Frequently Asked Questions

For additional FAQs regarding Legal Residency, please see visit South Carolina Commission for Higher Education's website

Does owning property in South Carolina allow students to receive in-state tuition?

For independent students, not by itself; the other requirements still have to be met. For parents of dependent students, SC has to be the primary state of residence. The property taxes they pay go into the local treasury; we are supported by the State Treasury.

Can personal loans and gifts from parents and relatives be counted as support that students have provided?

No. That is considered money coming from elsewhere, and doesn't count toward making them independent. Their support has to come from the sources listed in the requirements.

Are parent (PLUS) loans considered financial support contributed by students?

No. Those loans are applied for and awarded to the parents, that they have to pay back, so it's their money that they give to the students.

If I have lived in SC for one year or more, does that make me eligible for in-state tuition?

No, nothing is automatic about residency. Students have to meet the requirements, submit their applications, and be approved before any changes are made.

If I move here and live with relatives, does that make me eligible?

Not unless they have been made your legal guardians through the court, before age eighteen. Be aware that the law says that if it appears that steps have been taken just to obtain resident tuition, the application will be disapproved.

Am I eligible for residency if I use a SC address on all my records and legal documents?

You still have to meet the other requirements. For admission, other things are as important, such as where transcripts are from, and addresses of both parents.

Are pre-paid tuition plans considered financial support provided by the parents or the students?

Even though they're in the students' names, since the parents put the money in and they get the tax break, it's considered from the parents.

Can I use the money I've saved in my savings and checking accounts to establish my independence?

No, because we don't know where the money came from. It has to come from the sources listed in the requirements.

What's the difference in applying for residency as dependent or independent?

If your parents provided more of your support than you did for the last twelve months, then you're still dependent upon them. If you provided more, then you may be eligible to apply as independent.

Am I required to provide 51% of my total financial support, or 51% of my total expenses?

Total support, and the support has to be more than the total expenses.

Can I use my 529 or investment account to establish financial independence?

No.  Education plans or investment accounts are not funded by the student, therefore the student cannot claim the funds in the account or funds used toward financial independence.

If I have a business license am I exempt from the 12 month requirement?

No.  The regulations state that applicants must be reporting to an employer physically located in South Carolina.  Having a business license without meeting the full time work week definition ( “Full time employment” is defined as employment that consists of at least thirty seven and one half hours a week on a single job in a full time status, with gross earnings of at least minimum wage. However, a person who works less than thirty seven and one half hours a week but receives or is entitled to receive full time employee benefits shall be considered to be employed full time if such status is verified by the employer) does not solely meet the full time employment requirement.

If I have a full-time job do I still have to meet the other requirements or does my full-time job override them?

No, the full-time job does not override any of the other requirements.  A South Carolina license, vehicle registration, residence and proof of financial independence (if you are applying as an independent person) are still required.  Having a full-time position means that you are eligible to apply for in-state residency before having all of the above mentioned items for 12 months.  Please note that you will be required to maintain the full-time position until your license, registration and residence reach 12 months.

If I have student loans do I automatically meet financial independence?

No.  You will still be required to demonstrate your ability to pay for your other expenses.

If my parents purchase a home in South Carolina and put it in my name or add my name does that mean I get residency?

No.  If your parents purchase a home and add your name to the deed or put the home in your name you will be required to prove how you paid for the home out of your own earnings.  You will also be required to prove how you pay for the mortgage and all housing expenses. 

How can I submit my applicaiton for Legal Residency?

Applications can be mailed to Legal Residency Office, 66 George Street Charleston, SC 29424; faxed to 843.953.3906 or emailed using Secure Share.