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Articles / Paying for College / In-State Tuition for Returning Michigan Resident?

In-State Tuition for Returning Michigan Resident?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Aug. 24, 2014
Question: My daughter is 24 yrs old. We have lived in Michigan for 15 yrs and she graduated from high school in Michigan.

She moved to California to stay with her grandparents to get her associates degree and now is moving back here and wants to get her 4 yr degree at Michigan State. How long will she have to be back in Michigan to get in as a resident? We can not afford out of state cost.

Because your daughter graduated from a Michigan high school and because she moved to California to attend college and because her parents are STILL in Michigan, she may be able to get in-state tuition right away.


In situations like this, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Did your daughter establish official residency in California? For instance, did she give up her Michigan driver's license and get a CA one instead? Did she finish school there and stay on to work? If she answers “Yes" to either one of these, it's not a deal-breaker, but if she DIDN'T, it can help her to make a claim that she never officially left Michigan.

But the fact that she graduated from a Michigan high school is a biggie. Also, up until the age of 24, a student is generally presumed to be a resident in the same state as her parents, even if she technically resides elsewhere. So if your daughter just turned 24, she is really on the border between being considered a dependent and not. If you have declared her on your taxes or helped to support her in CA up until now, this documentation will be an asset when she claims Michigan residency.

Thus, your daughter should contact MSU to see where she stands. The info is below if you need it. (Note also that, in Michigan, residency determination is made by the individual institutions, so even if MSU says that your daughter must live in Michigan for a full year before she can be considered a resident again, other public universities may rule differently.)

I think that your daughter's odds of being viewed as a Michigan resident for tuition purposes (without a 12-month waiting period) are very good. But she must confirm with the university. See the Web site below for details.

Contact info for MSU:

Associate Registrar for Registration Services Michigan State University

150 Administration Building East Lansing, MI 48824-0210

Tel: (517) 353-4490 Fax: (517) 432-3347

Email: Reg@pilot.msu.edu;

Web: www.reg.msu.edu/ROInfo/Notices/Residency.asp

Good luck!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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