The University of Mary Washington is a Virginia public institution. As such, the eligibility for in-state tuition privileges (reduced tuition charges) is governed by the Code of Virginia §23.1-5. According to the Code of Virginia §23.1-5, provisions are set forth, defined, and discussed in the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Domicile Guidelines. These SCHEV guidelines help Virginia public institutions to facilitate the consideration of uniform criteria in determining domiciliary status. Though there are many ways to qualify for in-state tuition, establishing a domicile is the primary path. UMW staff cannot determine a student’s domicile based on verbal information or representations. The student must provide documentation for all information in support of the student’s case.
Domicile is different from residency in that it encompasses more than just a place where you live. Domicile is defined by SCHEV as your “present, fixed home where you return following temporary absences and where you intend to stay indefinitely.”
The application for in-state tuition is incorporated in the application for admission to the university. An initial review of an applicant’s domicile is made based on responses provided in the admission application. Students who applied for admission without applying for in-state rates or who did not complete the residency questions on the application can find a PDF of the Application for In-State Rates.
Please note that a determination on your domicile status cannot be made without a complete application and supporting documentation. If you have submitted your application and the domicile committee determines that additional documents are required or clarifying information is necessary before the domicile committee can make a final decision on your file, the domicile committee will contact you via the email supplied when you submitted your application for admission. Failure to provide requested information could result in the denial of your application for in-state rates.
The Commonwealth of Virginia offers many pathways for a student to qualify for in-state tuition, including evidence that the student has attended and graduated from a Virginia high school (as based on the Tuition Equity Provision). Students who feel they don’t qualify for in-state tuition through Virginia Domicile definitions should review the information in the Other Pathways to In-State Tuition section of this document.
All students applying to the University of Mary Washington go through a domicile review process. Documentation required will vary depending on an applicant’s specific circumstances. Students who do not satisfactorily complete the questions on the application for in-state rates, complete the questions but don’t provide adequate documentation, or those who complete an application and are deemed to be out-of-state for tuition purposes, will be billed at the out-of-state rates. Out-of-state students and parents should be aware that residence or physical presence in Virginia primarily to attend the University of Mary Washington does not entitle students to in-state tuition rates for future terms. The student must establish Domicile before the student enters the university.
SCHEV indicates the following as some methods to demonstrate domiciliary intent. The UMW domicile officer may ask for information or documentation such as:
- State to which income taxes are paid
- Voter registration and actual voting
- Driver’s license
- Motor vehicle registration
- Continuous residence in Virginia
- Social and economic ties
- Ownership of real property
- Sources of financial support
- Current employment
- Post-graduation employment in Virginia
- Military records
Public institutions are required by law to presume that dependent applicants and students are applying for domicile based on the information from a supporting parent. The review process generally begins with a review of the responses to the parent questions on the application. If the student is defined as independent (see below), or a parent is not a citizen, permanent resident, or does not have a visa permitting domicile, then an applicant or student may still be eligible for in-state tuition through an established domicile.
According to the Guidelines, a “dependent student means one who is listed as a dependent on the federal or state income tax return of the parent or legal guardian or who receives substantial financial support from the spouse, parent, or legal guardian.” The presumption is that if a student is under the age of 24 on the date of the alleged entitlement and still receives substantial financial support from the parent or legal guardian, then the student is the parent’s or legal guardian’s dependent unless the student
- is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. armed forces;
- is a graduate or professional student;
- is married;
- is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18;
- has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased;
- has legal dependents other than a spouse; or,
- is able to present clear and convincing evidence that he is financially self-sufficient (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.2).
If the applicant is a dependent student, not an emancipated minor, or married and is a dependent of a Virginia resident, i.e., the applicant is claimed as a tax dependent by his/her parents/legal guardian or spouse and/or receives at least half of his/her financial support from the spouse, the applicant may be eligible for in-state privileges IF the parent/legal guardian or spouse has been domiciled in Virginia for the required one year period. As a dependent student, the applicant is presumed to have the same domicile as the parent, claiming them as a tax dependent and/or providing them with substantial financial support. As a dependent of a spouse, the applicant may be eligible for in-state tuition as a dependent of the spouse.
“Independent student” means a student whose parents have surrendered the right to their care, custody, and earnings; do not claim them as their dependent on federal or state income tax returns; have ceased to provide them with substantial financial support. Independent students include emancipated minors (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.3).
Applicants under the age of 24 who are not married, are not veterans, do not have dependents of their own, and were not a ward of the court prior to the age of 18, must provide evidence that they are financially independent and that they are not in the Commonwealth primarily for educational purposes.
The documentation required will vary depending on your specific domicile circumstances. The student may send inquiries regarding required documents to firstname.lastname@example.org after the student has submitted their application so that the domicile information submitted may be reviewed for better advisement. The domicile staff cannot advise a student prior to applying whether or not they will qualify for in-state tuition.
Supporting documents may be sent through the student’s personal portal or sent through mail or fax as listed below.
University of Mary Washington
Office of Admissions
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Fax: (540) 654-1857
According to §23.1-5 of the Code of Virginia, changes in domiciliary status can only be granted prospectively from the date the application is received; therefore, the legal deadline for submission of the completed application is prior to the first day of the semester/term for which the student seeks classification as an in-state resident. Retroactive changes in status are not allowed under the Code. To ensure that students have a decision before the tuition payment deadline, please submit a completed application and supporting documents at least 45 days prior to the first day of classes for your intended term of entry.
An initial review of your application will take place as a part of application processing. Students deemed as in-state without the need for additional documents or clarifying information will have their records updated to reflect in-state at that time. Students who live out-of-state and have not applied for in-state status will have their records updated to out-of-state. Those students whose domicile application requires an intermediate review by the domicile committee will be classified as Undetermined. This Undetermined status is an internal status for processing purposes. Students classified as Undetermined will receive an email requesting additional information.
In most cases, students admitted will be notified of their domicile status as a part of their offer packet. After admissions decisions are processed, students will be notified of domicile changes via email. It can take 30 or more business days for domicile decisions to be made, and students notified. Students denied in-state tuition would be given the opportunity to appeal their decision to the UMW Appeals Committee.
If you are billed at the out-of-state rates and pay out-of-state fees, you may not be eligible for a refund of those fees if you did not bring incorrect domicile status to the attention of the Office of Admissions. Students and parents should inform the staff at email@example.com as soon as they receive the notification they are being billed as out-of-state students. Students who submit inquiries for retroactive changes after classes have begun are subject to paying the out-of-state fees until the classification is updated. Retroactive changes are subject to approval; students determined to be out-of-state after such a retroactive request may apply for reclassification for the subsequent term. Current or returning students who wish to appeal for in-state status may find guidance here.
The Code of Virginia and the SCHEV guidelines provide several avenues for military members and their dependents to receive in-state tuition. According to SCHEV, If a military service member who has not abandoned their Virginia domicile has a dependant such as a spouse or a child who is a student, the student is eligible for domicile under the military members domicile (SCHEV guidelines, PDF p.23). The military spouse is subject to a 12-month waiting period to establish a domicile.
According to the Code of Virginia, in order for active-duty military members to have maintained Virginia domicile, they must have Virginia listed as the state of domicile; on the Leave and Earnings Statement (LES) and can provide evidence that taxes have been withheld and that they have maintained their Virginia driver’s license and other ties to Virginia (SCHEV guidelines PDF p.23).
There are military provisions for the service member’s dependent that can make the dependant eligible for in-state tuition privileges, even without the military member or the spouse’s domicile. The 12-month waiting period can be waived. These provisions are detailed in Part III Section 18, a military member’s dependent, Section 19, active-duty military members (SCHEV Guidelines PDF p.36-40).
Also, if the military member is on active duty and is a part of the permanent personnel assigned to a Virginia duty station or a contiguous state and claims domiciliary to the commonwealth of Virginia can be eligible to receive in-state tuition. This does not include temporary duty assignments.
Military members that are assigned orders unaccompanied that state Virginia as the designated place for family members to reside can also have their dependents made eligible to receive in-state tuition.
There are several financial resources for military members that are not a part of the domiciliary. For questions about using educational benefits, please review the information here.
Tuition Equity Provision
As of July 2020, the Commonwealth of Virginia has adopted a provision for individuals who may not be eligible for domicile, but live, work, and pay taxes to the Commonwealth (§23.1-506). Virginia’s newest in-state tuition provision is reserved for high school completers and is often referred to as the Tuition Equity provision. Please note that under this provision, the legal status of the parent is immaterial. The basic provisions require that the student:
- Not have a current valid student (F), trainee (H3), exchange visitor (J), or vocational (M) visa;
- Attend at least two years of high school in Virginia;
- Complete high school requirements (high school graduation or complete GED) in Virginia, on or after July 1, 2008;
- Or the dependent student’s parents file Virginia income taxes for at least two years; and
- Register into a Virginia public college or university.
Students who meet these criteria shall be eligible for in-state tuition regardless of their citizenship or immigration status, except that students with currently valid visas issued under 8 U.S.C. §1101(a)(15)(F), §1101(a)(15)(H)(iii), §1101(a)(15)(J) (including only students or trainees), or §1101(a)(15)(M) are not eligible.
A link is provided here for the Application for Tuition Equity.
The information provided on this website is a representation of parts of the Code of Virginia and the SCHEV Domicile Guidelines. For thorough or detailed information, students and parents should refer directly to the Code of Virginia and the SCHEV Guidelines, which can be found at these links:
If you have questions or need additional information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org to connect with the Domicile Specialist. The domicile officer cannot give legal advice or determine whether or not you or your dependent student will qualify for in-state rates without an application and the required supporting documents.
University of Mary Washington
Office of Admissions
1301 College Avenue
Fredericksburg, VA 22401
Phone: (540) 654-2000
Fax: (540) 654-1857
Updated February 3, 2021