Washington State

House of Representatives

Office of Program Research



Higher Education Committee



HB 1079

Brief Description: Expanding the definition of resident student for higher education purposes.


Sponsors: Representatives Kenney, Cox, Fromhold, Jarrett, McIntire, Chandler, Miloscia, Quall, Sullivan, Veloria, Chase, Hunt, Pettigrew, Darneille, Conway, Cody, DeBolt, Delvin, Hudgins, Lantz, McDermott, Haigh, Kagi and Mastin.

Brief Summary of Bill

    Expands the definition of "resident student" for purposes of tuition at public colleges and universities.

Hearing Date: 2/5/03

Staff: Sydney Forrester (786-7120).


State law provides uniform standards for determining whether a student will be charged resident tuition or nonresident tuition at the state's public colleges and universities. The Higher Education Coordinating Board has responsibility for adopting rules for the institutions to use when making these determinations. Factors used to determine a student's eligibility for in-state tuition include:


    Whether the student is financially dependent or independent;

    The permanent home state of the student or his/her parent(s);

    Where the student attended and/or graduated from high school;

    The military status of the student, his/her spouse, or his/her parent(s);

    Whether the student is a member of a federally-recognized Indian tribe; and

    Whether the student is attending under a tuition agreement with another state.

Some Washington high school graduates who lack documentation of official United States residency status currently are charged nonresident tuition regardless of the length of time they have lived in the state. These students are not eligible for federal financial aid or loans. The difference between undergraduate resident and nonresident tuition rates per academic year varies from $5,200 at the state's community and technical colleges, to $7,700 at Washington State University, to $10,700 at the University of Washington.

Summary of Bill:

The definition of "resident student" is expanded by creating an additional set of criteria by which a Washington high school graduate can qualify for in-state tuition. A student will qualify as a resident student for tuition purposes if he/she:


    Attended at least three years of high school in Washington;

    Graduated from a Washington high school or obtained the equivalent of a diploma in Washington; and

    If the student is not a United States' citizen, he/she is required to submit an affidavit to the college or university stating he/she has applied, or will apply, for permanent United States residency.

Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Available.

Effective Date: Ninety days after adjournment of session in which bill is passed.