New Students:  Initial Classification

Adult Student:

A student who is 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date for the quarter to which he/she is applying

Adult students may establish their own residency for tuition purposes in California if they are a United States Citizen; permanent resident or other immigrant; or someone in nonimmigrant status who is not precluded from establishing a domicile in the United States. Students who enter the United States on F or J visas can never establish residency for tuition purposes.

Minor Student:

An unmarried student who is less than 19 years old by the Residence Determination Date for the quarter to which he/she is applying

Minor students derive their legal residency from the natural parent or adoptive parent with whom the minor maintains, or last maintained, his or her place of abode. The residence of a minor cannot be changed by the minor’s own act, by the appointment of a legal guardian, or by the relinquishment of a parent’s right of control as long as the minor’s parents are still living. That parent must be a California resident, as established by the California Education Code, for at least one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date for the minor to qualify for California residency.

The Residence Determination Dates are as follows:




September 20th


January 5th


April 1st


July 1st

The two requirements to be considered for initial classification are:

  1. Physical Presence:  An adult student, or the parent of a minor student, must be physically present in California one year prior to the Residence Determination Date for the quarter to which he/she applied; and,
  2. Intent:  An adult student, or the parent of a minor student, must demonstrate through objective documentation that his/her physical presence was coupled with the intent to make California their permanent home. Proofs of intent can include, but are not limited to:
    1. Registering to vote and voting in California
    2. Registering a motor vehicle owned or operated in California
    3. Obtaining a California driver’s license or ID card
    4. Filing a resident or nonresident state personal income tax return
    5. Establishing a permanent residence in California
    6. Maintaining an active bank account with a bank that has a California branch

If you believe you qualify to be initially classified as a California resident, complete a CSU Residency Questionnaire and submit it in person to the Cal Poly Admissions Office located in Building 1, Room 206. Or mail the form to:  Cal Poly Admissions, 1 Grand Avenue, San Luis Obispo, CA  93407.

To download the CSU Residence Questionnaire, click here.

**The burden of proof of residency rests solely with the student. Students from whom additional information is required will be contacted by letter or email with further instructions. Students who do not qualify as California residents for tuition purposes will be notified in writing and given the opportunity to appeal to the California State University Chancellor’s Office.**

Important note: This summation is not a complete explanation of the laws regarding California residence for tuition purposes. Applicable sections of the California Education Code and Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations are available for review at the Admissions Office, Room 206, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm. You may also review them online at:

You may also contact the Admissions Office with questions concerning residency issues not covered here.

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