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What you need to know about gaining residency in Missouri

Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 6:00 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Out-of-state students can gain residency after spending a full year in Missouri.

But achieving residency, which cuts tuition costs significantly, is a process. It requires careful attention to the rules and regulations imposed by the university.

  • Resident status. You must stay in the state of Missouri for 12 consecutive months. This includes enrolling in classes both terms (fall and spring semesters) and the entire hot, humid summer.
  • Taxable income. You have to make and document at least $2,000 in taxable income. Meaning, your paycheck has to be legitimate. You can get a job right away, if you wish, but you must work all summer as well. You can wait until summer to earn the required amount, but don't wait too long to start looking or all the good jobs will be taken.
  • Necessary documents. Unfortunately, the university won't believe you if you just tell them you lived here and made money. You need to have proof. In fact, you need more than one form. To prove you've lived in Missouri during the time you are not enrolled in classes, you'll need a lease or other documentation of domicile. You'll also need to provide pay stubs, that annoying two-thirds of a piece of paper you rip off your paycheck every week. In addition, bank statements proving you've spent money in Missouri are recommended. Everything just adds to your credibility. 
  • In-state driver's license. If you're not from Missouri, chances are your driver's license is way cooler than the one here. You're going to have to say goodbye to that one. Before you apply for residency, visit the local DMV on Vandiver Drive to acquire a new license. You will also need to register as a voter in the state of Missouri. This is something you do after you get your license, since you need your license number to register. You can register as a voter in Boone County online.

Tuition savings

The process seems tedious, and a little difficult to understand, but once you figure it out, you can save considerable money on tuition. The breakdown is actually pretty shocking. 

  • MU estimates out-of-state tuition, fees, room and board, and other miscellaneous costs to be $35,464 for the year. 
  • In-state tuition, fees, room and board, and other costs are estimated at $22,296, at least $13,000 less than out-of-state costs.
  • In addition, you'll have the $2,000 you might not have earned if you weren't required to have a job.

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