What is Residency?
The Residency Determination Service (RDS) was established in coordination with the University of North Carolina (UNC), the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) as the centralized service for determining residency for students. This service enables a student to use one residency determination for when applying to multiple North Carolina public colleges and universities and to demonstrate residency for state aid programs consideration at all (public and private) North Carolina colleges and universities.
The state of North Carolina partially subsidizes the cost of North Carolina public college and university tuition for all students whose domicile, or permanent legal residence, is in North Carolina. Residency determination establishes if students should have in-state or out-of-state tuition. Because North Carolina residency status is governed solely by North Carolina statute, lack of eligibility for in-state status in another state does not guarantee in-state status in North Carolina. The residency statute mandates only those who can demonstrate a minimum of twelve months of uninterrupted domicile (legal residence) in North Carolina and meeting additional statutory requirements, are eligible for in-state tuition. The statute also places the burden of proof on the student to establish, by a preponderance of evidence, that they are a bona fide domiciliary rather than mere residents of North Carolina.