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Term Definition

New York State Residency

Education Law (Section 661-5) requires a student to be a legal resident of the state of New York in order to be eligible for Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), and most other state scholarships and other awards. A New York court decision defined “residence” as the equivalent of “domicile” as it is used in the statute.

"Proper construction of the term "resident" depends on the particular subject matter in which it is used, and where this section proscribes "residence" as qualification for privilege or enjoyment of benefit, word is equivalent to 'domicile'." 

Guidelines and Principles

  1. Attendance at an educational institution, albeit a continuous and long-term experience, is interpreted as temporary residence; therefore, a student neither gains nor loses residence status solely by such attendance.
  2. Students attending a New York college or university may perform many objective acts, some of which are required by law (i.e. payment of taxes), and all of which are customarily done by some nonresidents who do not intend to remain in New York after graduation, but are situationally necessary and/or convenient (i.e. registering to vote, obtaining a driver’s license). Such acts and/or declarations alone are not sufficient evidence of the establishment of legal and permanent residence or domicile.
  3. A nonresident student attending a New York college or university on more than a half-time basis is presumed to be in the state primarily for educational purposes.
  4. An individual is not deemed to have acquired status as a resident of New York until he or she has been in the state for at least a year primarily as a permanent resident (except as noted in E.) and not merely as a student.
  5. Unless residency has been established in another state, a student who resided in New York at the time of graduation from an New York high school and has resided in the state with a parent or legal guardian for the two semester prior to graduation from high school will be eligible for grants and scholarships or financial aid provided by the state.
  6. All married persons shall be treated as equal under this policy. Each spouse in a family shall establish his or her own residence status on a separate basis. Exception: when a nonresident marries an already established resident of New York, the nonresident may be considered a resident after documentation of the marriage and proof of domicile(12 months in NY) are satisfied.
  7. The burden of proof of establishing New York residence or domicile, including providing any supporting documentation, shall be upon the applicant. Each case will be judged by HESC, based upon a review of documentation and consistent with legal definitions. No definitive set of criteria can be established as sufficient to guarantee classification as a resident of New York.
  8. Initial classification as a nonresident student shall not prejudice the right of a person to be reclassified thereafter for following semesters or terms of enrollment as an New York resident provided that he or she can establish proof of residence in accordance with criteria and procedures as set forth in this policy.

Independent Students
If a person who is independent of parental domicile can provide adequate and satisfactory proof having established domicile in New York, unrelated to college attendance, that person may be granted resident status for financial aid purposes at the next enrollment occurring after expiration of 12 months following the establishment of domicile in New York.

Dependent Students
The legal residence of a dependent person is that of the student’s parents, or the legal residence of the parent who has legal custody or the parent with whom the student habitually resides. If the student is under the care of those other than the parents, the legal residence is that of the student’s court sanctioned legal guardian.

Eligible Non-Citizens
An individual who is not a U.S. national may become eligible for classification as an New York resident provided that the individual holds lawful permanent residence status as defined by U.S. Department of Education Title IV, evidenced by whatever documents may be required under applicable federal law, who has resided in New York for at least 12 consecutive months, and who meets other applicable criteria for establishment of domicile as set forth in this policy.

See also...

Residency (TAP Manual, Chapter 3, Section 3.01(b))

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