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Important! Before You Begin

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When students experience delays in getting their RDS determination, or have to complete a reconsideration or appeal in order to get a correct determination, it is usually for a few common reasons. Consider this information to make sure you get the quickest and most accurate result:

Parent Information Required/ Financial Independence

Based on requirements in North Carolina law, most students will need to provide parent information in order to get an accurate determination. Residency is generally based on your parent(s)’ information, unless you are meet one of these conditions:

  • You are married
  • You are or have been in Foster Care
  • You or an immediate family member are active duty military and stationed in North Carolina
  • You are a legally emancipated minor
  • You can demonstrate that you are  financially independent  and able to meet the majority of your educational and living expenses without outside assistance and are at least 19 years of age.

To be Financially independent you must meet these conditions:

  • Make enough money on your own, through employment or financial aid that does not involve a co-signor, to support yourself
  • Others, including your parents, do not contribute at least half of your support.  
  • Be at least 19 years of age
  • Claim yourself on income tax returns and not be claimed by anyone else as a dependent

Cosigned loans, Parent Plus Loans, and 529 savings funds set up and funded by someone else DO NOT contribute to financial independence. 


Physically living in NC for the last FULL year, 365 days, as your primary and permanent residence is a  basic prerequisite requirement for in-state residency  status. You must be at least 19 years of age to establish duration apart from your parents.

In addition, you must have domiciliary acts to prove that steps have been taken to show  NC is your primary and permanent residence for the past 12 months.

Some examples of these acts include:

  • DMV records
  • voter registration
  • paystubs 
  • income taxes filed as a full time or partial year NC resident 
  • government assistance received in NC

Housing documentation is NOT a domiciliary act used to establish 12 months of residency. Also, be aware that criteria are different for dependent and independent students. For dependent students (see Parent Information Required/ Independent Students), your residence is based on the residence of your parent.


If you are not a US Citizen, you must hold an eligible immigration status for at least one year to be considered for NC residency. Please refer to the RDS Guidebook (page 16 and 17) for eligible statuses. 

The immigration status, as defined by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must permit the individual to establish a permanent residence in the United States. Some visa types, such as a “B” type visa, or F-1 visa for international students, have restrictions that do not permit permanent residence in the US.

Students must hold an eligible immigrant or non-immigrant status.  A pending application, such as an application for asylum or some other status, is not an awarded status, thus not eligible for in-state tuition.

If you are a US Citizen whose parents may not wish to share, or cannot provide, some information, complete the interview, including parent information as fully as possibly. You will likely need to appeal your initial determination so we can more fully review your information. RDS uses information about the student’s citizenship or immigration status, not the parent.