Domicile :: Northern Virginia Community College

Welcome to the Northern Virginia Community College Website

Accessibility Navigation:



Policy Number: 602

Categorized: Student Services

Responsible Office: Associate VP for Student Services and Enrolment Management

Subject: Policies and Procedures for Determining Eligibility for in-State Tuition

Related Policies: N/A

Forms: Appeal for Reclassification Form 125-022

Additional Information:

Effective Date:

Last Reviewed Date: 08/25/2017

1.0 Scope

This applies to all current and prospective students of Northern Virginia Community College.

2.0 Policy Statement

Students who have been legally domiciled in Virginia for at least one year prior to the first day of classes for a term are eligible to pay tuition at the in-state rate. Domicile means the present, fixed home of an individual who returns following temporary absences and at which he/she intends to stay indefinitely. Domicile is NOT the same thing as residence. A person may have residences in more than one state, but may have only one domicile.

With certain exceptions, students under the age of 24 are rebuttably presumed to have their parents’ or legal guardians’ domicile. All students are initially presumed to be out of state and must establish through clear and convincing evidence that they qualify for in-state tuition. The domicile determination made by one college is not binding on any other college the student may attend.

The following are eligible to establish domicile:

  • All US citizens
  • Permanent Residents (green card holders)
  • Asylees
  • Refugees
  • Individuals under Temporary Protective Status
  • Holders of certain nonimmigrant visas
  • Individuals under Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

In addition, there are special provisions for active duty military, veterans, and their families that allow them to pay in-state tuition without meeting normal domicile requirements.

3.0 Definitions

Domicile: the present, fixed home of an individual who returns following temporary absences and at which he/she intends to stay indefinitely. Domicile is NOT the same thing as residence.

Independent student: A student under 24 who is a veteran or an active duty member of the U.S. Armed Forces; is a graduate school or professional school student; is married; is a ward of the court or was a ward of the court until age 18; has no adoptive or legal guardian when both parents are deceased; has legal dependents other than a spouse; is able to present clear and convincing evidence of financial self-sufficiency; is the US citizen child of ineligible parents; or was approved for DACA at least one year before the first day of classes for the term.

4.0 Procedures

4.1 Initial Determination

A student’s eligibility for in-state tuition at all colleges in the Virginia Community College System, including NOVA, is initially determined by information gathered from the online Application for Admission. The domicile questions include such things as how long the student or parent has lived in Virginia; whether the student or parent has a Virginia driver’s license, car registration, and voter registration; and the student’s or parent’s history of paying Virginia income taxes as required by law. The initial determination is automated and is communicated to students on the confirmation page they receive when they submit the application. Students have a right to challenge the initial determination by filing an appeal.

4.2 Appeal Process for Domicile Determinations

All domicile reclassifications are made beginning with the current term; they are not retroactive. Appeals should be initiated no later than the first day of classes for the term, but it is to the student’s advantage to file an appeal as early as possible.

Filing a domicile appeal does not remove the obligation to pay tuition. If an appeal is granted, a student will receive a refund for the difference between the in-state and out-of-state rates.

4.2.1. Level 1 (informal)

Contact the Registrar at any NOVA campus. The Registrar will discuss your particular situation with you and advise you about any documents you must present in order to establish your eligibility for in-state tuition. Many appeals are settled at Level 1, particularly those that require standard information such as documentation of military affiliation or visa status.

4.2.2. Level 2 (formal)

If your appeal is denied at Level 1 and you believe that you have additional information to present to strengthen you case, you may appeal to the campus Dean of Students within 10 days. You (and your parents, if applicable) must complete the Appeal for Reclassification form (125-022) and include any documentation that you did not present at Level 1.

4.2.3. Level 3 (formal)

If your Level 2 appeal is denied and you have still more information to present or you disagree with the Level 2 determination, you may appeal to the Domicile Appeal Committee. Include all information you presented at Level 1 and Level 2 along with any additional information you want the committee to consider.

4.2.4. External

A student who has exhausted the institutional appeal process and is still dissatisfied may appeal to the Circuit Court in the appropriate jurisdiction.

5.0 Authority

State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Guidelines for Determining Domicile and Eligibility for In-State Tuition Rates

Code of Virginia, § 23.1-510

VCCS Policy 6.1 Student Domicile

VCCS Policy 4.3 Student Charges