Office of the University Registrar

Glossary of Residency Terms

There are many terms that are associated with applying for residency to be assessed in-state tuition rates at the University of Washington. If after reviewing the following glossary of terms, you still have questions on their meaning, please email the Residency Team at

Bona Fide Domicile
An individual’s true home and intended permanent living space, in which the individual has established valid legal ties.
Break Enrollment
An absence of more than one quarter (excluding summer quarter).
Calendar Year
January 1 through December 31 of a specific year.
Dependent Funds
Funds or financial assistance either provided by, or due to a relationship with, someone other than their spouse or registered domestic partner.
Domicile-eligible Immigration Status
An immigration or visa status that allows an individual to establish domicile in the United States.
EAD – Employment Authorization Document
A document demonstrating that an individual is authorized to work in the United States. An individual’s EAD code can impact whether they are eligible to establish domicile in the United States.
Educational Presumption
Presumption by law that an individual has moved to Washington state for education purposes, rather than with intent of establishing bona fide domicile.
Financial Assistance
Financial support provided to an individual from someone other than their spouse or state registered domestic partner. Examples include, providing funds to an individual that were not earned as income from employment, directly paying an individual’s rent or tuition, gifting property, providing housing at a significantly reduced rate, etc. When evaluating whether a student has received significant financial support, the Residence Classification Office considers the amount of support received and the student’s living expenses (tuition and housing) in a calendar year and may use 49% of those expenses as a benchmark for dependence.
First Admitted Quarter
A student’s first term at an institution at a specific level (e.g., undergraduate, graduate, professional).
Independent Funds
Funds or financial resources that can be documented as being an independent resource earned or made available to an individual, or their spouse or state registered domestic partner of at least one year.
Legal Ties
Legal credentials or relationships that an individual establishes or holds with a state or country, that may be indicative of domicile. Examples: Voter Registration, Vehicle Registration, and Driver’s License.
A student who either does not meet, or has not sufficiently proved that they meet, the residency requirements for Washington state. If a student is classified as a non-resident then they will be charged the non-resident tuition rate.
A process by which an individual verifies that they witnessed a document be signed, and authenticates the identity of the signee of a document.
Notary Public
An individual who is authorized to officially notarize a document.
Permanent Resident
An individual who has been authorized to live and work permanently in the United States. Individuals with this status will have a permanent resident card (also known as a green card).
Physical Presence
Being physically present in a location.
Primary Residence
A living space and a mailing address that is an individual’s predominant residence.
RCW – Revised Code of Washington State
The RCW contains the laws as passed by the Washington State Legislature.
Reciprocity Exchange Program
An agreement between two (or more) states, or academic programs, to offer resident tuition rates, or a tuition reduction, to residents of these states.
Edits that revise, remove, censor, or obscure information.
A student who has been determined to meet the residency requirement for Washington state. If a student is classified as a resident then they are eligible to pay the resident tuition rate.
Significant Financial Assistance
See Financial Assistance
A partner in marriage.
State Registered Domestic Partnership
A partnership that has met the specific requirements outlined by a state, and that has officially been registered with a state.
Statutory Deadline
A deadline established by state or federal statute.
An account created by a grantor that holds funds or resources for a beneficiary or beneficiaries, and that may have guidelines or restrictions regarding how the assets in the trust may be used.
Tuition Reduction
A reduction to a student’s tuition by way of waiver. Tuition reductions do not grant bona fide Washington residency; however, they do reduce the amount of the non-resident portion of tuition.
WAC – Washington Administrative Code
The WAC sections that pertain to residency for tuition purposes are written and managed by the Washington Student Achievement Council and help to expand upon and clarify what is written in the RCW.