Residency for Graduate Student Tuition Classification

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education sets the rules about eligibility for in-state tuition rates at Massachusetts public colleges and universities. 

Residency classification is determined at the time of application, based upon information provided in the Graduate School's admissions application.

To be considered a Massachusetts resident for tuition classification purposes 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.

2.  You must have lived in Massachusetts for purposes other than attending an educational institution for the 12 months immediately before your enrollment or re-enrollment at an institution of higher education in Massachusetts.  You do not qualify for resident status if the only reason for moving to Massachusetts was to attend school here.  In general, residency is not acquired while the person is enrolled in an institution of higher education.

3.  You 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, vehicle registration, rent and utility bills, voter registration form, and state income tax returns).

If circumstances change after the initial determination of residency students may apply for residency reclassification.

In order to submit your reclassification request, 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 $8,000 per semester. Simply living in MA and filing taxes does not automatically qualify you for In-State tuition.

2. Write a cover letter outlining your specific case for residency and clearly explain how your situation meets the requirements for the State of Massachusetts.

3. Complete the Residency Cover Sheet, In-State Eligibility Worksheet, and Application Form [PDF].

4. Gather additional documentation that proves permanent residency established at least 12 months prior to enrollment 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), etc.

5. Submit your materials via email in one combined PDF file sent to gradrec@grad.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.

Special Considerations

  • You (and your spouse) 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 courses offered through the University session. If you enroll in courses offered through University Without Walls, you will usually pay the same rate regardless of your residency status.

I 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 (after a minimum of 12 months). During my time away from school, I stayed in MA to work.
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 relocated to MA for work, at least 12 months prior to enrolling in my degree program.
Helpful Documents:

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

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

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