To be considered in-state (in-district or out-of-district) for admissions and tuition, status is granted to those students who have demonstrated over a period of time that their permanent residence is Montana, a state which they have supported through the payment of appropriate taxes.
To be considered, a student must meet the requirements listed below to qualify for in-state status.
There are five types of residency:
- In-state (general definition)
- In-state, in-district
- In-state, out-of-district
- Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
FVCC classifies in-state students as those who are either in-district (Flathead or Lincoln County residents) or out-of-district (Montana residents outside of Flathead or Lincoln County).
How to Determine In-State Residency
To be considered to have in-state residency (in-district or out-of-district) for admissions and tuition, a student must be physically present in Montana for twelve or more consecutive months without an absence in excess of a total of thirty days. One must demonstrate by appropriate actions during the twelve month period the intent to make Montana one’s permanent home.
Specific actions to become a Montana resident include:
- A Montana driver’s license or Montana State ID.
- A student cannot apply for in-state residency with a current driver’s license from another state.
- If a person owns a motor vehicle in Montana, he or she must license the vehicle in Montana within the required legal time limit.
- Montana voter registration
- An individual must register to vote in Montana if she or he expects to exercise the right to vote.
- Purchase of a principal residence where a Montana title is obtained.
- Filing of a resident Montana income tax return.
During the 12-month period of establishing Montana residency, a student must remain enrolled in seven or fewer credits/semester.
In State, In-District Residency
In addition to the in-state Montana residency requirements in-district students must also fulfill one of the following criteria to be considered in-district for tuition purposes:
- Live in the college district of Flathead or Lincoln Country for one continuous year; or
- Dependents whose parents have a permanent residence in the college district for one continuous year; or
- Own, reside, and pay taxes on real property located within the college district; or
- Dependents whose parents own, reside, and pay taxes on real property located within the college district.
In-State, Out-of-District Residency
In-State, Out-of-District students are those who are Montana residents and are able to complete the proof of Montana residency requirements listed above (under In-State Residency) but reside outside of Flathead or Lincoln Counties.
Out-of-state students are individuals who are not Montana residents nor dependents of Montana residents, or are real property taxpayers in Montana but not Montana residents.
Western Undergraduate Exchange (WUE)
Out-of-state students living in specific western states may also qualify for the Western Undergraduate Exchange.
The Western Undergraduate Exchange or WUE, as it is known, is a program through which students can attend participating institutions in other states for reduced tuition. Instead of paying full out-of-state tuition, a WUE participant pays the regular in-state tuition plus 50 percent of that amount. The participating states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Special Circumstances and Exemptions
A minor or unemancipated person may be considered a resident if:
- The student normally resides with a parent who is a resident of Montana,
- If the parent who takes the student as an exemption for federal income tax purposes, or supplies the majority of their financial support (51%), is a Montana resident.
Members of the armed forces stationed in Montana on regular active duty, their spouse, and dependent children will be classified as residents during the tour of duty. This does not include service in the Montana National Guard and/or Reserve Units unless full-time, active duty status can be proven.
A person living in Montana who is employed in a permanent, full-time job, his/her spouse, and dependent children are considered residents of Montana without fulfilling the 12-month period, if demonstrated proof can be provided that the primary purpose for the move to Montana was not education, and that all legal ties have been changed to Montana, i.e. driver’s licenses, vehicle and voter registrations, etc. This exemption to the 12-month period is based upon a permanent, full time job offer and acceptance of that offer prior to the individual’s move to Montana, or the submission of any application for admissions materials to a college or university in the state.
Any graduate of a Montana high school accredited by the Board of Public Education who is a citizen of the U.S. or a Permanent Resident Alien, who registers as any unit (college) of the Montana University System no later than the fall fourth term following the student’s high school graduation shall be eligible for in-state fee status for six years from the date of initial registration or until the achievement of a baccalaureate degree, whichever occurs first, provided that the individual attended the Montana high school for the entire senior year.
It is presumed that an individual who was formerly eligible for in-state fee status who has been absent from Montana for a period of 12 months or more, has abandoned in-state status. This presumption does not apply to individuals who can demonstrate that Montana residence was maintained during the absence, and no actions were taken in contradiction of the claim of Montana residence. Examples of such evidence would be: maintaining legal ties with Montana, i.e. driver’s license, voter registration/voting absentee ballot, vehicle registration, and the filing of full-year resident Montana income tax returns on all income earned. This presumption of non-residence does not apply to individuals who left the state solely for educational purposes or for military service, provided the individual did nothing to contradict Montana resident status.
Students can request a change in residency status with the Residency Change Request Form and may obtain more information from the Admission and Registration Office in the Learning Resource Center – LRC 129, or call 406.756.3848.
Although closely aligned with the Montana University Systems (MUS) residency policy, FVCC residency policy is separate from the Montana University System. Any student establishing Montana residency with the intent to transfer to another Montana university or college should contact the transfer institution for their residency requirements.
Request a Change in Residency
For tuition and fee purposes, a student requesting a change in residency status is required to abide by the following process and submit the required form and documentation by the 15th class day of the semester in which the student requests the change in residency:
- Remain in part-time status (seven or fewer credits per semester) for the first year when seeking in-state residency. Residency cannot be established while taking eight or more credits a semester.
- Current out-of-district students (Montana residents) seeking Flathead in-district residency may take more than seven credits.
- Submit the following required documentation after one year’s residency in Montana:
Residency Change Request Form
Submit required form and documentation to the admissions and registration office:
Flathead Valley Community College
Admissions & Registration Office – LRC 129
777 Grandview Drive
Kalispell, MT 59901
The residency committee will review all requests within ten business days of receipt. Students will be notified via email and phone of the decision. Any appeals to the residency decision will be reviewed by the FVCC administration.
If you have additional questions or need assistance please contact the admission & registration office in the Learning Resource Center Building, Room 129, call (406) 756-3846, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.