2300P Establishing Residency for Tuition & Fee Purposes (Procedures)

Original Date: 9/16/1993 * Last Revision Effective: 12/8/2020
Policy Contact: Associate Vice President, Student Affairs


Bellevue College follows Washington State law on establishing state residency for the purposes of setting the cost of tuition and fees. RCW 28B.15.11 – 28B.15.15 directs the Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) to work with the Office of the Attorney General to determine the regulations that public colleges and universities must follow when determining residency.


Residency Criteria

Bellevue College determines residency at the time students apply for admission. Students who meet the criteria for residency at the time of application pay resident Washington State tuition and fees. Non-resident students pay a higher tuition rate than resident students.

Eligible non-resident students may qualify for residency if and when Washington State becomes their permanent home for at least 12 months, and they possess one of the following:

  • U.S. citizenship, or
  • A permanent resident card, held for at least 12 months, or
  • An A, E, G, H, I, K, or L visa, held for at least 12 months, or
  • Refugee, asylum or pending asylum status (with a U.S. Employment Authorization Card), held for at least 12 months.

Application for Residency

Non-resident students may apply for residency by completing the Washington Institutions of Higher Education Residency Questionnaire and by submitting documents listed on the Washington State Residency Requirements form. Both the questionnaire and the requirements form can be found on the BC Residency webpage.

Specific Group Exemption Process

Members of the following groups are exempt from the residency application process; however, they may need to submit additional documents. Requirements for these groups can be found on the residency webpage.

  • Active duty military personnel and veterans
  • Undocumented and DACA students
  • Members of certain Native American tribes

Waiving the Non-resident Tuition or Operating Fee Differential

According to BC Policy 2400, Tuition and Fee Waivers, the college may waive the non-resident tuition differential or the non-resident operating fee differential (excluding building fees) for non-resident students covered by the following:

  • Higher Education Employee Waiver
  • Refugee Waiver
  • Eligible students taking only online classes
  • Students who have completed the residency application process and have been approved for residency within the next three quarters (limited to U.S. citizens and permanent residents)
  • Eligible students participating in co-curricular activities who are registered for a related and required class for at least one quarter during the regular academic year (fall, winter, spring)

Application Deadlines

  • Non-resident students may apply for residency status up to three quarters in advance of becoming a resident student. The college waives the non-resident operating fee differential for eligible students who have submitted all required documents and have been approved for residency status within the next three quarters.
  • Non-resident students will not be dropped for non-payment of tuition and fees if they apply for residency status by the final admission deadline as indicated on the BC academic calendar.
  • Final deadline: non-resident students must apply for residency status no later than the 30th calendar day of the quarter for which they expect the resident tuition and fees to apply. Students should check the academic calendar for exact dates. By state regulation, the college cannot process applications and documents that are received after the deadline until the next quarter.

Students who apply or submit their documents after the final admission deadline do not qualify for a tuition deferment. However, if they later qualify for residency status the college refunds the difference between non-resident and resident tuition.


The director of enrollment services serves as the chief residency officer for the college and has responsibility for enforcing these procedures.

Relevant Laws and Other Resources

Revision History

Original 9/16/1993
Revisions 3/22/2005; 3/31/2009; 5/21/2009; 4/6/2015; 12/8/20

Approved By

President’s Cabinet

Last Updated December 8, 2020