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Residency Information

PLEASE REMEMBER:  The information on this page is general. Specific information or advice on residency is available from the residency determination official at the college you're planning to attend.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board rule 21.25 requires each student applying to enroll at an institution to respond to a set of core residency questions for the purpose of determining the student's eligibility for classification as a resident.

As a student at a Texas college or university, you’ll be classified as either a Texas resident or non-resident. Your residency status affects your eligibility for:

  • Resident tuition at a Texas public college or university; and
  • Financial aid at a Texas college or university.

Information and Resources

Residency Rule Questions

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ("Coordinating Board") has received numerous questions related to the rule changes adopted in October 2016. We would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of these changes. Below each clarification, we have posted questions received and our responses.

The first of these relates to the erroneous classification of a student as a nonresident when the student should have been classified as a Texas resident:

Regardless of the reason for the error, if an institution of higher education erroneously classifies a student as a nonresident of this state, the institution has an obligation to the student or former student to repay the amount of tuition paid in excess of resident tuition. This applies to all semesters in which the student was erroneously classified and charged the higher tuition rate. The applicable statute, Texas Education Code (TEC) Section 54.056(b), states that the institution must repay the excess tuition no matter the source of the error. In addition, the statute requires the institution to start charging resident tuition beginning with the semester in which the error is discovered.

Although the Coordinating Board residency rules adopted in October 2016 state that the changes to the rules are effective with enrollments after the census date for fall 2017, this particular change is based on a new interpretation of the already-existing TEC Section 54.056(b) and therefore is effective immediately.

In 21.28(b) the rule states "Regardless of the reason for the error," Does the definition of the word "error" extend to/include the circumstance of a student who just did not provide information that would have allowed the institution to classify the student as a resident?

The Coordinating Board believes the Legislature intended to give the terms, "error" and "erroneously" in TEC Section 54.056(b), their plain meaning. In other words, if a student is classified as a nonresident but should have been classified as a resident, then that is an error and the student should be considered erroneously classified.

Also in 21.28(b) it is stated that "beginning with the semester in which the institution discovered the error." Does the rule require the institution to refund the student for the current semester and forward or the current semester and past semesters?

The Coordinating Board interprets the statute to mean that the institution owes the student any excess tuition paid by the student. Once the institution discovers the error, the institution must start charging the student the Texas resident rate and so should not have cause to refund for future semesters. However, if the student or former student was charged the higher nonresident rate in past semesters, the institution should refund the difference in tuition rates for those semesters as well.


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