Exceptions to the General Rules

If a student does not qualify as a California resident, there are certain exceptions that may allow a student to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes. To qualify for these exceptions, the student must be legally capable of establishing residence in the United States and satisfy the exception requirements on the Residence Determination Date for the term in question (not one year prior).

The Residence Determination Dates are as follows:

QUARTER  DETERMINATION DATE
Fall September 20th
Winter January 5th
Spring April 1st
Summer July 1st

Below are some exceptions that a student who is legally capable of establishing residency may be eligible for. Please read the details below as the requirements for each exception are outlined. If you believe you are eligible for an exception, contact the Admissions Office at 805-756-2311 or email admissions@calpoly.edu for further instructions on what documentation to submit.

If a one-year residency exception is granted, the student will be sent a questionnaire towards the end of her/his first year in California in order to verify that s/he has actually established her/his own residency. If the student has not met the residency requirements at that time, s/he will be reclassified to a nonresident for tuition purposes.

  • Dependent of a California Resident
  • Graduate of a California School Operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Employees of the CSU or State Employees Assigned Outside California, and their Spouses, Registered Domestic Partners, and Children
  • Spouse or Child of Deceased Law Enforcement or Fire Suppression and Prevention Public Employees
  • Undergraduate Dependent of September 11, 2001 Attack Victims

Exceptions Available to Active Military Personnel, their Dependents, or to Recently Discharged Military Personnel

Dependent of a California Resident:

To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The student must not have been an adult resident of California for more than one year; and
  2. The student must either:
    1. Be identified as a dependent child on the most recent year’s income tax return filed by a parent who has had California residence for at least one year immediately preceding the Residence Determination Date; or
    2. Have a parent who has both contributed court-ordered child support on a continuous basis and has been a California resident for a minimum of one year.

The student is eligible for this exception until s/he has resided in the state the minimum time necessary to become a California resident.

Graduate of a California School Operated by the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

To be eligible for this exception, the following requirements must be met:

  1. The student must be a graduate of a California school operated by the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs; and
  2. Once enrolled under this exception, the student must maintain continuous attendance at the institution.

Employees of the CSU or State Employees Assigned Outside California, and their Spouses, Registered Domestic Partners, and Children:

To be eligible for this exception, the student must be either:

  1. A full-time employee of the CSU; or
  2. A full-time employee of any other California state agency who is assigned to work outside the state, or
  3. The spouse, registered domestic partner or child (natural or adopted) of any such employee identified in (a) or (b).

This exception does not require a spouse, domestic partner or child be a dependent of the state employee for income tax reporting purposes, nor does it contain any age limitation.

Spouse or Child of Deceased Law Enforcement or Fire Suppression and Prevention Public Employees:

To be eligible for this exception, a student, regardless of age, must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be the surviving spouse or natural or adopted child of a deceased employee of a public agency (federal, state or local); and,
  2. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee was a resident of California at the time of his/her death; and,
  3. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee’s principal duties consisted of either:
  1. Active law enforcement service which was not principally clerical; or,
  2. Active fire suppression and prevention which was not principally clerical; and,
  1. Demonstrate the deceased public agency employee was killed in the course of those duties, or,
  1. Died as a result of an accident incurred in the course of those duties, or,
  2. Died as a result of an injury caused by external violence or physical force incurred in the course of those duties.

In addition to nonresident tuition, all other fees for students qualifying under this exception are waived.

Undergraduate Dependent of September 11, 2001 Attack Victims:

To be eligible for this exception, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Be enrolled in an undergraduate program; and,
  2. Be the surviving spouse or natural or adopted child or other qualifying dependent of any victim of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Either the qualifying dependent or the individual killed in the attacks must have been a resident of California on September 11, 2001.

This exception is available to a surviving spouse of a California resident in the terror attack of September 11, 2001, until January 1, 2013, after which it expires. This exception is available to a surviving natural or adopted child of a California resident killed in the terror attack of September 11, 2001, until that child reaches the age of 30 (which may be a date after January 1, 2013).

Exceptions Available to Active Military Personnel, their Dependents, or to Recently Discharged Military Personnel:

  • A number of exceptions are available to active military personnel, recently discharged military personnel, and their dependents. Some of these are listed below.
  • A veteran or dependent (child or spouse) of a veteran eligible for educational assistance under either the Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty or Post-9/11 GI Bill education benefit programs, who resides in California and enrolls in college within three years of discharge from active duty service of 90 days or more
  • A dependent of a service member of the U.S. Armed Forces who died in the line of duty after September 11, 2001, eligible to receive veteran’s education assistance.
  • A dependent of an active-duty service member of the U.S. Armed Forces who has received transferred benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill, who resides in California.
  • A member or the dependent of a member of the U.S. Armed Forces stationed in California on active duty for more than 30 days.
  • A veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces formerly stationed in California on active duty for more than one year who enrolls within two years of discharge from a California military base.

The following branches qualify for these exceptions:

  • All active duty personnel in the following U.S. Armed Services:  Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard
  • Active Guard Reserve (AGR) component which includes Army and Air Force AGR personnel
  • U.S. Navy Reserve Full-Time Support (FTS) officers and sailors
  • U.S. Marine Corps Active Reserve (AR)
  • U.S. Coast Guard Reserve Program Administrators (RPAs)

The following branches are NOT included in the military exceptions:

  • Active-duty personnel who are on temporary duty in the state
  • National Guard and Reserve service members who are not full-time and in one of the statuses found above
  • State Military Reserve service members

For a complete list of exceptions and exemptions, please see the California State University residency website.



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.

Back to top

Related Content

Widget - Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Undergraduate Students

Widget - After Graduation

After Graduation

Graduate Students

Widget - International Students

International Students

International Students

Widget - Visit Us

Visit My Cal Poly Portal

Visit My Cal Poly Portal