As budget cuts continue to plague the University, it’s more important than ever for graduate students to apply for Residency. Basically, if you want in-state tuition after the first year, you must establish NC residency. This is important because the doctoral stipends only grant out-of-state tuition remission for the first year, and I’m sure master’s students don’t want to be paying the out-of-state tuition rate for two years.

The residency process is one that should be begun as soon as possible. By NC law, only students with 12 months of uninterrupted domicile in North Carolina are eligible for in-state tuition. Essentially, this burden is on you. The timer starts when you’ve established preponderance of evidence of being domiciled in NC at least a year before the start of the upcoming school year.

It is important to note that you cannot be listed as a dependent on your parents’ taxes — if you’re a dependent, you’re automatically disqualified. If you’re 24 or under, the application will basically strong-arm you into providing copies of your parents’ tax returns to prove this.

As the academic year generally starts in mid-late August, we recommend students arrive by early August and begin the process (registering your car here, registering to vote, getting a driver’s license, opening a bank account, having a lease that starts by early August, etc.) as soon as possible so you’ll have just a bit over a year by the application season in the upcoming year (deadline usually in early September of the following year).

There are three main stages to this process:

  1. collecting evidence (as soon as you arrive in NC!)
  2. submitting an application (around 1 year of residency)
  3. appeals (hopefully not, though!)

Review the information in the guides at the bottom and start collecting evidence of residency before the start of class this year (i.e. mid-August):
a. NC Driver’s license
b. Register car in NC
c. Car insurance in NC
d. Chapel Hill and/or Carrboro library card
e. Register to vote in NC (and actually vote in elections!)
f. Officially change your bank account address (and credit cards) to your NC address
g. And anything else that is listed or that would have your address listed (such as a utility bill at your residence).
h. Get involved in the community outside of UNC. Any non-university activity (from kickball to music to dance classes, etc) will look really good on your residency application.

The residency review panel really wants to know: Are you coming to UNC only for school? Or are you making an attempt to become an NC resident and spend tax dollars in NC for years to come? Please contact us (, Melissa Hobgood (, or Tiffany Harris ( if you need individualized counseling, including a review of your statement.

NC Residency Website:
Full Manual:
Registrar’s Residency guide:
The slightly more useful GPSF Residency guide:
Residency Application (enrolled students can look at this now, but you won’t fill it out until the summer after your first year):