Skip to main content


All new out-of state students must begin to establish residency when they arrive in North Carolina.

We know the process for establishing NC state residency is a bit tedious and time-consuming, but it is extremely important for you to begin this process ASAP. The Graduate School works with the department, the DGP, the Grad Office and your advisors to provide GSSP funds but the Residency Determination Service (RDS) alone decides your in-state status. The RDS is the centralized service for determining residency for state aid programs at all public and private North Carolina colleges and universities.

Further, the Graduate School has explicitly included in the terms and conditions contracts (i.e. TA and RA contracts)  a rule on residency and tuition support. It states “Upon admission to NC State, out-of-state students who are eligible to convert their residency status to in-state, … are expected to begin the process of completing residentiary acts. Additionally, students in this group are expected to complete a residency reclassification application prior to the posted deadline for their one year anniversary academic term. Detailed information regarding residency is available at Failure of eligible students to begin residentiary acts and submit an application will jeopardize their eligibility for continuing their tuition remission support.” Tuition remission is the difference between the cost of out-of-state tuition and in-state tuition.

Fellowship contracts include a clause that is similar because GSSP also pays the tuition and health insurance for those students. Even if you’re on a fellowship at this time, you may be appointed as an RA or TA the following year.

Start doing the following if you haven’t done so already to establish residency:

  1. Obtain a North Carolina Driver’s License
  2. Register your car in NC and obtain NC license plates
  3. Register to vote in North Carolina (can be done when obtaining Driver’s License, at a local bank, at the post office, etc.)
  4. List personal property for which you pay property taxes in NC
  5. Open a savings and a checking account at a local bank or credit union
  6. If possible, convert membership in professional associations, service or civic groups, churches, etc. to local chapters of these groups.
  7. Keep track of proof of jury duty, tax forms filed that include the time you lived and worked in NC, where you live while not in NC, and what your parents still help you with. This last item may require that your parents provide additional information, such as their tax records.
  8. Rental/lease agreement

When you begin working on your application, you’ll not only complete the application, but also include proof of the aforementioned residentiary acts (the online application system will tell you what you need when you submit it). Applicants to NC State typically have their initial tuition residency status determined based on responses they provide as part of their admissions application. The written statement you have to provide is also crucial. Please see the Graduate School’s site and the RDS site for guidance. It takes 12 months to obtain and accomplish all of the recommended steps to be considered for NC State residency. So start as soon as you arrive in North Carolina.