Paying for College

Can a Gap Year in NY Give me In-State Student Status?

Question: I just finished my sophomore year in Florida. I want to move to New York and take a gap year so I can save money and then apply to a college there as an in-state student. How do I apply?

“The Dean” is assuming that:


a) you're under 21

b) your parents don't live in New York

My response is predicated on those assumptions, so if I'm wrong about either, please let me know.

If you are under 21 and your parents don't live in New York, in order to qualify for in-state tuition at New York public institutions, you would have to:

1. Prove that you have been fully emancipated from your parents for at least a year (i.e., they do not claim you as a dependent on their taxes, and you cover all your school and living expenses. You would need proof that you have done this ... pay stubs, receipts, canceled checks, etc.) You would also be responsible for your own tuition and fees at your NY college.

2. Prove that you have established permanent residency in New York for one year or more. Again, you would have to show that you are supporting yourself in New York and also that you have purchased property or are paying rent, that you have switched your driver's license, credit cards, bank accounts, voter registration etc. to your NY address and no longer maintain an address in Florida or elsewhere. You would also have to file your own income taxes using your NY address.

Most students in your situation cannot prove independence from their parents. However, if you think that you may qualify for emancipated status, you can read more about NY residency requirements here: http://www.suny.edu/sunypp/documents.cfm?doc_id=402

As you can imagine, most states are eager to welcome new residents ... but not if they suspect that the main motive behind the move is to pay less to go to school. So getting in-state status in a new state is a lot harder than many folks expect. A Yankees decal on your car window or your own Big Apple MetroCard won't quite do the trick! ;)

(posted 2/13/2012)