Paying for College

In-State Tuition for Returning Michigan Resident?

Question: My daughter is 24 yrs old. We have lived in Michigan for 15 yrs and she graduated from high school in Michigan.

She moved to California to stay with her grandparents to get her associates degree and now is moving back here and wants to get her 4 yr degree at Michigan State. How long will she have to be back in Michigan to get in as a resident? We can not afford out of state cost.

Because your daughter graduated from a Michigan high school and because she moved to California to attend college and because her parents are STILL in Michigan, she may be able to get in-state tuition right away.

In situations like this, decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. Did your daughter establish official residency in California? For instance, did she give up her Michigan driver's license and get a CA one instead? Did she finish school there and stay on to work? If she answers “Yes" to either one of these, it's not a deal-breaker, but if she DIDN'T, it can help her to make a claim that she never officially left Michigan.

But the fact that she graduated from a Michigan high school is a biggie. Also, up until the age of 24, a student is generally presumed to be a resident in the same state as her parents, even if she technically resides elsewhere. So if your daughter just turned 24, she is really on the border between being considered a dependent and not. If you have declared her on your taxes or helped to support her in CA up until now, this documentation will be an asset when she claims Michigan residency.

Thus, your daughter should contact MSU to see where she stands. The info is below if you need it. (Note also that, in Michigan, residency determination is made by the individual institutions, so even if MSU says that your daughter must live in Michigan for a full year before she can be considered a resident again, other public universities may rule differently.)

I think that your daughter's odds of being viewed as a Michigan resident for tuition purposes (without a 12-month waiting period) are very good. But she must confirm with the university. See the Web site below for details.

Contact info for MSU:

Associate Registrar for Registration Services Michigan State University

150 Administration Building East Lansing, MI 48824-0210

Tel: (517) 353-4490 Fax: (517) 432-3347



Good luck!