Financial Independence

Financial Independence

Caution

Financial Independence for purposes of tuition and fees is determined separately and may differ from Financial Independence as determined by the Financial Aid Office based on the FAFSA.

Students and parents are cautioned to read the information on this website regarding the UC Residence Policy which includes a Financial Independence and Self-Sufficiency requirement.

Admissions and Financial Aid definitions of resident also differ. They do not confer residence for purposes of tuition and fees.

Topics covered on this page include: 

  • Students considered Financially Independent,
  • Cases where Financial Independence is not required,
  • Graduate and Professional students,
  • Married students,
  • Formerly resident parents, and
  • Financial Independence and Self-Sufficiency.

Financially Independent Students

Students will be considered “financially independent” if one or more of the following applies:

  1. Age 24: You are at least 24 years of age by December 31 of the calendar year for which you are requesting resident classification
  2. Veterans: You are a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  3. Wards of the Court—Foster Care: You are a ward of the court or both parents are deceased.  A student who resides in California and is 19 years of age or under at the time of enrollment and who is or was a dependent or ward of the state through California’s child welfare system, may be entitled to a resident classification for as long as he or she remains continuously enrolled.
  4. With Dependents: You have children or other legal dependents other than a spouse.
  5. Married and Not Claimed on Taxes: You are married or in a registered domestic partnership and you were not claimed as an income tax deduction by your parents or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which you are requesting resident classification.
  6. Graduate/Professional School Student—Not Claimed on Taxes: You are a graduate student or a professional student and you were not claimed as an income tax deduction by your parents or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which you are requesting resident classification.
  7. Self-Sufficient and Not Claimed on Taxes- Two Full Years: You are a single undergraduate student and you were not claimed as an income tax deduction by your parents or any other individual for the two tax years immediately preceding the term for which you are requesting resident classification, and you can demonstrate your financial independence and self-sufficiency for those years and the current year.

 

Glossary of Terms

For definitions of terms appearing on this page see the glossary.

  • parent
  • veteran
  • foster youth (foster care)
  • child
  • child dependents
  • spouse/Registered Domestic Partners 
  • Residence Determination Date (RDD)

When Financial Independence is Not Required

The financial independence requirement will not be a factor in residence determination if the student meets one of the following criteria:

  1. All Students Age 24: Students turning age 24 during the calendar year they are requesting resident classification will be considered age 24 the entire year from January 1 and not subject to the financial independence requirement.
  2. California Resident Parents: When the student is financially dependent upon a California resident parent who meets the University's requirements for residence for tuition purposes. Students under the age 24 who are financially dependent upon a California resident natural or adoptive parent who meets all of the University requirements for residence for tuition purposes may be classified as a resident.
  3. Graduate/Professional School Student—Employed by UCD: When the student is a graduate or professional school student, employed at the University 49% or more time (or awarded the equivalent in University-administered funds) during the term for which classification as a resident is requested.
  4. Formerly Resident Parents: Financial Independence will not be a factor for a student who reached the age of majority (Age 18) in California while his/her parents were residents of California, and the parents leave the state to establish a residence elsewhere, and the student continues to reside in California after the parents’ departure.

Graduate/Professional School Students

Employment by UC Davis

If you are under 24 years-old, in order to determine if financial independence will be a factor in your residence determination, you may be asked to verify your UC Davis employment dates and salary in the term you claim resident status. Provide a copy of your Admissions Offer Letter, or provide a copy of a Summary of Initial Hire/Rehire (IDOC) from the payroll/personnel officer at your hiring department.

Not Employed by UC Davis—Parent Tax Returns

If you will not be employed by UC Davis, and if you are under 24 years-old, you may be asked to provide copy of your parents’ State and Federal tax returns for the past tax year and the current year; as well as, a signed statement from your parents about whether they plan to claim you as a dependent when they file their returns for the current tax year.

These tax documents are requested in order to comply with the UC Regents Residence Policy. The parent may redact any information on their copy they do not wish to provide. Social Security Numbers must be removed from all documents before submission.

Married/Registered Domestic Partnership

Students under the age 24 who are married or in a registered domestic partnership must show:

  • Evidence of the marriage/RDP and
  • That they were not claimed as an income tax deduction by parents or any other individual for the tax year immediately preceding the term for which a resident classification is requested.

Formerly Resident Parents

Financial Independence will not be a factor for a student who reached the age of majority (Age 18) in California while his/her parents were residents of California, and the parents leave the state to establish a residence elsewhere, and the student continues to reside in California after the parents’ departure.

The following requirements will be verified by a Residence Deputy:

  • The parents must have been residents of California for more than one year (366 days) immediately prior to their departure.
  • The parents must have established a residence elsewhere during the student’s minority and within one year immediately prior to the Residence Determination Date for the term.
  • The student must have remained in California except for short absences.
  • Once enrolled, the student must maintain continuous full-time attendance at a post-secondary institution. If he has enrolled in more than one post-secondary institution, all such attendances must amount to continuous and full-time, and
  • The student must be under age 18 when the parents leave the state.

Self Sufficiency

Caution

Financial Independence for purposes of tuition and fees is determined separately and may differ from Financial Independence as determined by the Financial Aid Office based on the FAFSA.

Unlike Financial Aid determinations, the UC Residence Policy governing residence determinations requires two full years of Self Sufficiency as part of Financial Independence.

Financial Independence and Self Sufficiency

Students Under Age 24: In addition to lawful presence and eligibility, physical presence and evidence of California legal ties for 366 days, the UC Residence policy requires that students who are under 24 years of age, whose parents do not support them or whose parents reside outside of California demonstrate their own financial independence and complete self-sufficiency for the two full years immediately prior to the term California residence is claimed.

Students considering self-support or claiming financial independence from their parents may include:

  • Students leaving the parent's household, or
  • Students seeking admission to UC from outside of California, or
  • High School Graduates beginning attendance at a CSU or a Community College in California in order to transfer to the University of California, or
  • Students considering living with relatives or other adults in California.

Self Sufficiency Required—Under Age 24 and Parents Reside Outside of California

Students who claim not to be dependent upon parents must demonstrate that they have not been claimed as an income tax deduction by any individual other than spouse or domestic partner for the preceding tax year, and that they are financially independent and have been totally self-sufficient for the past two full years and the current year.

Financial Independence and Self Support Determination

When you claim to be financially independent, for purposes of tuition and fees, you may be asked to demonstrate your self sufficiency (complete self-support) for the two full years immediately prior to the term you are claiming a resident status.

Budget Worksheet: Upon reviewing your Statement of Legal Residence after you are admitted, or when you Petition for Classification to Resident as a continuing student, a Residence Deputy at the Office of the University Registrar may require you to present a budget showing how you are able to support yourself with the funds you claim during the two full years immediately prior to the term you claim to be resident and you must be able to document that you have paid rent and all other expenses from your own earnings.

Required Documents: To prove financial independence, you must be able to document that you have been completely self supporting and had no other support for the entire 24 months; including that:

  • You have not been claimed as an income tax dependent by any individual for two tax years immediately preceding the term, and that
  • You have been totally self-sufficient for two full years prior to the Residence Determination Date,
  • You have been supporting yourself, for example, through jobs, financial aid, commercial/institutional loans in your name only, and savings from your earnings.
  • All of your sources of income to demonstrate your self support for the entire 24 month period.
  • Residence Deputies may require evidence that you have paid rent and all other expenses from your own earnings.

What is considered Self Support?

Self support is defined as money you have earned through your own employment or loans obtained on your own credit, without a co-signer. Any support you received from others within the two years immediately prior to the term you are claiming to be a resident may result in a Nonresident classification.  Self Support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Employment earnings—your earnings must be verifiable with copies of W2s.
  • Institutional Loans obtained on your own credit, without a co-signer.
  • Financial aid loans obtained without a co-signer.
  • California-based scholarships and grants can be considered your income.
What is considered Other Support?

Other Support is considered any support received from parents, family members or others during the two full years immediately prior to the term you are claiming resident status. Other Support includes, but is not limited to:

  • Loans or Gifts: Non-institutional loans (personal loans) from parents or others, regardless of the terms: parent-based (PLUS) loans, or other co-signed bank loans made to you with a parent or other adult cosigning, or bank loans made to parents or others who
    turn the funds over to you.
  • Bank Accounts in parents or others names and your name.
  • 529 Plans, unless totally under your control.
  • Military. GI Bill (dependent transfer of credit).

Other Non-Institutional Support:

  • Bartering for a free room and board or other services or necessities.
  • Free room and board provided by a relative or other individual.

Demonstrating Financial Independence

To verify financial independence (self support) you need to prepare copies of:

  • Your state and federal income tax returns for the past two tax years
  • Your parents' returns for at least the past two tax years

You should also prepare documentation of all other sources of income you may have had during the past two tax years and the current year:

  • Copies of current pay stubs.
  • W2 copies for the past two tax years.
  • Copies of financial aid award letters.
  • Copies of promissory notes for loans.
  • Trust, savings, investment account documents that show history, ownership and transaction summaries of each account back to your age 14.
  • Verification of the origins of all cash, electronic and credit card payments made into your campus student account.

Glossary

Child
A natural or adopted son or daughter. The term “child” does not include stepchild unless expressly noted. See: Member of the Military

Child Dependents
All references to child dependents are intended to include natural, adoptive or Foster Youth.

Foster Youth
Foster care; living in a foster home, or with foster parent(s). A student 19 years of age or under who is currently a dependent or ward of the state through California’s child welfare system, or was served by California’s child welfare system and is no longer being served either due to emancipation or aging out of the system. See: Dependent or Ward of State through CA Child Welfare System (Foster Youth)

Parent
The natural or adoptive father or mother or, if both parents are deceased, the legal guardian with whom the minor resides. The term “parent” does not include stepparents or foster parents, unless expressly noted.

Residence Determination Date (RDD)
For purposes of determining residence, the Residence Determination Date (RDD) is the day instruction begins at the last of the University of California campuses to open for the quarter, and for schools on the semester system, the day instruction begins for the semester.

Spouse/Registered Domestic Partners
A wife does not derive residence from her husband, a husband does not derive residence from his wife and one registered domestic partner does not derive residence from the other. Married couples or registered domestic partners who are living together might have separate residences and each might have a different, unshared intent, indicating their separate residences. All references to “spouse” are intended to include California registered domestic partners. Residence Deputies will request verification of the California registered domestice partnership, or similar documents if the student claims similar status to registered domestic partner under the laws of another state.

Veteran
A citizen of the United States who served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces and who received an honorable discharge or was released from active duty under honorable conditions. The person must have served on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for a period of not less than 90 consecutive days or have been discharged from the service due to a service-connected disability within that 90-day period. (From California Military and Veterans Code Section 980(b))