Students walking by Sprague Library and Life Hall on a summer day.

Residency Requirements

Residency Requirements for In-State Tuition

Frequently Asked Questions

What regulations are used by Montclair State University to establish residency for in-state charges?

Montclair State University (MSU) determines state residency for tuition purposes according to New Jersey Administrative Code 9A:5-1.1-1.2, which requires that a student must be legally domiciled in the state of New Jersey for at least twelve (12) months immediately prior to enrollment in order to be charged in-state tuition. All those domiciled outside of the state are charged out-of-state tuition.

What does “Domicile” mean?

Domicile means: The place where a person has his/her true, fixed, permanent home and principal living establishment, and to which, whenever he/she is absent, he/she has the intention of returning.

Is financial aid awarded based on being a New Jersey resident?

Some financial aid has state eligibility requirements, including a determination of residency. A determination of state residency is made by the Admissions Office once a student is admitted to attend Montclair State University. The New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (NJHESAA) may require certain documents to establish proof of residency. These same documents may also be required by the Office of Student Accounts and/or the Admissions Office to establish proof of residency.

I am an international student; can I qualify for in-state status?

International students are not eligible to pay in-state tuition unless they receive Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status (a green card) and comply with the definition of “domicile” as described above. Any other international student in nonimmigrant status (F-1, J-1, H-4, etc.) will be classified as a nonresident for the purpose of assessment of tuition unless the student has been otherwise notified by the Office of International Engagement. 

Is there a deadline to submit an appeal or affidavit to amend residency?

Students admitted as non-residents who have been enrolled at MSU for a minimum of 12 months may request a change in residency status by completing an affidavit or appeal and providing all necessary documentation to the Office of Student Accounts by the end of the add/drop deadline as published on the University’s academic calendar. If approved for NJ Residency, the in-state tuition rate will apply to the current and/or future term.  Retroactive assessments are not performed.

What does it mean to be a matriculated student?

A matriculated student has been accepted for admission to the University and is pursuing courses toward a degree or certificate. Students must maintain good academic standing to keep their matriculated status.

How does the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, P.L. 2013, c. 170 (NJ Senate Bill 2479), impact my tuition charges?

New Jersey residents who are undocumented under U.S. immigration law or who have been approved under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services may qualify for in-state tuition under P.L. 2013, c. 170 (NJ Senate Bill 2479), the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act, also referred to as the “New Jersey Dream Act.” Under this law, undocumented students are exempt from paying out-of-state tuition if they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Attended a New Jersey high school for three or more years;
  2. Graduated from a New Jersey high school or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in New Jersey;
  3. Register as an entering student or are currently enrolled in a public institution of higher education not earlier than the fall semester of the 2013-2014 academic year;
  4. If male, must register with Selective Service; and
  5. In the case of a person without lawful immigration status, file the Affidavit of Intent to Legalize Immigration Status, which can be found on the DACA/Undocumented Student Resources webpage) each year (as required by the state of New Jersey) with Montclair State University.

For more information and instructions on applying for in-state tuition, please visit: New Jersey Dream Act

Can I receive any NJ state aid under the Tuition Equity Act?

Yes, under this act, any undocumented students (whether DACA recipients, Dreamers, or otherwise), can receive state grant aid if they meet the NJ residency requirements above.  Students can file the NJ Alternative Application on the NJHESAA website (

If I am an undocumented student (with or without a Social Security Number), can I complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)?

There is no penalty for completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), but undocumented students, including DACA recipients, are not eligible for federal aid and will not be able to complete the FAFSA in its entirety. The NJ Alternative Application referred to in the section above is the application that undocumented students use to apply for NJ state aid.

If you need to complete the FAFSA (which may be required when applying for certain types of Montclair State University financial aid), the Federal Student Aid office provides specific instructions for undocumented students.

Can undocumented students receive any federal aid (Pell or SEOG Grants, federal student loans)?

No, undocumented students cannot access federal financial aid, grants, or loans by completing the FAFSA form. However, getting a Student Aid Report (SAR) by completing the (FAFSA) can open many doors to access private and other institutional funding at other colleges/universities.

What if my parents are undocumented, but I have citizenship. Can I still fill out the FAFSA and receive financial aid?

Yes! If you are a dependent student living with parents who are undocumented, you can still fill out the FAFSA using your own Social Security number (SSN). In the parent section that asks for your parent(s)’ Social Security number, enter all zeros (000-00-0000). You can sign the FAFSA with your Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) but your parent(s) will have to print out the signature page and either mail it to the FAFSA processor or bring it  into the Financial Aid Office so a counselor can electronically sign the FAFSA on behalf of your parent(s).