SPIRE  |  Your Bill

Undergraduate Residency

Applying for Residency

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education sets the rules about eligibility for in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts public colleges and universities. Until the UMass Amherst Residency Officer reviews a completed residency application, it is impossible to determine residency. To be considered a Massachusetts resident, eligible for in-state tuition, you must meet all three of these conditions: 1. You must be a U.S. citizen, lawful immigrant, or permanent resident; or have another legal immigration status or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status [PDF]. 2.  You (or your parent, if you are a dependent student) must have lived in Massachusetts for the 12 months immediately before your enrollment at a state university or at the University of  Massachusetts; or for 6 months before your enrollment at a community college. You do not qualify for resident status if your only reason for living in Massachusetts during that time was to attend school here. 3.  You (or your parent, if you are a dependent student) must intend to make Massachusetts your permanent home. You may be asked to show proof of your intent to stay in Massachusetts (such as a Massachusetts driver's license, rent and utility bills, voter registration form, or income tax returns). In order to submit your application, please follow these steps: 1. Review the MA Rules and Regulations for Governing Residency to determine if you meet the basic criteria. The Residency In-State Eligibility Worksheet will also help to determine if you meet the in-state criteria. Please remember, In-State Tuition is a Tax Benefit to MA Permanent Residents valued at approximately $9,500 per semester. Simply living in MA and filing taxes does not automatically qualify you for In-State tuition. Nor does owning a summer or vacation property. 2. Write a cover letter outlining your specific case for residency and clearly explain how your situation meets the requirements for the State of MA. 3. Complete the Residency Cover Sheet, In-State Eligibility Worksheet, and Application Form [PDF]. 4. Gather additional documentation that proves permanent residency and provide copies with your application.

  • Include the following documents: MA Driver’s License, MA Voters Registration, Proof of Housing in MA, MA State/Federal Tax Returns, A letter from your employer stating permanent residence in MA, Visa/Green Card Information (if applicable), Military Orders (if applicable), marriage certificate and spouse information (if applicable), moving expenses, etc.
  • If your change of residency is due to a relocation by your parent(s)/guardian, please include documentation for all members of your household including MA State/Federal Tax Returns for your parent(s)/guardian).

5. Submit your materials in person (215 Whitmore), via mail (Office of The Bursar, 215 Whitmore Administration Building, University of Massachusetts Amherst, 181 Presidents Drive, Amherst MA 01003), or via email. If you are submitting via email, put all documents into one combined PDF file and email to bursar@admin.umass.edu. 6. Please allow 3 to 6 weeks for review. Residency is a collaborative process and we often have to verify information with other offices on-campus or via an organization you list in your application. Common Cases for Residency and Helpful Documents Below is a list of examples of common scenarios where students are seeking residency and the appropriate documentation used to support their claims. One or both of my parents were transferred to MA for work. My entire family now lives in the State. Helpful Documents:

  • Mortgage/Lease Information in MA for your parent(s)
  • MA Driver’s License for ALL family members
  • MA Voter’s Registration for ALL family members over 18
  • Letter from new employer stating parent(s)’ job transfer
  • Proof that younger siblings are enrolled in MA school system
  • MA State and Federal Tax Returns for the previous year(s) for your parent(s)

I am now considered legally independent from my parents. I am now responsible for paying ALL of my own expenses and I live full-time in MA. Helpful Documents:

  • Mortgage/Lease Information in MA
  • MA Driver’s License
  • MA Voter’s Registration
  • Court documents showing legal separation from parents
  • Independent MA State and Federal tax returns for the previous year(s)
  • Proof of your own health insurance
  • Independent from parents on FAFSA (we will check this with financial aid) – may include approval of a Dependency Appeal from Financial Aid Services

I have lived in MA for at least one year (full-time) and I am now on a path towards citizenship. Helpful Documents:

  • Mortgage/Lease Information in MA
  • MA Driver’s License
  • MA Voter’s Registration
  • MA State and Federal tax returns for the previous year(s)
  • INS I-797 Notice of Action Form
  • INS I-765 Employment Authorization or Employment Authorization Card

I (or my parents) just moved to MA due to military orders. Helpful Documents

  • Copy of military orders stating MA is your current location
  • New MA address/copy of lease

I took time off from UMass Amherst and I am now returning. During my time away from school, I stayed in MA to work. I am now considered Independent on my FAFSA. Helpful Documents:

  • Mortgage/Lease Information in MA
  • MA Driver’s License
  • MA Voter’s Registration
  • Independent MA State and Federal tax returns for the previous year(s)
  • Letter from employer

I recently married a Massachusetts resident. Helpful Documents:

  • Marriage certificate
  • MA Driver’s License and Voters Registration
  • Your spouse’s MA Driver’s License and MA Voter’s Registration (showing MA as a home for at least one year)
  • Your spouse’s MA State and Federal tax returns for the prior year
  • Proof of MA Residence – Mortgage/Lease Information in MA

Special Considerations

  • You (and your spouse and dependent students) are presumed to be Massachusetts residents if you are in the Armed Forces and stationed on active duty in Massachusetts.
  • If you are a faculty member, professional staff employee, or classified staff employee at a Massachusetts public college or university you may qualify for In-State Tuition.
  • Note: Your residency usually only matters if you enroll in an undergraduate or graduate day program. If you are a continuing education or distance learning student, you will usually pay the same rate regardless of your residency status.