State Residence

The North Carolina General Assembly has enacted a detailed statutory scheme for determining who does and who does not qualify for in-state tuition.  That statutory scheme is found in Article 14 of Chapter 116 of the North Carolina General Statutes, which mandates that only those who can demonstrate a minimum of twelve months of uninterrupted domicile (legal residence) in North Carolina are eligible for in-state tuition. 

The statute also places on applicants the burden of establishing by a preponderance of evidence that they are bona fide domiciliaries rather than mere residents of North Carolina.

State Residence Classification Manual

Important Information Regarding Residency

Residency Determination System (RDS)

As of February 20, 2017, all high school seniors and any student in the undergraduate population planning to apply to a UNC or community college in North Carolina must request a residency determination from the Residency Determination Service (RDS) in order to determine eligibility for in-state tuition.  RDS uses an “online interview” for residency determination.  Students can access RDS through the student’s CFNC account, through all CFNC admissions applications, through campus admissions applications, or directly through the Residency Determination Service (RDS) site at

Please refer to the RDS site for specific information. The RDS site provides guidance on state law residency requirements, RDS policies, and using the RDS online interview.  The RDS site,, will answer most questions. However, if additional information is needed, call (844) 319-3640 or email