Residency Classification

It is the intent of Middle Tennessee State University that uniform criteria shall apply in determining whether students shall be classified in-state or out-of-state for tuition and fee purposes and for admission purposes. The Residency Classification Policy provides the criteria that is utilized in making classification determinations.  This page primarily addresses residency classification and programs for undergraduate, domestic students only

For more information, please contact the following:

  • Undergraduate, Domestic Students: MT One Stop at 615-898-2111 or mtonestop@mtsu.edu
  • International Students: International Admissions, 615-898-2116 or international@mtsu.edu
  • Graduate Students: College of Graduate Studies, 615-898-2840 or askgrad@mtsu.edu
  • Veterans: Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center, 615-904-8347 or KUC 124. 

Click Here to Jump to Frequently Asked Questions for Undergraduate, Domestic Students


In-State vs. Out-of-State Classification

Students and applicants with a domicile in Tennessee are classified as in-state for tuition and fee purposes and for admission purposes. Domicile is a person's true, fixed, and permanent home and place of habitation; it is the place where he/she intends to remain, and to which he/she expects to return when he/she leaves MTSU without intending to establish a new domicile elsewhere.  Students and applicants not having domicile in Tennessee shall be classified out-of-state.  However, there may be avenues for students to seek in-state classification, in-state tuition rates, or reduced tuition rates.  The primary factors in determining in-state classification for fee-paying purposes are (1) intent and (2) domicile. For common questions about residency classification see our FAQ section at the bottom of the page.


Applying for In-State Classification

Undergraduate, domestic students classified as out-of-state by Undergraduate Admissions may apply for in-state classification if they meet a scenario that would qualify them. Please note that students are required to submit an in-state classification application and appropriate documentation for the scenario that applies. Your application will be reviewed to determine two things: we need to know why you moved to Tennessee (intent) and whether or not you have established a permanent residence in Tennessee (domicile). Your application must pass both the intent and the domicile review in order for you to be classified in-state. The Tennessee Eligibility Verification for Entitlement Act (EVEA) requires an applicant for in-state classification to be a citizen of the United States or an alien lawfully present.

Students meeting one of the scenarios below may contact the MT One Stop for questions and information on what documentation to submit. Possible scenarios that could allow a student to apply for in-state classification:

  • Moved to Tennessee and lived in the state for one (1) year without enrolling in any other postsecondary institution OR lived in the state and worked full-time (32 hours per week or more) for eight (8) months prior to enrollment
  • Married a Tennessee resident OR be the spouse of a Tennessee resident who has moved to the state for reasons other than education
  • Purchased a home in Tennessee (student must be listed as an owner of the home AND be domiciled in Tennessee)
  • Claimed as a dependent of a Tennessee resident
    • If dependent of divorced/separated parents, at least one parent must be domiciled in Tennessee
  • Full-time job transfer from home state to Tennessee with the same company
  • Participated in the Part-Time/Full-Time program and completed two consecutive semesters (see below)

Please note that students cannot be claimed as a dependent of an out-of-state parent for tax purposes if seeking in-state classification unless parents are divorced/separated and one parent is domiciled in Tennessee.

Completed application packets for undergraduate, domestic students can be submitted to the MT One Stop either in person during business hours, online through our dropbox, or by fax at (615) 904-8423. Please do not email items if they contain PII (Personally Identifiable Information). You may redact Social Security Numbers and income information from the tax returns.  We will typically process applications within 2 business days if complete and submitted before the deadline on the application (August 1 for fall, December 1 for spring, May 1 for summer). 


Part-Time/Full-Time Program

Students who do not meet any of the listed requirements above may participate in the Part-Time/Full-Time program to gain in-state classification status. This program allows students to receive an out-of-state fee waiver by working full-time (32 hours or more per week, off campus) and taking part-time classes (11 or fewer credit hours a semester) for at least two consecutive semesters. Once a student completes at least two consecutive semesters of the Part-Time/Full-Time program, they are eligible for permanent in-state classification provided they submit all required documentation, live off campus, and are not claimed as a dependent for tax purposes by anyone out of state. 

To apply for the program, fill out the application at the link below and attach to it a letter from your employer.  This letter should be on company letterhead, be physically signed by the employer, and indicate the number of hours you work per week on average.  Also make sure they include your start date and intent to keep you working full-time during the semester.  Before your second semester of the program begins you will submit a new letter to the MT One Stop confirming your continued full-time employment.  Failure to do so means you will be charged out-of-state tuition for the following semester. 

Send the completed application and first semester employment letter to the MT One Stop at mtonestop@mtsu.edu, submit it online through our dropbox, or bring it by the office during regular business hours.  We will typically process application within 2 business days if complete and submitted before the deadline on the application (August 1 for fall, December 1 for spring, May 1 for summer). If approved your tuition will be adjusted to the in-state rate provided you are in 11 hours or less for the semester. After two consecutive semesters you are eligible to apply for permanent in-state classification by submitting the in-state application, your Tennessee driver's license, a lease for an off-campus dwelling in Tennessee, and your most recent tax return showing no one claimed you as a dependent.


Academic Common Market

The Academic Common Market (ACM) is a tuition savings program which allows residents of participating states to qualify for in-state tuition for unique academic majors not offered in their home state. The ACM is coordinated by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB). Students may qualify for in-state tuition at MTSU if they are enrolled in an academic major not offered in their home state.


Regional Scholars Program

The MTSU Regional Scholars Program allows select non-Tennessee resident students seeking an undergraduate degree who live within approximately 250 miles OR in a contiguous state and meet specific academic requirements to attend MTSU at a greatly reduced rate, as well as qualify for the Freshman Academic Merit Scholarships. The recently approved expansion of the program, beginning Fall 2019, will also include new and returning students living anywhere within the eight states bordering Tennessee (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Virginia).  Students who qualify will receive a reduced tuition rate equal to approximately 48% off the standard out-of-state rate. 


Veterans

A veteran, or any individual entitled to the veteran’s education benefits, enrolled at MTSU may not be required to pay out-of-state tuition if classified as out-of-state.  Below is a list of ways in which active duty military, veterans, and military connected students do not have to pay out-of-state tuition.  Note: The VA does not cover out-of-state tuition rates in most situations. 

  • Box 19A on your DD214 is a Tennessee address
  • Using VA Benefits, attending MTSU, and living in Tennessee
  • Military orders to Tennessee
  • Military orders out of Tennessee but still maintaining Tennessee residency
  • Joining the Tennessee National Guard
  • Dependent of a Tennessee resident who is active duty military
  • Dependent of an active duty military member with orders to Tennessee

Please contact the Veterans and Military Family Center at 615-904-8347 or visit our website https://www.mtsu.edu/military/index.php for more information on the requirements.


Frequently Asked Questions

See below for common questions about residency for undergraduate, domestic students, including what basic documentation is required for in-state classification applications. PLEASE NOTE: The MT One Stop may ask for additional documentation when you apply for in-state classification as needed. 

What do you need to know about my intent, and why is it important?

MTSU Board of Trustees Policy 501 states that a person cannot qualify for in-state fees if he or she came to Tennessee for the primary purpose of attending college. For example, if you moved to Tennessee and immediately enrolled at MTSU, another university, college, or community college as a full-time student, you are presumed to have moved to Tennessee for the primary purpose of attending college and you will not be eligible for in-state fees. The presumption is that a student cannot acquire domicile in this state while enrolled as a full-time student.

How can I qualify to pay in-state fees at MTSU?

In general, you must be able to prove that you live in the state of Tennessee year-round and intend to make it your home for the foreseeable future, regardless of your academic status. You must be able to prove both your intent and domicile by completing our Undergraduate Application for In-State Classification for Fee-Paying Purposes and by providing the appropriate documentation. Our trained in-state classification officers will review your application and render a decision based on the information you have provided.

What if I was classified as an in-state student at another institution in Tennessee?

If you were classified as an in-state student at another institution in Tennessee, you will be required to submit documentation of how you obtained in-state classification at the other institution. This does not guarantee you will be granted in-state classification at Middle Tennessee State University, it depends on if the reason for your in-state status at the other school aligns with MTSU's policy.  Students who received in-state classification through a border agreement at a Tennessee community college can receive in-state classification at MTSU if the student graduated from the community college prior to enrolling at MTSU.

What if I am an international student?

First, you must establish intent to live permanently in the state of Tennessee. In other words, you must prove that you did not come to Tennessee for the primary purpose of attending college. Therefore, students in the United States on temporary visas, including F-1 and H-3 visas, will not be able to meet the standard of proving Tennessee domicile since they are not legally permitted to make the United States, or Tennessee, their permanent home. Undocumented aliens cannot establish domicile in Tennessee regardless of their length of stay in the state. Please contact the Office of International Affairs for residency questions if you are an international student.

I am classified as an out-of-state student, but I want to enroll in classes now. Can I be changed to in-state after I have lived here for a year if I take classes?

No, unless you meet the criteria for becoming an in-state student by other means (purchasing a home, marrying a TN resident, etc.), you will stay classified as out-of-state if you are continuously enrolled.  

I just moved to Tennessee from another state and obtained my Tennessee driver's license, can I be classified as in-state?

Not unless you have lived in the state for one (1) year without enrolling in any other postsecondary institution OR lived in the state and worked full-time (32 hours per week or more) for eight (8) months prior to enrollment. 

I am a dependent of a Tennessee resident, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If you are a dependent of a Tennessee resident, classified as out-of-state, and applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license of the person claiming you as a dependent
3) Most recent tax return of person claiming you as a dependent in the state

Note: If you are the dependent of divorced/separated parents with one parent living in the state, but the out-of-state parent claims you on their taxes, we will need a copy of your birth certificate listing both parents as well.

I am married to a Tennessee resident, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If you are a married to a Tennessee resident, classified as out-of-state, and applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license of the student and spouse
3) Copy of marriage certificate

I have lived in the state of Tennessee for one year without enrolling in a postsecondary institution, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If you have lived in the state for one year prior to enrolling and are applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license (if Tennessee driver's license is less than 1 year old, please provide a copy of your lease indicating dates of occupancy)
3) Most recent tax return showing no one out-of-state claimed you as a dependent

I have lived in the state of Tennessee for eight months while working full-time without enrolling in a postsecondary institution, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If you have lived in the state for eight months while working full-time (32 hours or more per week) prior to enrolling and are applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license 
3) Letter from employer on their letterhead verifying start date and full-time employment (must specifically state hours worked and be over 32 hours/week on average)
4) Most recent tax return showing no one out-of-state claimed you as a dependent

Note: If you are working multiple jobs that add up to 32 hours or more per week, please provide a letter from each employer indicating the hours worked per week to show they add up to full-time employment.

My full-time job has transferred me to Tennessee, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If your full-time employer has transferred you to Tennessee and you are applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license 
3) Letter from employer on their letterhead verifying start date, full-time employment, and transfer
4) Most recent tax return showing no one out-of-state claimed you as a dependent

I have purchased a home in the state of Tennessee, what do I need to provide when applying for in-state classification?

If you have purchased a home in the state and are applying for in-state classification, you will need to provide the following items at minimum:

1) In-state application
2) Tennessee driver's license
3) Most recent tax return showing no one out-of-state claimed you as a dependent
4) Property deed, mortgage statement, property tax statement, or closing papers (no utility bills will be accepted)

Note: The student must at least be a co-owner of the property and domiciled in the state. Land purchases are not acceptable, there must be a permanent dwelling on the premises (house, condo, mobile home).

What if I do not qualify for any of the scenarios to receive in-state classification?

You may want to consider our full-time/part-time program to reduce your tuition costs. Students who work a full-time job (or a combination of part-time jobs totaling 32 hours or more a week) and are registered for 11 credit hours or less a semester qualify for this two-semester tuition-reduction program. After completing the application and submitting signed letters from each employer on letterhead documenting start date, hours worked per week, and the likelihood the job will continue throughout the semester, students enrolled in this program will receive in-state rates for at least two consecutive semesters. At the end of the two semesters, the student is then eligible to apply for permanent in-state classification. The same rules and regulations apply to students who have completed the full-time/part-time program as for in-state classification.  

What if I am a graduate student seeking in-state classification?

Graduate students should contact the College of Graduate Studies for options regarding residency.  While both graduate students and undergraduate students fall under the same university policy, the College of Graduate Studies processes in-state applications for their students.  You can contact them at askgrad@mtsu.edu or 615-898-2840. 

What if I am a United States veteran or currently on active duty with the armed forces? 

Contact the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Family Center at 615-904-8347 or visit them in the KUC room 124 for additional options that may be afforded to those who have served or are serving in the United States military.  

I have my application and all of my documents, now what?

Undergraduate, domestic students can bring your completed application and all documents to the MT One Stop in the Student Services and Admissions Center during our open hours.  You can also upload the packet to the MT One Stop Dropbox or fax it to us at 615-904-8423.  Feel free to redact your SSN and income information from your tax returns.  Never email information with Personally Identifiable Information (PII). 


We will process the application typically within 2 business days provided it is submitted by the deadline on the application. After the deadline processing times are not guaranteed.

 

 Questions? Contact the MT One Stop at mtonestop@mtsu.edu for assistance.

Contact MT One Stop:

Email: MTOneStop@mtsu.edu 

Phone: (615) 898-2111

Fax: (615) 904-8423

Dropbox: Click Here