Residency For Tuition Purposes

Residency Overview

Washington residency law is codified in RCW 28B.15 and further explained in WAC 250-18. A student's eligibility for resident classification often depends on how their circumstance corresponds with Washington law at the time of admission for their current enrollment.

The Admissions Office determines your residency classification at time of admission. Your residency classification generally will remain the same throughout your continued enrollment at Western and determines the tuition and fee rate each academic term.

If you wish to have your residency classification re-evaluated, you must complete the Residency Questionnaire and submit it with the indicated documentation to the Registrar's Office in person, by mail, or by email.  Email is the preferred method of submission at this time.

Filing Timeline

Students are strongly encouraged to submit petitions at least 3-4 weeks in advance of the academic term for which they are requesting reclassification and no later than the first week of classes. Under Washington law, any petition received more than 30 days after the first day of classes in a given term is by default considered for the following term (WAC 250-18-025). Petitions submitted before the filing deadline for a given quarter but with missing/incomplete documentation must be fully completed prior to the end date for the quarter (last day of Finals) in order to still apply for that term.

Petitions may be approved up to 60 days prior to when the residency/domicile requirement is met if other documentation is supportive of resident classification. Petitions filed more than 60 days before the residency/domicile requirement is complete may be put on hold or may require resubmission at a later date.


2022-2023 Residency Filing Deadlines
Term Recommended Final
Fall 2022     before August 24, 2022   no longer accepted (Oct. 21)
Winter 2023     October-November 2022   no longer accepted (Feb. 3)
Spring 2023     February-March 2023   April 28, 2023
Summer 2023      May-June 2023   July 21, 2023

Filing a petition before the recommended period often results in a significant processing delay, as current-term residency reviews are given first priority.

Petitions for Fall 2023 can be filed after a student is accepted to Western and if all residency requirements are already complete.

Please contact our office with any questions.


Top Four Residency Questions

In most cases, no.

Washington law views terms (quarters) of enrollment in more than six credits at any Washington institution to be primarily for educational purposes. Such terms usually do not count toward the 12 months of continuous primary residency or domicile required for an individual to become eligible for resident tuition. This is true regardless of other actions like registering to vote or changing state ID/driver's license.

A dependent with a Washington-domiciled parent/legal guardian is often eligible for resident classification. The parent/guardian must have been domiciled for a full 12 months. The student does not have to be claimed by the Washington parent.


Active duty military members and veterans often are eligible for resident tuition rates. Their dependents, children, and/or spouses may be eligible, as well, though some limitations based on age, duration of service, and/or date of separation may apply.

Read the FAQ linked below, then reach out to our office.

Residency Petition Process

The Admissions Office and Graduate School does the initial determination of residency.

What are the required documents?

  • Read thoroughly the Residency Questionnaire. In most cases, we expect to see a state-issued driver's license or ID and some confirmation of WA-located physical living accommodations. Other documentation, including confirmation of employment/income, recent tax filings, vehicle registration(s), voter registration, or other items indicative of residency, may be required depending on the type of residency for which you may qualify.

Whose information would be required to prove Washington State domicile or primary residency?

  • Petitioning as financially dependent with WA-resident parent/guardian: It will be the information and documentation from the WA-domiciled parent(s) or legal guardian(s).
  • Petitioning as financially independent with Washington domicile: The student’s information and documentation will be required.
  • Petitioning based on maintaining 12-month primary WA residence for reasons other than postsecondary education: The student's information and documentation will be required.                            

Will I be disqualified, if I do not have one of the required documents?

  • Complete the application to your best ability. Residency is rarely dependent on one single item. It is demonstrated by a combination of items that make it clear that domicile/residency is tied to WA rather than any other state and was maintained for reasons other than primarily postsecondary education.

Electronic submission of materials in PDF format is preferred.

Residency classifications are not given retroactively for prior academic terms. Evaluating residency classification may take up to 30 business days after the start of the quarter to complete.

All tuition and fee deadlines remain in effect during the evaluation process. Do not delay tuition and fee payment just because a residency classification evaluation is in progress. During the residency evaluation process, you may be asked to provide additional documentation. All requests are sent to student’s WWU email.

Active-duty, Veterans or a Dependent/Spouse of Military Personnel

Active duty service members, veterans, and their dependents and spouses are often eligible for resident tuition rates while attending Western.

Your eligibility for military-related residency must be documented before you can be classified as a resident. Students are responsible for notifying the university if they believe they are eligible for reclassification as a resident by filing a petition with the Veteran Services Office.

For more information on veteran status concerning Washington State Residency, please visit Veterans Services. 

Filing deadlines for military/veteran residency are the same as for all other residency petitions.

Reciprocity and Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)

Western does not have residency reciprocity agreements with neighboring states. 

Western is a participant in the Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE) program. This program provides funding to off-set the non-resident cost for qualifying students. WUE recipients still remain classified as non-residents for tuition purposes, but the scholarship reduces the non-resident tuition cost significantly (to about 150% of the resident rate).

WUE is available only to students from certain Western states, territories, or participating nations. Western's WUE program is our most prestigious non-resident scholarship and is highly competitive. Not every student from a WUE-eligible state will receive a WUE waiver.

Other programs to reduce costs for select out-of-state students are available at WWU and are open to students from all states.

More information on WUE and other WWU scholarship programs for first-year, out-of-state students can be found on the Admissions website.

Who Should I Contact About Residency?