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A short guide to obtaining residency for out-of-state students

Thursday, July 24, 2014 | 6:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:44 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 24, 2014
To petition for Missouri residency, you'll need to obtain a permanent Missouri driver's license, along with meeting other requirements. The Columbia License Office is at 403 Vandiver Drive, Suite B.

COLUMBIA — Obtaining residency can save you money — a lot of money.

Consider this: the approximate cost of tuition during the entire 2013-14 school year at MU for an in-state, undergraduate student taking 14 credit hours per semester was $9,430; the approximate cost of tuition for an out-of-state, undergraduate student taking the same course load was $22,822.

Why such a large gap in tuition rates?

Nonresident fees.

During the 2013-14 school year, the nonresident fee for an out-of-state, undergraduate student was approximately $478.30 per credit hour.

And, yes, that's in addition to tuition.

An out-of-state, undergraduate student taking 14 credit hours per semester would have paid more than $13,000 in nonresident fees during 2013-14.

Now imagine that over the course of four years of college or more. That's a lot of money.

Nonresident fees were even higher for out-of-state graduate and law students during the 2013-14 school year. They paid approximately $541.40 and $560.30 per credit hour, respectively.

Obtain Missouri residency as soon as you are eligible. It will save you thousands of dollars over the course of your academic career.

So how does one obtain residency?

According to MU's Guide to Establishing Missouri Residency, "You must document that you have resided in Missouri for the 12 immediate, past consecutive months prior to the semester you are seeking in-state residency."

If you are seeking in-state residency for the fall semester, you must prove that you resided in Missouri from August of one year to the August of the next year over a period of 12 immediate, past consecutive months; the spring semester is January to January and summer is June to June, according to MU's Guide to Establishing Missouri Residency.

Here is a list of required documentation that you will need to petition for Missouri residency:

  • A lease or sublease that includes your name and demonstrates that you lived in Missouri throughout the 12 immediate, past consecutive months, especially during the summer.
  • Bank records for the summer. These records need to display at least 2 to 3 transactions per week in the state of Missouri from May through August.
  • Official payroll records and pay stubs that verify you earned at least $2,000 of taxable earned income in Missouri over the 12 immediate, past consecutive months. You are required to work during the entire summer if you are not enrolled in a class. Also keep in mind that including travel days, you are only allowed 14 days of vacation outside of the state during the summer. Your bank records will show if you violate this requirement.
  • You need to obtain a permanent Missouri driver's license and make a copy. The Columbia License Office is located at 403 Vandiver Drive, Suite B.
  • You need to register to vote and make a copy of your Missouri voter's registration verification. To register to vote, fill out a voter registration application form and submit it to the Boone County Clerk's Office.
  • If you were under 21 during any point of the 12 immediate, past consecutive months, submit a copy of page 1 from your parent's federal 1040 income tax form for the preceding year and prove that you were not claimed as a dependent. If you were 21 or older for the entire 12 immediate, past consecutive months, submit copies of page 1 from your federal and Missouri 1040 income tax forms for the preceding year. You are encouraged to mark out all Social Security numbers found on these forms.
  • If you are the sole owner of your vehicle, make a copy of your Missouri vehicle registration.

Once you have all the required documentation, fill out a Petition for Missouri Resident Status form and Residency Processing Fee Authorization form, and meet with a residency officer.

The Residency Department is located inside the Registrar's Office in room 202 of Ellis Library.

Some last bits of information: MU Registrar Brenda Selman revealed four exceptions to the 12 immediate, past consecutive months rule. The following types of students may automatically qualify for Missouri residency.

  • "If a married couple moves to Missouri with the intention that one is going to go to MU full-time as a student, the other spouse must secure a full-time benefits-eligible job within Missouri, and submit the documentation required to the Residency Department," Selman said.
  • A student whose parents move to Missouri for full-time employment, professional practice, to conduct a business or to permanently retire, she said.
  • A student, spouse or dependent child of a full-time MU employee, Selman said.
  • A student, spouse or dependent child of any military personnel on active duty who has been transferred to Missouri under military orders, she said.

The MU Office of Student Financial Aid also contains information for nonresident scholarships, some of which might carry 100 percent nonresident tuition waivers.

For eligible students, Graduate Research Assistantships and Graduate Teaching Assistantships might carry 100 percent nonresident tuition waivers as well.

Check with your specific program, the Residency Department or Office of Student Financial Aid for more details.


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