The state of North Carolina partially subsidizes the cost of North Carolina public college and university
tuition for all students whose
domicile, or permanent legal residence, is in North Carolina. Residency determination establishes
if students should have in-state or out-of-state tuition. Because North Carolina residency status
is governed solely by North Carolina statute, lack of eligibility for in-state status in another
state does not guarantee in-state status in North Carolina. The residency statute mandates only
those who can demonstrate a minimum of twelve months of uninterrupted domicile (legal residence)
in North Carolina are eligible for in-state tuition. The statute also places the burden of proof
on the student to establish, by a preponderance of evidence, that they are a bona fide domiciliary
rather than mere residents of North Carolina.
The Residency Determination Service (RDS) was established in coordination with the University of North Carolina (UNC), the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS), the North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA), and the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) as the centralized service for determining residency for students. This service enables a student to use one residency determination for admissions applications to multiple North Carolina public colleges and universities and to demonstrate residency for state aid programs consideration at all (public and private) North Carolina colleges and universities.