Colorado Residency Requirements

The tuition classification statutes place the burden of proof on the student to provide clear and convincing evidence of eligibility. Tuition classification is governed by state law (CO Revised Statutes §23-7-101, et. seq.) and by judicial decisions that apply to all public institutions of higher education in Colorado. Fort Lewis College does not have discretion to make exceptions to the rules as established by state law. There is no provision in the state statutes for retroactive compliance. Because Colorado law governs Colorado residency status, the fact that a student might not qualify for in-state status in any other state does not guarantee in-state status in Colorado.

Please refer to the list below for deadlines associated with Petitions for in-state tuition classification, residency forms, and all supporting documents needed/requested for tuition classification. 

  • Summer 2019:  Monday, April 29, 2019
  • Fall 2019: Monday, September 2, 2019
  • Spring 2020: Friday, December 20, 2019

Documentation cannot be considered after the deadline and a new petition will be required for a future term. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Admission:  (970) 247-7184.

“Domicile" is used to describe the place where an individual has demonstrated intent to make a permanent home and legal residence. Both physical presence (see #1 below) and evidence of intent (see #2 below) must be in place to begin the domicile year. Financial emancipation (see #3 below) is an additional requirement applied to students 22 years or younger whose parents do not permanently reside in Colorado.

Colorado residency requires a domicile in Colorado for 12 continuous months on or prior to the first day of classes of each semester.
Since domicile is defined as a permanent home and legal residence, being in Colorado solely for school purposes and/or temporarily for other purposes does not qualify as domicile for Colorado residency.

1. Physical presence is your actual permanent home and legal residence. Proof of physical presence may include all of the following:

  • Lease agreements
  • Rent receipts
  • Home ownership
  • Statement from a landlord

2. Evidence of intent to make Colorado your permanent home and legal residence is demonstrated by giving up all your legal ties with your prior state and establishing them with Colorado for 12 continuous months. Proof that demonstrates evidence of intent, as specified by the residency statute, may include all of the following:

  • Colorado motor vehicle registration
  • Permanent, full-time, off-campus employment
  • Colorado voter registration
  • Change in permanent address on all pertinent records
  • Payment of Colorado state income taxes as a Colorado resident
  • Withholding of Colorado state taxes from wages
  • Ownership of residential property in Colorado

Intent is demonstrated by several kinds of connections with the state dated one year prior to the beginning of classes. There is no formula or checklist to follow in establishing domicile. Generally, physical presence (as shown by rent receipts, leases or statements from landlords, home ownership, etc.) plus one connection with the state will not be sufficient to establish domicile. Several connections are necessary, and the more connections that are made, the greater chance a person has of qualifying for residency. Any connections maintained with any other state during the 12-month period for establishing domicile may be viewed as negative intent to make Colorado one’s permanent home.

3. Financial emancipation applies to minors under 23 years of age who are no longer considered dependents and are not supported by their parents. An emancipated minor can establish domicile on the date of emancipation. Proof of emancipation is documented by submitting a Petition for In-State Tuition Classification to the Office of Admission by the close of business on the first day of classes.

Evidence of legal ties outside of Colorado during the domicile year that demonstrate residency in another state may include the following:

  • Failure to file a Colorado state income tax return
  • Failure to have Colorado state income taxes withheld from your wages
  • Filing a Colorado state income tax return as a non-resident
  • Failure to obtain a Colorado driver’s license or Colorado ID
  • Maintenance of a home in another state
  • Prolonged absence from Colorado
  • Registering the vehicle you operate in another state
  • Residing in another state between academic terms or when not enrolled as a student
  • Any other factor unique to the individual which tends to imply your permanent home and legal residence is in another state

View the classification of students for tuition purposes in Colorado.

Appealing an Out-of-State Residency Classification

Students who have initially been denied eligibility for in-state tuition may use the Petition for In-State Tuition Classification to appeal this decision.

Contact the Office of Admission at 970-247-7184 or for additional information.