Colorado Residency Requirements

The tuition classification statutes place the burden of proof on the student to provide clear and convincing evidence of eligibility. Tuition classification is governed by state law (CO Revised Statutes §23-7-101, et. seq.) and by judicial decisions that apply to all public institutions of higher education in Colorado. Fort Lewis College does not have discretion to make exceptions to the rules as established by state law. There is no provision in the state statutes for retroactive compliance. Because Colorado law governs Colorado residency status, the fact that a student might not qualify for in-state status in any other state does not guarantee in-state status in Colorado.

Please refer to the list below for deadlines associated with Petitions for in-state tuition classification, residency forms, and all supporting documents needed/requested for tuition classification. 

New or incoming FLC students

Tuition Classification is determined based on the information provided in the application for admission. Please answer the questions in the application thoroughly, including address, high school, parent information, and the specific residency questions to ensure a timely and accurate determination.

We may request additional documentation, including a completed Residency Form, copies of your Colorado driver’s license, Colorado State Tax Returns, purchase or lease agreements, and/or additional information.

DEADLINES for new or incoming students:

You must submit the required residency documentation no later than 5 p.m. on the dates listed below.

  • Spring 2022 term: Monday, December 20, 2021
  • Summer 2022 term: Monday, April 18, 2022
  • Fall 2022 term: Monday, August 8, 2022 

If you do not agree with your initial tuition classification, you have the right to submit a petition, including supporting documents, no later than 5 p.m. on the first day of the semester.

Documentation cannot be considered after the deadline, and a new petition will be required for a future term.


Current or continuing FLC students

Continuing students must submit a petition to request reconsideration for in-state residency.

DEADLINES for current or continuing students:

Petitions and the accompanying documentation must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. on the dates listed below (if the deadline falls on a weekend, petitions will be accepted until 5 p.m. the following Monday).

  • Fall Term: August 1
  • Spring Term: December 1
  • Summer Term: April 1

Petitions will be reviewed in the order they are received and will be processed in a timely manner. Decisions regarding tuition classification will be made prior to the start of the term, and students will be notified of the decision in writing.

Documentation cannot be considered after the deadline, and a new petition will be required for a future term.


Student or parent residence

If you are an applicant who will be under 23 years old at the start of the term, please note that your residency determination for tuition purposes will be made based on your parent or court-appointed legal guardian’s information.

If you are an applicant who will be 23 years of age or older at the start of the term, your residency determination for tuition purposes will be based on your information.

Financially Emancipated Minors are students under 23 years old who are no longer considered dependents and are not supported by their parents or others. An emancipated minor must submit a petition for in-state tuition classification by the appropriate deadline above.

A note about residency

Colorado residency requirements for tuition-purposes in the State of Colorado is determined by your physical presence in Colorado and evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence for at least 12 months prior to the start of the term.

Physical presence is your actual permanent home and legal residence and may be demonstrated by lease agreements or rental receipts or home ownership.

Evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence is demonstrated by giving up your legal ties with your prior state and establishing them with Colorado.  Proof that demonstrates evidence of intent may include all of the following: Colorado motor vehicle registration, CO voter registration, payment of Colorado state income taxes as a Colorado resident, permanent, full-time, off-campus employment.  Additional evidence may be required depending on circumstances.

Physical presence and evidence of intent together establish your domicile in Colorado. There is no formula or checklist to follow in establishing domicile. Generally physical presence plus one connection with the state (such as a driver’s license) will not be sufficient to establish domicile.

View the guidelines for classification of students for tuition purposes in Colorado

Read full Colorado Department of Higher Education Residency Requirements here

Colorado Department of Higher Education Residency FAQs

  • Physical presence
  • Evidence of intent
  • Financial emancipation
Physical presence

Physical presence is your actual permanent home and legal residence. The following may be considered as evidence of physical presence in Colorado:

  • Lease agreements
  • Rent receipts
  • Home ownership
  • Statement from a landlord

The following may be considered as evidence that you do NOT have physical presence in Colorado:

  • Return to your former state of residence for a substantial period of time during the summer or during other periods when not enrolled as a student or between academic sessions.
  • Maintenance of a home in another state.
  • Prolonged absence from Colorado, except for military or government service or for temporary absences required by an employer.
Evidence of intent

Evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence is demonstrated by giving up all your legal ties with your prior state and establishing them with Colorado for 12 continuous months prior to the start of the term. Proof that demonstrates evidence of intent, as specified by the residency statutes, may include all of the following:

  • Colorado driver's license or state ID
  • Colorado motor vehicle registration
  • Permanent, full-time, off-campus employment
  • Colorado voter registration
  • Payment of Colorado state income taxes as a Colorado resident
  • Ownership of residential property in Colorado

The following may be considered as evidence that you do NOT have intent:

  • Failure to pay a Colorado state income tax return
  • Failure to have Colorado state income taxes withheld from your wages
  • Filing a Colorado state income tax return as a non-resident
  • Failure to obtain a Colorado driver’s license or Colorado ID
  • Registering the vehicle you operate in another state
  • Any other factor unique to the individual which tends to imply your permanent home and legal residence is in another state

Intent is demonstrated by several kinds of connections with the state dated one year prior to the beginning of classes. There is no formula or checklist to follow in establishing domicile. Generally, physical presence plus one connection with the state will not be sufficient to establish domicile. Several connections are necessary, and the more connections that are made, the greater chance a person has of qualifying for residency. Any connections maintained with any other state during the 12-month period for establishing domicile may be viewed as negative intent to make Colorado one’s permanent home.

Financial emancipation

Financial emancipation applies to minors under 23 years of age who are no longer considered dependents and are not supported by their parents or others. An emancipated minor can establish domicile on the date of emancipation. Proof of emancipation is documented by submitting a Petition for In-State Tuition Classification to the Admission Office by the appropriate deadline.

Special populations

Veterans and students using VA benefits may qualify for in-state tuition through a few exceptions to the standard process and should read here for more information or contact the Admission Office.

Undocumented students, new or continuing are eligible for in-state tuition through the ASSET program if they have attended high school in Colorado for at least three years immediately before graduation or completion of a GED in Colorado. Please read more information and how to qualify here.

Special Immigrants & Refugees
According to Senate Bill 18-087 (effective Fall 2018), a foreign national admitted to the United States as a refugee or special immigrant who settles in Colorado upon entering the United States is eligible for classification as an in-state student immediately upon settlement in Colorado. The primary purpose for settlement in Colorado must not be solely for educational purposes. Along with the tuition classification information provided in the application for admission, students will be asked to provide verification of their refugee/asylee immigration status to the United States.


Questions

If you have questions about Colorado residency requirements, please contact the Admission Office at 970-247-7184 or email residency@fortlewis.edu.