Colorado in-state tuition classification

Colorado state statutes define tuition classification and place the residency burden of proof on the student. Fort Lewis College cannot make exceptions to state law. We determine tuition classification based on your evidence of Colorado residency eligibility for in-state tuition in your admission application.

Colorado state statute does not allow retroactive compliance. This means if you become a Colorado resident after you've started school, you do not get to go back and change your tuition status. Also, a student who might not qualify for in-state tuition status in any state does not guarantee in-state tuition status in Colorado.

Learn more about in-state tuition classification from the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Colorado residency requirements

First-year & transfer students

Follow the directions in your admission application and provide all required residency information so our office can give you a timely decision on your tuition classification.

Our office might request additional documentation, like a completed Residency Form, copies of your Colorado driver’s license, Colorado State Tax Returns, purchase or lease agreements, or other information.

You must submit the required residency documentation by 5 pm on the below dates:

  • Spring 2023 term: Monday, December 19, 2022
  • Summer 2023 term: Monday, April 24, 2023
  • Fall 2023 term: Monday, August 7, 2023
Current students

You have the right to petition to appeal your tuition classification. Continuing students must submit a petition to request reconsideration for in-state residency.

Deadlines

Petitions and documentation must be submitted no later than 5 pm for the following dates (if the deadline falls on a weekend, you can submit your petition the following Monday):

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

Our office reviews petitions quickly and in the order they are received. We notify students of our tuition classification appeal decision in writing before the start of the term.

Undocumented students

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 Colorado GED.

Undocumented students, new or continuing, at Fort Lewis College are eligible for in-state tuition and financial aid through the ASSET program.

Eligibility

You may qualify for Colorado ASSET in-state tuition if you:

  • Have attended a public or private high school for at least 3 years immediately before graduation or completed a general equivalency diploma (GED) in Colorado. 3 years is defined as 6 academic terms from 3 separate years immediately before graduation or completing the Colorado GED.
  • Be admitted to a Colorado college or university within 12 months of graduation from a Colorado high school or completion of a Colorado GED OR graduated from a Colorado high school or completed a Colorado GED before September 1, 2013 and have continuous physical presence in Colorado for 18 months preceding the start of the semester.

Students who were not accepted to a Colorado college/university within 12 months of graduation from a Colorado high school or competition of a Colorado GED prior to September 1, 2013, must submit proof of 18 months of continuous physical presence in Colorado prior to the first day of the semester. The documents must indicate a Colorado mailing address in order to determine continuous physical presence.

Documents you need to submit

  • Copy of lease agreement signed by all parties or rent receipts
  • Copy of warranty deed or tax liability statement for homeowners
  • Students who lived with a friend or relative must provide a notarized statement from that person indicating the property address and the dates of residence

Provide at least two of the following documents:

  • Colorado state identification or driver’s license
  • Colorado vehicle registration
  • Proof of employment (W-2 or check stubs)
  • Signed copies of Colorado income tax return or Colorado tax transcript for the previous year

To apply for ASSET in-state tuition

  • Apply for and complete an affidavit with the College Opportunity Fund (COF) indicating that you have applied for legal presence or will apply as soon as you are eligible to do so.
  • Submit the Fort Lewis College ASSET Affidavit and supporting documents to the Office of Admission 30 days prior to the specific semester for which they are applying.
  • Submit official final Colorado high school transcripts indicating three years of attendance at a Colorado high school.
  • Submit official Colorado GED transcript, if applicable.
  • If a transfer student, submit official proof of acceptance at a Colorado college or university (institutions other than Fort Lewis College) within 12 months of graduation from a Colorado high school or completion of a Colorado GED.
Immigrants & refugees

Senate Bill 18-087 states that 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 verify their refugee/asylee immigration status to the United States.

Active duty military

Stationed in Colorado

Active-duty members of the armed forces of the United States and Canada on duty stationed in Colorado, along with their dependents, are eligible for in-state tuition, regardless of Colorado domicile or length of residence in Colorado. The military member must have active-duty status and report to a duty station in Colorado. This must be certified by the military member’s military education officer in the form of a letter submitted to the Office of Admission (1000 Rim Drive, Durango, CO 81301).

Stationed outside Colorado

To retain Colorado domicile during an absence from Colorado due to military orders, military members must maintain Colorado as their legal residence for tax purposes and voter registration.

Individuals domiciled in Colorado for one year prior to enlisting in active-duty service who return permanently to Colorado within 6 months of discharge from the military are eligible for in-state tuition.

Colorado National Guard

Members of the Colorado National Guard and their dependents qualify for in-state tuition if the member maintains his or her sole residence in Colorado. This includes having Colorado State taxes withheld from wages, leasing or owning property in Colorado, and maintaining Colorado vehicle registration, Colorado driver's license, and Colorado voter's registration.

Honorably discharged veterans

All honorably discharged veterans who show established domicile in Colorado immediately preceding the start of the semester, regardless of length of time, shall be granted in-state tuition. Established residency can be documented by:

  • Copy of signed lease agreement or rent receipts
  • Copy of homeowner warranty deed or tax liability statement
  • Colorado state identification or driver’s license
  • Colorado vehicle registration
Veterans and dependents of veterans

Veterans and dependents of veterans who are considered “covered individuals” and receiving VA educational benefits under Chapter 33 of Title 10 of the United States Code (U.S.C.) are eligible for in-state tuition, regardless of Colorado domicile or length of residence in Colorado.

A “covered individual” is defined in section 702 of the “Veteran Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014”, 38 U.S.C. sec. 3679, as:

  • A Veteran who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
  • A spouse or child using transferred benefits who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the Service member’s death in the line of duty following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

Evidence for Colorado residency

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.

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.

Evidence of intent

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
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. An emancipated minor can establish domicile on the date of emancipation.

Submit a  Petition for In-State Tuition Classification for proof of emancipation to the Admission Office by the close of business on the first day of classes.

Evidence of legal ties outside of Colorado during the domicile year that demonstrate residency in another state may include the following:

  • Failure to file 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
  • Maintenance of a home in another state
  • Prolonged absence from Colorado
  • Registering the vehicle you operate in another state
  • Residing in another state between academic terms or when not enrolled as a student
  • Any other factor unique to the individual which tends to imply your permanent home and legal residence is in another state
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.
Residency & age

If you are an applicant under 23 years old at the start of the term, your residency determination for tuition will be 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 will be based on your information.