DETERMINING RESIDENCY IN MISSISSIPPI
FOR TUITION PURPOSES
Students who apply from an out-of-state address will be categorized as out-of–state for tuition purposes. Further, transcripts submitted from institutions not based in Mississippi may also result in the student being categorized as out-of-state. This can include home school agencies based outside of Mississippi.
Students, who are determined to be out-of-state based on the above criteria, can provide documentation to the Registrar to prove Mississippi residency. For information regarding how to prove residency please call Rick Hamilton or Tara Dupree at 601-477-4144.
Below are the rules for determining residency based on Mississippi law:
General Rule for Adults
The residence of an adult is the domicile, i.e., the place where the person physically resides with the intention of remaining or returning to if temporarily absent. MCA 37-103-13
General Rule for Persons Under 21
The residence of a person under 21 is that of the father, mother or general guardian (guardian appointed by a Miss. court). However, if custody has been granted to one parent, then the residency is that of the custodial parent. If both parents are deceased, residency is that of the last surviving parent unless the person under 21 lives with a general guardian (guardian appointed by a Miss. court). MCA 37-103-7 eff. July 1, 2005. If both parents move out of Mississippi, a minor is immediately classified as a nonresident. MCA 37-103-11.
When Residency is Established
A student may not be admitted as a resident unless residency is in Mississippi prior to admission. MCA 37-103-3. A person entering the state to enter an educational institution is considered a nonresident and remains a nonresident even if adopted by a Mississippi resident or registers to vote or owns land. MCA 37-103-5. See exception in MCA 37-103-25(2) which provides that if a nonresident (1) was born in Mississippi but relocated outside Mississippi as a minor in their father or mother's care, (2) is a veteran of the Armed Forces, and (3) is domiciled in Mississippi no later than six months after separation from service for the purpose of enrolling in a CC/IHL, then such person shall pay resident tuition and fees
Special Rule of Mississippi High School Graduates
A student residing in Mississippi, who, upon registration presents a transcript reflecting graduation from a Mississippi secondary school and has been a secondary school student in Mississippi for not less than the final four years, shall not be required to pay out of state tuition. MCA 37-103-7.
Special Rule for Married Persons. A married person may claim the residency of their spouse or independent status under MCA 37-103-15. MCA 37-103-13.
Special Rule for Children of Faculty and Staff. Children of parents who are members of the faculty or staff of a CC/IHL may be considered a resident for the purpose of attending that institution. MCA 37-103-9.
Special MPACT Rule. An MPACT beneficiary is considered a resident. MCA 37-155-5(d)(iii); MS AG Op., Patterson (Oct. 11, 1996).
Special Military Provisions
Active Duty in Mississippi and Mississippi National Guard
Members of the Armed Forces on extended active duty in Mississippi and members of the Mississippi National Guard may be classified as residents. Resident status of those not residents of Mississippi per MCA 37-103-13 shall terminate upon reassignment for duty in the continental U. S. outside Mississippi. MCA 37-103-17. See MCA 37-103-21 for proof requirements.
Status of Spouse and Children of Military Personnel on Extended Active Duty
Resident status of a spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces on extended active duty shall be that of the military spouse or parent during the time that the spouse or parent is stationed in Mississippi. Resident status continues if the military spouse or parent is reassigned from Mississippi to an overseas area (excepting training assignments en route from Mississippi). Resident status of a minor child terminates upon reassignment of the military parent for duty in the continental U. S. outside Mississippi. However, children who attain residency under this section and who begin and complete their senior year in high school in Mississippi and who enroll full-time in a CC/IHL for the fall after their graduation from high school maintain status as long as they remain enrolled in good standing (summer school is not required). MCA 37-103-19(1).
Spouse or Child of a Member of the Armed Forces Who Dies or Is Killed
A spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces who dies or is killed is entitled to pay resident tuition if the spouse or child becomes a resident of Mississippi within 180 days of the date of death. MCA 37-103-19(2).
Spouse or Child of a Member of the Armed Forces Stationed Outside Mississippi
If a spouse or child of a member of the Armed Forces stationed outside Mississippi establishes residency in Mississippi and registers with a CC/IHL, the CC/IHL will permit the spouse or child to pay resident fees and tuition regardless of the length of time that the spouse or child has resided in Mississippi. MCA 37-103-19(3).
Effect of Continuous Enrollment
If a member of the Armed Forces or their spouse or child is entitled to pay resident tuition and fees under MCA 37-101-19 while enrolled in a degree or certificate program, they may continue to pay resident tuition and fees in subsequent terms while continuously enrolled in the same degree or certificate program. (Student may withdraw or not enroll for one semester with medical documentation without losing status and no summer term is required. In addition, student's status remains unchanged even if they are no longer a member of the Armed Forces or the child or spouse of a member of the Armed Forces). MCA 37-101-19(4).
Section 37-103-23 states that all aliens are classified as nonresidents. However, this section was declared unconstitutional in Jagnadan v. Giles, 379 F. Supp. 1178 (N.D. Miss. 1974), affirmed in part on other grounds 538 F.2d 1166 (5th Cir. 1976). No statutory provision addressing aliens and residency for tuition purposes is currently in effect. Accordingly, aliens should be treated in the same manner as other persons attempting to prove resident status for the purpose of determining tuition and fees charged by CC/IHL's.
Immigrants Distinguished from Nonimmigrants
Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, Aliens are classified as (1) "immigrants", i.e., persons seeking to be permanent residents, and (2) "nonimmigrants", i.e. persons seeking admission to the U. S. for a limited time, usually for a limited purpose.
Immigrants, Permanent Residents or "Green Card" Holder
Generally speaking, most persons having immigrant or permanent resident status ("green card" holders) have the ability to establish a domicile in Mississippi and to qualify as Mississippi residents.
Nonimmigrant Visa Holders
Most persons holding nonimmigrant visas, including F-1 student visas, will not be able to demonstrate the requirements for a Mississippi domicile because their visas are temporary in nature and U. S. approval of their visas may have required a determination that the persons intended to return to their country of origin after the purpose of their visas is concluded. This being the case, the person's domicile would remain in their county of origin. In addition, Section 37-103-5 provides that a person entering Mississippi to attend an educational institution is and remains a nonresident for tuition purposes. See 3 above. However, there may be instances in which nonimmigrants can establish residency in Mississippi due to special provisions or special circumstances. For example, in Toll v. Moreno, 458 U. S. 1, 102 S. Ct. 2977, 73 L.Ed. 2d 563 (1982), the United States Supreme Court concluded that, while Congress precluded many aliens in nonimmigrant categories from establishing domicile in the United States, it allowed G-4 aliens to establish domicile in the U. S. (See note below for nonimmigrant visa categories).¹
Any student willfully presenting false evidence of residency is deemed guilty of a misdemeanor. MCA 37-103-27. Law is not to be construed as requiring the admission of nonresidents. MCA 37-103-29.