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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 Self Sufficiency

Most students will need to provide parent information in order to get an accurate determination. If you are under 24 years of age, your residency is generally based on your parent(s)’ information. Unless you are meet one of these conditions, parent information is usually required:

  • You are married
  • You are or have been in Foster Care
  • You are active duty military
  • You are a legally emancipated minor
  • You are totally financially self-sufficient and at least 19 years of age

To be Financially self-sufficient you must meet these conditions:

  • Make enough money on your own, through employment or financial aid, 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 the most basic requirement for In State 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 NC is your primary and permanent residence for the past 12 months. Some 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/Financial Self Sufficiency), 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. 

If you have an application for asylum and it has NOT been approved, you may not be eligible for residency. Please the RDS Guidebook to see if you have an eligible status.

Undocumented students and F1 Visa holders are not eligible for in-state tuition benefits through RDS. 

Even if you do not have an eligible status, you may still be required by your college to complete the RDS process.  

If you are a US Citizen with undocumented parents, 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.