What is "residency" and why is it important?
The determination of residency is the trigger for deciding which students pay in-state and which pay out-of-state tuition at UW-Whitewater. Officially referred to as "Residency for Tuition Purposes," every student has a residency decision made for them immediately after being admitted for a given term.
Who makes a residency decision?
Trained staffs in both the undergraduate and graduate Admissions Offices make these decisions. Each decision is made wholly on the application materials submitted, and often requests for more information are made to clarify uncertainties.
How is residency determined?
People are often surprised to learn that who does and does not qualify for in-state tuition is clearly laid out in state statutes. As such, there is no institutional flexibility that is open to negotiation on this topic.
What if I think I'm a resident, and you decide I am not?
The law presumes all students are non-residents for tuition purposes until sufficient information is provided to overturn that decision. As soon as sufficient information is provided, the initial decision can be overturned.
Still have Questions? More Information Below:
- General Residency for Tuition Purposes Information
- What is Documentation of Physical Presence?
- How do I appeal the Non-Resident Classification?
- What happens after I submit an Appeal from Non-resident classification for university fee purposes?
- What if I am a graduate of a Wisconsin High School and I have parents who reside permanently in Wisconsin?
- What if I am a minor?
- What if I am claimed as a tax dependent of a parent who resides out of the state and have a parent who resides in Wisconsin?
- What if I or my parents or spouse recently moved to Wisconsin because of employment?
- What if I am not a citizen of the United States?
- What if I moved to Wisconsin as a refugee?
- What if I am a member of the military?
- What about Minnesota-Wisconsin reciprocity?
- What if I or my family leave Wisconsin?
- What if I am a nonresident and take a year off of school?
- What if I am a nonresident - will I ever become a resident?
- Click here for non-resident scholarship opportunities information
- Click here for the UW-Whitewater Residency Appeal Form
Initial residency determinations for tuition purposes at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are made by the Admissions Office, based on the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) which governs residency status for tuition purposes. In general, you must be a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to be eligible for in-state tuition.
Please be aware that there has been a change to Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2). Section (cr), the provision that provided an exemption from non-resident tuition for a "person who is a citizen of a country other than the United States," has been repealed, effective July 1, 2011. Therefore, the exemption from non-resident tuition based on Section (cr) is no longer available to any student.
If you do not qualify as a Wisconsin resident, you will be assessed nonresident tuition. In determining residency status for tuition purposes, different standards are used than those which may be used for voting, paying taxes, etc. Individuals who come to Wisconsin primarily for educational purposes do not automatically qualify as Wisconsin residents for tuition purposes, even after living in Wisconsin 12 months or more.
Please note: if you have been classified as a non-resident because you: a) did not claim residency or b) did not submit all information requested by our office, your non-resident tuition status will remain in effect and you will be assessed the non-resident tuition fees. If the documentation necessary to re-evaluate your non-resident tuition status is not submitted to our office by the last class day of the term for which you are requesting exemption from nonresident tuition, your residency status will not be re-evaluated for that term. After the term in question is over, you cannot submit documentation to change your residency status for that term.
Further, if you are classified as a resident for tuition purposes and are notified that your resident tuition classification will NOT be finalized until our office receives additional information in the future (such as tax documentation), and if you do not submit the requested information by the given deadline, your status will be changed to non-resident, and you will be retroactively assessed the non-resident tuition rate for the term in question and for any subsequent terms.
Remember: it is your responsibility to read and respond to all official correspondence from this university, whether it is sent electronically or hard copy.
Documentation of Physical Presence is used to establish the fact that a person has been physically residing in Wisconsin continuously during a specific period of time. Each item of documentation must include your name and a date within the period of time in question. Examples of some types of documentation of your physical presence in Wisconsin follow. You are not limited to these examples, however, and may submit other records more appropriate in your situation. Check with our office to verify that records not included on this list will suffice. We understand the difficulty some may have in producing these documents, but we must include them with your records to satisfy residency audits.
You may submit copies of your documentation rather than originals with the exception of letters written on your behalf. In most cases, several items per month will suffice. It may sometimes be necessary, however, to request additional documentation depending on individual circumstances.
Appropriate documents include:
- Canceled checks you wrote to local businesses or credit card receipts you signed with charges to local businesses.
- Bank statements showing ATM transactions in Wisconsin, if the account is only in your name.
- Credit card statements showing purchases in Wisconsin, if the account is only in your name.
- Envelopes (excluding window envelopes) addressed to you at your Wisconsin address with a legible postmark.
- Verification of, and/or bills from doctor or dentist appointments in Wisconsin.
- Letters you may have received in Wisconsin relating to your employment search or copies, signed by prospective employers, of job applications you have submitted in this State (e-mail correspondence not acceptable).
- Documentation of volunteer work or involvement in community activities in Wisconsin. (ie: a letter from a Volunteer Coordinator on official letterhead).
- Documentation of visits to health club/fitness center, public library receipts, etc.
- A signed statement from a landlord or resident manager verifying your physical occupancy of the rented premises during the period of time in question. This statement must be written on letterhead stationery or, if letterhead is not used, the statement must be notarized.
Unacceptable documents include:
- Duplicate checks: These do not show the original signature. Only canceled checks are acceptable.
- A lease: This does not attest to one's physical occupancy during the dates in question.
- Letters written on your behalf from friends and relatives. Only letters written by impartial individuals are acceptable.
- Any document that indicates the physical presence of two people (i.e: envelopes or bills addressed to spouses or registered domestic partners).
- Window envelopes (see #4 in "Appropriate documents").
Initial residency determinations for tuition purposes at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater are made by the Admissions Office based on the provisions of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) which governs residency status for tuition purposes. In general, you must be a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least 12 months prior to enrollment to be eligible for in-state tuition.
If you still have questions about your residency classification after reading the extract of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2), or you feel that your classification is incorrect or that you have important extenuating or mitigating factors, you may contact the Residency Coordinator and/or submit an Appeal from Non-resident classification for university fee purposes form by the appropriate deadline.
Fall semester: Appeal due August 1st
Spring semester: Appeal due January 1st
Summer semester: Appeal due May 1st
It is our goal to make students residents whenever possible in accordance with the Wisconsin state law. While every student has the right to submit an appeal, a consultation with the Residency Coordinator can help you determine whether moving forward with an appeal is a prudent decision. The Coordinator will provide guidance and will give a professional opinion about the likelihood of a successful appeal based on the circumstances of your situation. Having a clear understanding of the law and the appeals process could save you a good deal of time and energy.
Once the Admissions Office receives your completed Appeal from Non-resident classification for university fee purposes Form, your enrollment for the term of your appeal will be verified, and then you will be scheduled for a hearing on a first come, first served basis. A "Notice of Hearing" letter will be mailed to you ten days prior to the hearing date.
The Residency Appeals Committee is the hearing body which considers the appeals for exemption from nonresident tuition. The Committee meets on call of the chair to hear and deliberate the appeals submitted in accordance with the provisions of Ch. 20 UWS Administrative Code. The evidentiary portions of the hearings are open to the public unless the appellant requests a closed session. Deliberations of the Committee are always in closed session. Notice to the appellant will be in accordance with Chapter 227, Wisconsin Statutes. Students who appeal may rely on the written appeal affidavit and appropriate supporting documents as the basis for the Committee's review. However, you are encouraged to appear in person. If you choose to have a personal appearance before the Committee, you may, if you wish, be accompanied by personal and/or legal counsel. They, however, may not appear in your place.
Tuition and fees are due in full by the due date as set by the university. This amount must be paid by the due date in order to avoid a late payment fee. Then, if your appeal is successful, the nonresident tuition will be refunded to you or the outside source of payment if your fees were paid by a source such as financial aid, third party, or scholarship. If the Committee denies your appeal and grants you no relief, you may withdraw from the University without incurring any fees or fee penalties for that term by contacting the Residency Coordinator in the Admissions Office by Friday of the week following your hearing. If you withdraw from University of Wisconsin-Whitewater prior to the hearing of your appeal, you are subject to the same withdrawal fee policies. Please refer to the current Schedule of Classes or web page for key deadlines.
At the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, the Nonresident Tuition Appeals Committee is the final hearing agent for appeals for exemption from nonresident tuition. Cases will not be reheard following the Committee's decision unless there is a material error of fact or law, or significant evidence which could not have been discovered by due diligence on your part prior to the hearing and which could change the Committee's decision. Any further appeals will have to be filed in Circuit Court within 30 days after mailing of the findings of fact and conclusions of law letter from the Admissions Office setting forth the basis for the Committee's decision. You can, however, contact the Admissions Office to request a redetermination of your tuition status for any subsequent school term for which you register at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
The residency appeal form may be found here:
The residency hearing will be scheduled based on deadlines for the residency appeal forms:
Fall semester: Appeal due August 1st
Spring semester: Appeal due January 1st
Summer semester: Appeal due May 1st
See Section (c) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
If you graduated from a Wisconsin high school and one or both of your parents have lived continuously as bona fide residents in Wisconsin for at least the twelve months prior to the beginning of any term for which you enroll at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, or your last surviving parent was a bona fide resident of the State for the year before death, your classification is resident under Section (c) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2). There is no age limitation on claiming residency under this section of the Statute.
To claim legal Wisconsin residency for tuition purposes under the provisions of Section (c) of the Statute, you should check "yes" for the question on the application asking whether you claim Wisconsin residency, then complete the information requested regarding your high school, city, state and date of graduation, as well as the information about your parents' residency. Your residency status will be determined by the Admissions Office at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
See Section (a)(4) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
If you are a minor and have resided substantially in Wisconsin during your years of minority (while under the age of 18), and at least the full year before your enrollment, you will be classified as a resident student for tuition purposes. The Admissions Office may contact you for further information regarding your residency.
See Section (a)(3) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
You may qualify as a resident in accordance with Section (a)(3) of the Statute if:
- one of your parents is a bona fide resident of Wisconsin for at least the twelve months prior to the beginning of any semester, and
- you are claimed as a tax dependent for Federal income tax purposes by one of your parents, and
- you will continue to be claimed as a dependent by one of your parents.
On your application to University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, you should claim legal Wisconsin residency.
If you have a parent who moved to Wisconsin because of his/her employment and you are a tax dependent of that parent, you may meet the qualifications for residency under Section (cm) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).
See Section (cm) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
If you have moved to Wisconsin for full-time employment, you and your spouse at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and dependents may be exempt from nonresident tuition in the University of Wisconsin System.
Section (cm) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) allows the following persons--and their spouses and dependents--to qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition immediately upon moving to Wisconsin, without having to wait a twelve month period to be eligible to be classified as a resident:
- Individuals who have been relocated to Wisconsin for employment purposes by their current employer and who remain continuously employed full-time by that employer;
- Individuals who accepted their current full-time employment with a new employer before moving to Wisconsin and before filing an application for admission to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. In addition, such individuals must have moved to Wisconsin for employment purposes and must have remained continuously employed full-time by that same employer since their arrival in order to continue to qualify under this section of the Statute.
If you are not a United States citizen, you must be on a visa which permits indefinite residency in the United States by the time you enroll at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater to qualify for residency under Section 36.27(2)(cm).
See Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
If you are not a U.S. citizen, in general, you need to be in possession of a visa that permits indefinite residency in the United States, or have been approved as a Permanent Resident of the United States for the twelve months immediately prior to the beginning of your intended term of enrollment and qualify for residency under some part of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2) in order to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes at the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater. See the Statute for categories where the durational twelve months is not required.
Visas which allow individuals to be considered for residency for tuition purposes include the H-1 and related H-4, E, K, and certain L visas as well as Asylees. A student on one of these visas is not required to affirm a domicile in his/her country of origin.
A student who holds a visa such as the F, J, M, TN, TD and B, has as a condition of the visa, a requirement to affirm a permanent and unrelinquishable domicile in another country, and is not eligible to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes at the University.
Providing you are on a visa which allows indefinite residency in the United States, your residency for tuition purposes will be determined in accordance with Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).
If you are unsure whether you qualify for resident tuition under this provision of the Statute, contact the Residency Coordinator in the Admissions Office at 262-472-1440 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
An exception to residing in Wisconsin for twelve months prior to enrollment applies if you are a student on refugee status as defined under 8 USC 1101(a)(42); you moved to Wisconsin immediately upon arrival in the United States; and you have resided in this State continuously since moving here. If you are in this situation, you need to demonstrate intent to establish and maintain a permanent home in Wisconsin according to the criteria under Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2).
See Section (b) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
Under Section (b)1 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate even though your legal classification will remain nonresident at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, if you are a member of the Armed Forces stationed in Wisconsin on active duty, or if you are the spouse or child of a person in the military under those conditions.
Similarly, under Section (b)2 of the Statute, members of the armed forces who are stationed within 90 miles of the borders of this state, but are residing in Wisconsin, and their spouses and children are entitled to exemption from nonresident tuition.
If you believe you can qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition under Section (b)1 or (b)2: upon notification of admission to this University, please submit a set of official orders verifying that you, a spouse or parent is stationed in Wisconsin at the present time to the Admissions Office, 800 West Main Street, Whitewater, WI 53190-1791. A determination of prospective eligibility for the tuition exemption will be made and you will be notified of your status. If it appears that you can qualify, you will be advised of the procedures you should follow, prior to your payment of fees, to have your fee assessment adjusted to reflect resident rates.
Under Section (b)3 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate if you were a member of the Armed Forces for at least 10 years, honorably discharged from such service within 4 years before application to the University, and filed Wisconsin state income tax returns for at least 8 of the last 10 years of active duty, or you are the spouse or child of a person under those conditions.
Under Section (b)4 of the Statute, you may be able to pay tuition at the resident rate if you were a resident of this state at the time of entry into active duty, and are a resident when registering, and are a veteran as defined in s. 45.01(12).
Qualification for Wisconsin State veteran benefits is determined by the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA). If you feel you may qualify for exemption from nonresident tuition under this law, you must apply to the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA, 30 West Mifflin Street, Madison or 608-266-1311) for determination of eligibility for veteran benefits, or you can apply through your County Veterans Service Office.
A tuition reciprocity agreement exists between Wisconsin and Minnesota. This agreement stipulates that residents of Minnesota can attend Wisconsin institutions in approved programs and be assessed the approved reciprocity tuition rate, plus segregated fees assessed all students. Students in the professional programs of the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, however, are not covered under the reciprocity program.
Minnesota residents must apply to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education (MOHE) for verification of their eligibility for reciprocity. The deadline for filing an application in Minnesota is the last day of classes at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in the term for which you wish to receive reciprocity status. A certification year runs from the beginning of the fall Term and extends through the end of the following summer term. Reciprocity will be automatically renewed for a subsequent academic year for students who met the following conditions during the spring term of the previous academic year: enrolled for credit courses at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, remained enrolled beyond the 100% adjustment period, and paid reciprocity tuition. Students need to reapply for reciprocity if they were not enrolled at all during an academic year, or were enrolled but did not take advantage of reciprocity tuition because of an assistantship or third party payment contract.
At University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, students not certified prior to the date tuition is due must either pay at the nonresident rate and receive an appropriate refund upon certification by MOHE, or delay payment until certification is issued and pay an appropriate late payment fee.
Minnesota residents who wish to take advantage of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Tuition Reciprocity Agreement should apply for certification as a Minnesota resident to:
Minnesota Office of Higher Education
1450 Energy Park Drive, Suite 350
St. Paul, MN 55108-5227
(651) 642-0567 or 1-800-657-3866
Wisconsin residents who wish to take advantage of the Minnesota-Wisconsin Tuition Reciprocity Agreement should apply for certification as a Wisconsin resident to:
Wisconsin Higher Educational Aids Board Reciprocity Program
P.O. Box 7885
Whitewater, WI 53707-7885
If you are a minor and your parents move out of the state during the 12 months prior to your enrollment at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, you will be classified as a nonresident unless you have lived in Wisconsin during a substantial portion of your life and for the full year before enrollment. If your parents move out of the state, you are 18 or older, and you are living in the state of Wisconsin and maintaining your legal ties, you can retain your resident status for tuition purposes in your own right.
If you are 18 or older and move out of the state with your parents, you generally will be considered a nonresident.
See Sections (a)1 and (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2)
If you are a nonresident student you may discontinue enrollment for a twelve-month period to establish bona fide residency in Wisconsin for tuition purposes, and you must fulfill the criteria in Section (e) of Wisconsin Statutes 36.27(2), including timely filing of a Wisconsin income tax return of a type only a full-year Wisconsin resident may file, Wisconsin voter registration, Wisconsin motor vehicle registration, possession of a Wisconsin operator's license, place of employment, self-support, involvement in community activities, and physical presence in Wisconsin for at least 12 months before classes begin. Also, if you are not a U.S. citizen, you must be in possession of a visa that permits indefinite residency in the United States.
When you submit an application for readmission to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, check the "Yes" box regarding residency, even if the 12 months has not passed when you reapply. This will alert the Admissions Office of your intent.
If you enter and remain in Wisconsin principally to attend an educational institution during the twelve months you are attempting to establish bona fide residency in Wisconsin, you are presumed to continue to reside outside the state. This presumption remains in effect until you are able to demonstrate you have overcome the presumption with clear and convincing evidence of bona fide residency in the state for the year next preceding a term for which you wish to enroll at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Wisconsin Statutes 36.27.(2) Section (e).
Generally, a student who enters Wisconsin to attend any educational institution will continue in the nonresident status until the student's reason for being in Wisconsin is clearly shown to be non-educational. Twelve months after the change in the student's reason for being in Wisconsin, the student may wish to inquire about appealing their nonresident status.