Residency Regulations for Tuition Purposes

This is content from the Catalog 2019–2020 back issue. Please visit the current catalog for current information.

Students who do not qualify as bona fide residents of the State of Hawaiʻi, according to the University of Hawaiʻi rules and regulations in effect at the time they register, must pay the nonresident tuition. An Official determination of residency status will be made prior to enrollment. Applicants may be required to provide documentation to verify residency status. Once classified as a nonresident, a student continues to be so classified during his/her term at the college until he/she can present clear and convincing evidence to the residency officer that proves otherwise.

Some of the more pertinent University regulations follow. For additional information or interpretation, contact the residency officer in the Admissions Office . The complete rules and regulations are available on the right sidebar.

Definition of Hawaiʻi Residency

A student is deemed a resident of the State of Hawaiʻi for tuition purposes if the student (18 or older) or the student (under 18) and his/her parents or legal guardians have:

  1. Demonstrated intent to permanently reside in Hawaiʻi (see below for evidences);
  2. Been physically present in Hawaiʻi for the 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction, and subsequent to the demonstration of intent to make Hawaiʻi his/her legal residency; and
  3. The student, whether adult or minor, has not been claimed as a dependent for tax purposes for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of instruction by his/her parents or legal guardians who are not legal residents of Hawaiʻi.

To demonstrate the intent to make Hawaiʻi your legal residency, the following evidence applies:

  1. Filing Hawaiʻi resident personal income tax return.
  2. Voting/registering to vote in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Other evidence, such as permanent employment and ownership or continuous leasing of a dwelling in Hawaiʻi, may apply, but no single act is sufficient to establish residency in the State of Hawaiʻi.

Other legal factors in making a residency determination include:

  1. The 12 months of continuous residence in Hawaiʻi shall begin on the date upon which the first overt action (see evidences) is taken to make Hawaiʻi the permanent residence. Residence will be lost if it is interrupted during the 12 months immediately preceding the first day of instruction.
  2. Residency in Hawaiʻi and residency in another place cannot be held simultaneously.
  3. Presence in Hawaiʻi primarily to attend an institution of higher learning does not create resident status. A nonresident student enrolled for 6 credits or more during any term within the 12 month period is presumed to be in Hawaiʻi to attend college. Such periods of enrollment cannot be applied toward the physical presence requirement.
  4. The residency of unmarried students who are minors follows that of the parents or legal guardian. Marriage emancipates a minor.
  5. Resident status, once acquired, will be lost by future voluntary action of the resident inconsistent with such status. However, Hawaiʻi residency will not be lost solely because of absence from the State while a member of the United States Armed Forces, while engaged in navigation, or while a student at any institution of learning, provided that Hawaiʻi is claimed and maintained as the person’s legal residence.

Board of Regents Exemptions

Nonresidents may be allowed to pay resident tuition if they qualify as one of the following:

  1. United States military personnel and their authorized dependents during the period such personnel are stationed in Hawaiʻi on active duty.
  2. Members of the Hawaiʻi National Guard and Hawaiʻi-based Reserves.
  3. Full-time employees of the University of Hawaiʻi and their spouses and legal dependents.
  4. East-West Center student grantees pursuing baccalaureate or advanced degrees.
  5. Hawaiians, descendants of the aboriginal peoples that inhabited the Hawaiian Islands and exercised sovereignty in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778.

Citizens of an eligible Pacific Island district, commonwealth, territory, or insular jurisdiction, state, or nation which does not provide public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees may be allowed to pay 150% of the resident tuition.


A student or prospective student who provides incorrect information on any form or document intended for use in determination of residency status for tuition purposes will be subject to the requirements and/or disciplinary measures provided for in the rules and regulations governing residency status.

Appeal Process

Residency decisions may be appealed by contacting the residency officer for information on how to initiate an appeal.