Unusual Criteria for In-State Tuition

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Mark Kantrowitz

By Mark Kantrowitz

February 20, 2020

Several states have unusual rules for determining whether a student qualifies for state residency for in-state tuition purposes.


Dependent children of a person who received an Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree or Doctoral degree from the University of Alaska are eligible for in-state tuition.

A student can qualify for in-state tuition at Louisiana public colleges and universities if either parent is a graduate of the college or university where the student is enrolled.

Wyoming allows children and spouses of university graduates to pay 150% of the resident tuition.

Ward of the State

Time spent incarcerated in a city, state or federal jail or prison in Hawaii does not count toward the durational requirements for in-state tuition.

A similar rule applies in Montana, but only for state and local penal institutions.

Incarceration in Virginia does not establish Virginia state residency.

Recognition of Service

Participating in AmeriCorps in Arizona for at least a year can qualify the student for in-state tuition.

Recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor and their children are exempt from paying tuition in California.

Any dependent of a Member of Congress who represents the state of Washington is eligible for in-state tuition.

Where are Fluffy and Fido?

Maryland considers where your pets live when evaluating applications for in-state tuition. 


If a student was born in Mississippi, they are eligible for in-state tuition even if they moved out of state.

Senior Citizens

Residents of Louisiana who are age 55 and older are exempt from paying tuition and fees at public colleges in the state and receive a 50% discount on textbooks purchased from the college bookstore.

Dividends and Tuition

Receipt of an Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend within the last 12 months will qualify the student for in-state tuition.

Mission Accomplished

If a student or the student’s parent is a missionary funded by a Michigan church, they are eligible for in-state tuition, if they were domiciled in the state at the time they went on the mission.

Old Faithful

If the student had a parent who was employed and resided in Yellowstone National Park and the student graduated from a Montana public high school, the is eligible for in-state tuition so long as they register no later than the fourth fall term following high school graduation.

Employer-Paid Educational Assistance

Students can qualify for in-state tuition in Ohio if their employer pays for all of the student’s tuition and fees directly to the state college or university. The employer must agree to not charge the student for the tuition and fees or seek reimbursement from the student.


McKnight Doctoral Fellows and Finalists who are U.S. citizens are eligible for in-state tuition in Florida.

Some states provide in-state tuition to U.S. Olympic athletes in training.

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