New Students:  Initial Classification

A student attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as a first-time freshman or as a transfer student must have the legal capacity to establish residency in the State of California. If the student is under the age of 19 (with limited exceptions), the student’s residence status is derived from that of the parent or legal guardian with whom (s)he resides. In this case, the parent or legal guardian must have the legal capacity to establish residency in California.

Generally speaking, to be eligible for classification as a California resident for tuition purposes, the student, or parent/guardian (if the student is a minor), must provide verification that these requirements are satisfied:

  1. Physical Presence:  A student (or parent/guardian) must be physically present in California at least one year prior to the Residence Determination Date for the quarter to which he/she applied.
  2. Intent:  A student (or parent/guardian) must demonstrate through objective documentation that his/her physical presence was coupled with the intent to make California their permanent home and that all ties with the former state or country of residence have been severed for more than one year (a minimum of one year and one day) prior to the Residence Determination Date. Proofs of intent can include, but are not limited to:
  • Registering to vote and voting in California
  • Registering a motor vehicle owned or operated in California
  • Obtaining a California driver’s license or ID card
  • Filing a resident or nonresident state personal income tax return
  • Establishing a permanent residence in California
  • Maintaining an active bank account with a bank that has a California branch


The Residence Determination Dates are as follows:





September 20th


January 5th


April 1st


July 1st

If you believe you qualify to be initially classified as a California resident, complete a CSU Residence Questionnaire and submit it in person to the Cal Poly Admissions Office located in Building 172H, Second Floor. 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, Building 172H, Second floor, 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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