As a Washington state public institution, Whatcom Community College is required to comply with all applicable state laws regarding residency classification (references: RCW 28B.15.011 through RCW 28B.15.015 and WAC 250.18).
Students are initially classified as “resident” or “non-resident” based on the residency questions answered on the admissions application.
In general, a student is considered a “resident” for tuition and fee purposes under the following conditions:
- The student is a U.S. citizen, or has permanent or temporary resident status, or holds “Refugee-Parolee” or “Conditional Entrant” status with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, or is otherwise permanently residing in the United States under color of law, or has a qualifying visa (A, E, G, H1, K or L); and
- The student is financially independent for the current calendar year and the calendar year prior to which application is made (if the student is not financially independent, then residency is based on whether one or both parents have met all residency requirements); and
- The student (or, if financially dependent, at least one of the student’s parents) is in Washington primarily for reasons other than educational and has officially established Washington as his or her true, fixed and permanent home and place of habitation for a period of at least one year prior to the start of the quarter of enrollment.
Note: Washington state laws require that new residents of Washington change out-of-state driver’s licenses and out-of-state motor vehicle registrations within 30 days of arrival in this state (references: RCW 46.16.028 and RCW 46.20.021). New residents should also change out-of-state voter registrations.
Students are eligible to change to resident status after they have met Washington state’s residency requirements for students and submitted a residence questionnaire with supporting documentation to the registrar’s office. Residency questionnaires must be completed and submitted prior to the 30th calendar day of the quarter for which the change is being made.
Other conditions which might qualify a student for resident status are:
- Members/dependents of the U.S. military or Washington National Guard; or
- Students who spent 75% of their junior/senior years at a Washington state high school, graduated and immediately enrolled in a Washington state college, and whose parents were residents of Washington during that time; or
- Students who are not U.S. citizens and do not have permanent resident immigration status, but attended a Washington state high school for at least three years and graduated (reference: HB 1079); or
- Members of certain American Indian Tribes (reference RCW 28B.15.0131).
Students who do not qualify for resident tuition under any of the conditions listed above might qualify for a waiver of the non-resident tuition differential (see next section).
The following residency forms are available on the College’s website:
- Residence questionnaire
- Residence checklist/application for non-resident waiver
- Washington higher education residency affidavit
Students can contact the registration office at firstname.lastname@example.org with additional questions.