Residency Information

New students contact Admissions, Graduate School, or Law School.  Registrar's Office is responsible for residency classification of previously enrolled and currently enrolled students.

3/20/2020 from Montana's Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education:

Normally, an absence of more than 30 days from Montana would give rise to a presumption of non-residency under the Board of Regents residency policy 940.1. However, absences that are directly related to the COVID-19 epidemic or result directly from campus actions taken to protect health and safety should generally not count against the 12-month residency period. It is extremely important that students understand they cannot establish residency ties to another state during this period. This includes but is not limited to obtaining a driver’s license, registering to vote, or registering a vehicle in another state. Students must carefully document all significant residency actions and dates, and the reason for any COVID-19 extended absence from Montana.

Be certain to secure the Board of Regents Residency Policy and questionnaire from the Board of Regents website.

It is beneficial for the student to print off the Residency Pre-Screening Form to ensure proper documentation is submitted with the residency questionnaire.  Click on the following links to obtain a PDF of the Residency Pre-Screening Form and Residency Questionnaire.

Requests for residency reclassification changes will be accepted no earlier than the 11th month of the 12 month waiting period. Example: you registered to vote on July 29, 2011; you can submit your request on or after June 29, 2012. 

The Deadline to submit materials for review is always the first Friday of classes for that term.

Applications submitted with all required documentation will be reviewed first.  Incomplete applications will be delayed.  Please view Pre-screening form for the required application materials .

Please plan accordingly.

The Montana University System classifies all students as either in-state or out-of-state. This classification affects admissions decisions and fee determinations. The basic rules for making the classification are found in the Board of Regents' Policy. It is each student's responsibility to secure and review a copy of the policy. Failure to be aware of the rules will not be a cause for granting any exceptions to them. A copy of the policy is available from the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office. It is important to bear in mind that each residency determination is based on the unique set of facts found in each individual's case. Students participating in the Western Undergraduate Exchange or the National Student Exchange programs are not eligible to gain residency. If you have questions concerning your particular case, be sure to contact the unit to which you are applying for admission or at which you are already enrolled. Generally, the Admissions Office or the Registrar's Office will be able to assist you.

With certain exceptions, in order to be eligible for in-state status, a person must meet a 12-month durational residency test. You will have to demonstrate a bona fide intent to become a Montana resident. The 12-month period does not start until some act indicative of an intent to establish residency is taken. Mere presence in Montana or enrollment at a unit will not serve to start this period. Sufficient acts to start the period are registration to vote, obtaining a Montana driver's license, registration of a motor vehicle in Montana, purchase of home in Montana, or filing of a resident Montana tax return. An Affidavit of Intent to Establish Residency may be filed with the Registrar's Office.  The 12-months must be completed by the 15th instructional day to qualify for that term.

Your actions during the 12 month waiting period will be used to determine whether you are in the state as a bona fide resident or merely for educational purposes. The decision on your residency will not generally depend on just one factor. The following are some of the things you need to do during the course of twelve months that will support a claim of bona fide residency:

A. Register to vote if you are a voter

B. License a vehicle if you operate one in Montana

C. Obtain a driver's license if you drive

D. Be physically present in Montana, not out of state, for more than a total of 30 days

E. Not be claimed as a tax exemption by residents of another state

F. Provide at least 51% of your own financial support (this means you will need to document to us that you have contributed approximately $6000 towards your support during the twelve month waiting period

G. File a Montana resident income tax return (this is important for all who claim residency in Montana, regardless of the amount of earnings)

H. Do not register for more than seven (7) credits per semester (including summer school) during the twelve month waiting period.  Registering for more than 7 credits creates a strong presumption that you are in the state for educational purposes and may disqualify you from achieving in-state status.

I. Do not accept any benefits that require you to be a resident of another state, including non-resident scholarships like WUE, TARA, etc.

At the end of your twelve month waiting period you must complete the residency questionnaire and attach copies of your supporting documents to the Registrar’s Office for review.  Please use the pre-screening checklist as a guide.  

This documentation can be submitted to the Registrar's Office up to 30 days in advance of the petitioner’s start date and no later than the 15th instructional day of the semester for which the status is sought. When a student petitions or meets the requirements after the 15th instructional day, a change in classification, if granted, will not be retroactive and will become effective for the next term.

Reclassification is not automatic and will not occur unless the individual so petitions. It is the students responsibility to meet any filing deadlines or requirements that are imposed by the appropriate unit of the Montana University System. The appeal process is given in the Regents' policy.

For more information, please contact Dawn Barnhart at (406) 243-2939.

If a student is denied in-state classification upon admission or reclassification to in-state status by the Registrar’s Office, the student may appeal the decision to the Residency Classification Committee.  The decision of this committee constitutes the final campus decision, and further appeals shall be referred to the Commissioner of Higher Education.

To appeal the Registrar’s Office’s decision, the student must submit a letter addressed to the Residency Classification Committee within 14 calendar days of the Registrar’s Office’s written decision.  An appeal may be accompanied by any additional written materials the student wishes to submit that are relevant to the classification decision.  The appeal letter and any additional materials should be submitted to Dawn Barnhart in the Registrar’s Office who will transmit the entire residency packet to the committee for consideration

To appeal a decision of the Residency Classification Committee, the student must submit a letter addressed to the Commissioner of Higher Education within 14 calendar days of the committee’s decision.  An appeal may be accompanied by any additional written materials the student wishes to submit that are relevant to the classification decision.  These materials should be submitted to Dawn Barnhart in the Registrar’s Office who will transmit the entire packet to the Commissioner’s office in Helena. 

Further appeal procedures are outlined in Section II. C. of the Regents’ policy 940.1.