Residence Requirements

Each person applying for admission to, or enrolled in, a California Community College is classified for tuition purposes as either a “resident” or “non-resident” of the State of California. The right of a student to attend any public community college in California as a resident requires that he/she:

  1. Be a citizen of the United States, or possess or be an applicant for a permanent-resident, amnesty or other visa status, for a minimum of one year and one day, that does not preclude establishing domicile in the United States and meeting certain requirements.
  2. Be at least 19 years of age, and have lived in California one year and one day prior to the residency determination date: Fall 2024—August 26, 2024; and Spring 2025—January 27, 2025. (Note: A student, who has not been a resident of California for more than one year and who is the dependent child for income tax purposes of a California resident who has been a resident since the above-noted residence determination date, is entitled to resident classification. Contact Admissions & Records to submit documentation).
  3. Have parents or a guardian who have resided in California for one year and one day, if student is younger than 18 years of age.
  4. Present evidence showing the student’s or the student’s parents’ (if under 19) intent to make California their permanent home.
  5. Manifest residency intent if the student is 19 years of age or over by maintaining a home in California continuously for the last two years, unless there is contrary evidence of intent.
  6. Manifest residency intent, if the student is under 19 years of age, by both the student and student's parents maintaining a home in California continuously for the last two years, unless there is contrary evidence of intent.

If manifest intent cannot be shown within #5 and #6 above, then the student is required to provide evidence of intent to make California his or her permanent home. Objective manifestations of this intent include, but are not limited to:

  1. Payment of California state income tax as a resident.
  2. Registering to vote and voting in California.
  3. Licensing from California for professional practice.
  4. Showing California as the home address on a federal income tax form.
  5. Ownership of residential property or continuous occupancy of rented or leased property in California.
  6. Possessing California motor vehicle license plates.
  7. Possessing a California driver’s license or ID.
  8. Maintaining a permanent military address or home of record in California while in the armed services.
  9. Establishing and maintaining active California bank accounts.
  10. Being the petitioner for a divorce in California.

Military personnel on active duty in California, their spouses and dependent children qualify as immediate residents. (Required documentation must be submitted to Admissions & Records) Other exemptions to tuition for military personnel may be available pursuant to Veterans Access Choice and Accountability (VACA). Contact Admissions & Records for information.

Students on visas will be evaluated for residency based on the type of visa, visa issue date and expiration date, length of stay in California and intent to maintain California as their permanent home.

A student who cannot qualify as a resident of California must pay non-resident tuition, as stipulated by the Board of Trustees of the Santa Barbara Community College District.

Exemption from non-resident tuition is available to certain non-resident students who attended a combination of California high school, adult school and California Community College for the equivalent of three years or more and graduated from a California high school or attained the equivalent prior to the start of term (per AB 540 statute). Contact Admissions & Records for information and an exemption request form or visit the Forms website

Education Code section 68075.6 grants an immediate nonresident tuition fee exemption to eligible Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders and refugee students who settled in California upon entering the United States. This exemption is granted for one year from the date the student settled in California upon entering the United States.

This exemption applies to the following:

  • Iraqi citizens or nationals (and their spouses and children) who were employed by or on behalf of the United States Government in Iraq (Pub.L. No. 110-181, § 1244)
  • Afghan and Iraqi translators (and their spouses and children) who worked directly with the United States Armed Forces (Pub.L. No. 109-163, § 1059)
  • Afghanistan nationals who were employed by or on behalf of the U.S. government or in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan (Pub.L. No. 111-8, § 602)
  • Refugee students admitted to the United States under Section 1157 of Title 8 of the United States Code

Further exemptions may be found here.

Non-resident students do not automatically become residents by being in California for one year. A student seeking reclassification from non-resident to resident status must complete and file a residency reclassification packet that includes a statement of financial independence. Student must provide evidence of intent to establish permanent California residency prior to the start of the semester in which the student is seeking reclassification. Deadline enforced.

The burden of proof is on the student to clearly demonstrate physical presence in California, intent to establish California residency and, in the case of students changing from non-resident to resident, financial independence from non-resident parents. The Admissions & Records Office shall determine residency of all applicants. Appeals of residency decisions shall be determined by the Chief Student Services Officer or designee.

Students enrolling in coursework through the School of Extended Learning are required to live in the state of California.