Students are classified as in-state or out-of-state for the purpose of paying University fees. The Office of Admissions will make the initial classification at the time a student’s application is processed. The burden of proof for establishing residency resides with the applicant. If a student misrepresents his or her status, he/she shall be responsible for paying the fees he/she would have otherwise been required to pay and will be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal from the University. The Registrar is authorized to change a student’s residence status upon receipt of evidence that the student is improperly classified.
The following state laws and regulations determine residential status for students enrolling at a state supported Institution of Higher Learning:
- No student may be admitted to any Institution of Higher Learning as a resident of Mississippi unless his/her residence has been in the State of Mississippi preceding his/her admission.
- A person who enters the State of Mississippi from another state to enroll in an educational institution is considered a non-resident, even though he/she may have been legally adopted by a resident of Mississippi, may have been a qualified voter or landowner, or may otherwise have sought to establish legal residence.
Legal Residence of a Minor
The residence of a person less than twenty-one (21) years of age is that of the father, the mother, or a general guardian duly appointed by a proper court in Mississippi. If both parents are deceased, the residence of the minor is that of the most recently deceased parent, unless the minor lives with his/her legal guardian, in which case, the student’s residence becomes that of the legal guardian. A student who graduates from a Mississippi secondary school and who has attended a Mississippi high school for no less than four years will not be required to pay out-of-state tuition.
Legal Adoption of a Minor
Even though a resident of Mississippi may legally adopt a minor, the child remains a non-resident if his/her parents live outside the state of Mississippi.
Legal Residence of an Adult
The residence of an adult is that place where he/she actually dwells with the intent of remaining indefinitely or returning to after a temporary absence.
Relocation of Parents from Mississippi
If the parents of a minor who is enrolled as a student in a Mississippi Institution of Higher Learning move their legal residence out-of-state, the minor is immediately classified as a non-resident student.
Twelve Months of Residence Required of Adult Students
In order to be classified as a resident by any Institution of Higher Learning in Mississippi, the adult student must have lived in the state for a period of at least 12 months after becoming 21 years of age and immediately prior to the intended registration period. (See factors regarding residency below.)
Residence Status of a Married Person
A married person may claim the residence of his/her spouse or may claim independent resident status just as any other adult.
Children of Parents who are Employed by Institutions of Higher Learning
When being admitted to that institution where their parents are employed, the children of faculty or staff members may be classified as residents (regardless of the length of time they have previously dwelt in the state). Full-time faculty and staff are also considered residents.
Military Personnel Assigned to an Active Duty Station in Mississippi
When applying to colleges and universities in Mississippi, active duty members of the Armed Forces, stationed within the state, may be classified as residents regardless of the twelve month residency requirement. However, resident status of such military personnel excepted above shall terminate upon their reassignment in the continental U.S, but outside the State of Mississippi.
Children of Military Personnel
The children of military personnel will enjoy the same residential status as their parents. This status permits them to enroll as residents in Mississippi colleges and universities, but that status expires as soon as the parent is stationed outside of Mississippi but elsewhere in the continental U.S. The children of parents stationed overseas are an exception to this rule, retaining residency with the last state to which the parent was assigned, except when the overseas duty is a temporary training assignments en route from Mississippi. The resident status of minor children shall terminate upon reassignment under Permanent Change of Station Orders of their military parents for duty outside of Mississippi, but inside the continental Unites States.
Certification of Residence of Military Personnel
Military personnel on active duty stationed in Mississippi (as well as their dependents) who wish to avail themselves of the above provisions must submit a certificate from their military organization. This certification should contain the name of the military member, the name of the dependent (if applicable), the name and address of the organization to which the soldier is assigned (the latter information may be contained in the letterhead), and a statement that the military member will be on active duty in Mississippi on the date of registration at the state-supported college or university.
All aliens are classified as non-residents except those with permanent resident status, temporary resident status, asylum status, or refugee status who can establish Mississippi residence by meeting the other legal criteria.
Petition for Change of Residency Classification
A person who enters Mississippi from another state in order to enroll in an educational institution is considered a non-resident. However, non-resident students who have lived in Mississippi for at least 12 months following their 21st birthday and who can prove financial independence may petition for a change in residency classification by filing a sworn affidavit. Residency changes are not retroactive, and the institution may make reasonable inquiry into the validity of the petitioner’s claim. In addition, petitions for change of residency must be received prior to the first day of class in that term for which the student requests a new classification.
Factors Regarding Residency
The objective evidence that helps to determine residency status includes the following:
- The actual physical residence;
- The length of habitation in the residence and the use of that address for income tax, loan, banking and other purposes;
- Voter registration;
- Motor vehicle registration (Persons moving into the state on a permanent basis have thirty days to register vehicles with the state of Mississippi.);
- Driver’s license (Persons moving into the state on a permanent basis have sixty days to acquire a Mississippi driver’s license.);
- The State to which personal income taxes or other taxes have been paid;
- The source of income;
- The location of banking and other accounts.
Responsibility for Reporting Change
It is the individual student’s responsibility to report immediately to the Office of Registrar any change that affects his/her residence status.