I'm trying to pull together my in-state residency petition before my fall bill is due after finding out suddenly that my residency was listed as out-of-state while I was on scholarship. The petition requires providing proof of all your expenses, all financial accounts you have, any family gift money, and proof of in-state car registration and housing contracts. It seems so extensive after I've lived in-state for two years, have an in-state license, paid in-state taxes for two years, and planned on staying in-state that I feel extremely uncomfortable about it. This level of information isn't even required for a government security clearance and a private sector employer would never be allowed to ask for this. Isn't there some kind of basic privacy law around a person's financial transactions?

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    And this really belongs on law.SE.
    – RonJohn
    Aug 13, 2021 at 13:21
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    A government security clearance doesn't care which state you live in. If it did, it would certainly ask for similar guarantees of residence.
    – chepner
    Aug 13, 2021 at 14:21
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    The analogy with your employer is flawed: they are paying you regardless of where you live. Here, the university wants proof that you deserve the in-state discount (which is in some sense funded by the state taxes paid by your or your parents).
    – chepner
    Aug 13, 2021 at 14:22
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    Burger King isn't giving you a huge discount. You've been paying lower tuition, and for some reason the school does not believe you were entitled to do so. Nothing in your question actually mentions your transaction history, only that you have an in-state bank account (which helps establish that you do, in fact, live in-state, not out of state). You may not even need an in-state bank account, if the other information is enough to satisfy the school that you do live in-state.
    – chepner
    Aug 13, 2021 at 14:41
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    Everything about this question involves proving your in-state residence. Yes, it could be a clerical error, but either you haven't tried to correct that or the university requires proof that the correction is to be made. Your title is the only thing that mentions transaction histories, and your question specifically mentions the university asking for what bank accounts you do have (presumably, having an in-state bank account would lend considerable weight to your claim that you are not an out-of-state resident).
    – chepner
    Aug 13, 2021 at 15:01

2 Answers 2


To get the lower in-state rates you need to prove residence in that state. The reason why the state requires this level of proof, is that the state government sends the difference between out-of-state tuition and in-state tuition. That difference can be be thousands of dollars per year.

Most students/parents run into this either during the college application process or between the acceptance letter and when the student sends in their deposit. Others run into this issue when their circumstance changes while they are in school.

The things they are asking for is not a list generated by the school, ir is the list generated by Department of Education in that state.

If you always lived in the state, that is easy to prove. If you moved to the state since starting college, then you have to demonstrate you have switched to this state. They do this the same way they determine tax residence.

Paying state income taxes, registering your car, getting a drivers license, and registering to vote are all good signs you are committed to this state.


Apart from your discomfort in providing the information, you need to consider that you may be determined to be 'out-of-state' even after providing the information.

As several commenters have explained, 'fair' has nothing to do with it. The state legislature makes the rules on residency for college.

For example, here are the (complicated, harsh) rules for California:

Regarding privacy, you could make copies of sensitive documents while covering/blacking out your account numbers and ID numbers. Then submit the copies, if allowed to do so.

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