status. However, Hawai`i 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.

(*The age of majority is 18 years. However, a person between the ages of 18 and 19, unless emancipated, cannot claim residency solely on the basis of himself/herself because he/she does not have the minimum 12 months residency, which commences on his/her 18th birthday. Therefore, the applicant must claim a portion of the required 12 months on the basis of his/her parent or legal guardian.)

Statutory Exemptions

Nonresidents may be allowed to pay resident tuition if they qualify as one of the following:

  • United States military personnel and their authorized dependents (as defined by the Armed Services) during the period such personnel are stationed in Hawai`i on active duty.
  • Full-time employees of the University of Hawai`i and their spouses and legal dependents (as defined under Internal Revenue Service rules).
  • East-West Center student grantees pursuing baccalaureate or advanced degrees at the University of Hawai`i.
  • Native Hawaiians, descendents of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.
  • Persons who are legal residents of any Pacific island or Asian district, commonwealth, territory, or insular jurisdiction, state, or nation which does not provide public institutions of higher learning. These currently include the following: American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas, Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Futuna, Kiribati, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Republic of Belau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Wallis. (Effective fall 2007, eligible Pacific Island citizens will pay 150% of the resident tuition, rather than the resident tuition.)
  • Members of the Hawai`i National Guard and Hawai`i-based reservists.

Misrepresentation: A student or prospective student who provides incorrect information on any form or document intended for use in 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 (in KISC) for information on how to initiate an appeal. Deadline to file appeals is 30 days after the first day of the semester.

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