Residency Regulations

Application submission dates
  Earliest date:Deadline date:
Fall Semester Aug. 1 First day of classes
Spring Semester Dec. 1 First day of classes
Summer I Session April 1 First day of classes
Summer II Session June 1 First day of classes

Residency regulations

The governing board at each university in Michigan has the authority to establish a residency policy for admissions and/or tuition and fee purposes. Therefore, policies will vary between institutions and are independent of those used by the State to determine residency for purposes such as income, property tax liability, driving or voting. Please review Western Michigan University’s Residency Policy for complete information.

Who can apply?

  • Undergraduate degree seeking students who began enrollment in Spring 2017 or earlier

Western Michigan University undergraduate degree seeking students, admitted and enrolled effective with the Summer I 2017 semester or later, will have their residency status determined at the time of admission and it will remain the same throughout the student’s enrollment at Western Michigan University.

  • Graduate students who began enrollment in Summer I 2020 or earlier

Western Michigan University graduate students, admitted and enrolled effective with the Summer II 2020 semester or later, will have their residency status determined at the time of admission and it will remain the same throughout the student’s enrollment at Western Michigan University.

How can I change my residency status?

Complete the residency application for Western Michigan University. Base your residency application on yourself, a parent(s), legal guardian(s) or spouse. Necessary documentation varies depending on individual situations, but all students are required to:

Additional documentation must show that you have abandoned your previous domicile and have established a Michigan domicile. Domicile as defined per our policy as the place where an individual’s true, fixed and permanent home and principle establishment is, and to which the individual returns whenever absent from the University. The documentation must prove you have resided continuously and consistently (established domicile) in Michigan for the 12 month period prior to the start of classes for the semester you are applying for the change. The documentation may include, but is not limited to:

  • Employment verification including letter from employer for student
  • Michigan Driver’s License of parent or spouse applicant is basing residency on
  • Employment verification of parent or spouse applicant is basing residency on
  • State and Federal tax returns along with W2 (student, parent, and/or spouse)
  • In-person monthly financial activity statements (ATM, Debit, Credit Card, Checking and/or Savings) for all months when not enrolled in on-campus classes in Michigan
  • Marriage license or birth certificate

Please note: Documentation is not required for periods when students are enrolled full-time in main campus classes at WMU. For example, students enrolled in classes from September to December or January to April, do not need to prove Michigan domicile during those periods. Online courses do not prove domicile as no physical presence is required.

 Submit the application according to the established submission dates in the table above.

Where to apply

Applications and appropriate documentation can be:

  • Delivered in person to Western Michigan University, Accounts Receivable Office, Seibert Administration Building, Room 1060
  • Faxed: (269)387-4227
  • Mailed to Western Michigan University, Accounts Receivable Office, 1903 W. Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5210
  • Emailed PDF to Please do not send any complete SSN, bank account or credit card numbers thru email.

Please allow three weeks for applications to be processed.

What can I do if my application is denied?

Carefully read the email notice sent in the denial. A description of missing documents will be included, as well as a detailed explanation of what else is needed for further consideration. Provide all the requested documentation. 

If, after providing the additional documentation, your application is again denied, a formal appeal in writing is required. The formal appeal from the student should include any special circumstances in your particular situation that you feel should be considered and any additional documentation that you feel proves domicile in Michigan. Your appeal will be review by a small committee.

If your formal appeal is denied, there is no further recourse on this application but to reapply for a future semester or session once all policy stipulations have been met.

 Out-of-state military

All veterans, active duty military personnel and their dependents are classified as residents for tuition-paying purposes if they indicate past military experience within the admissions application and submit verification of military status. Additional information is available through Veteran’s Services in the Registrar’s Office.


Phone: (269) 387-2366

 Frequently asked questions

How long does it take to process an application for a change in residency status for tuition-paying purposes?

Accounts Receivable generally processes all residency applications within a three-week period.

If additional documents are required to complete the process, it depends on when the documents are received (requested via Western Michigan University email). If approved, and you have financial aid or other awards, those departments (i.e. financial aid, Graduate College, athletics, international office) will review your awards to determine it any adjustments are required. Please allow an additional three weeks from the initial approval for the entire process to be completed and your account to be adjusted. In general, a reasonable period for completion of an application is one to six weeks for the fall semester.

What do I do about paying my tuition when I am waiting for a response on my request to change my residency status?

You must pay at least the in-state portion of tuition while your application for a change in residency status is being processed. By making a quick call to Accounts Receivable at (269) 387-4141, the staff will tell you the amount owed at the in-state rate.

Can I apply for a change in residency status while I am in the process of getting my green card?

No. You must have your green card (permanent visa) in your possession at the time of application. Your status as a "guest" in the United States remains in effect until you have your green card.

Can I work at home, which is out of Michigan, during the summer or holidays and still qualify for resident status?

No. If you return to your home state and work there, it is evidence that you have not given up your previous domicile. The same applies for taking classes in your home state at any time that Western Michigan University is holding classes.

Would doing odd jobs around the property for my relatives who live in Michigan be considered being working if I am paid in cash or given room and board for the work I am doing?

This type of work is very hard to verify, as you still need to prove consistent continual Michigan presence. This could be accomplished by showing your monthly in-person financial activity (ATM, debit, credit card) statements for the period in question. In that situation, the activity would need to show consistent and continuous activity in Michigan during the entire period in question.

For our purposes, the type of work acceptable would be where taxes are taken out of each paycheck and a 1099 or W2 form is issued at year-end for filing taxes in the state of Michigan. Pay history or pay check stubs can be supplied as verification.

Can I do study abroad and still get residency?

As long as the study abroad program is sponsored by Western Michigan University or another Michigan school program and credit is given, it is acceptable as on-campus enrollment. If a lengthy stay out of country prior to or following classes is taken, the additional stay is questionable and depending on the length of extra stay, your residency request may be denied.

Can I base my claim on my parent who lives in Michigan, even though I have been living with other parent in a different state?

That is very possible. It would require showing that your parent in Michigan meets our domicile policy (employment records, tax records, your birth certificate if not claimed on taxes, and, if this is a divorce situation, then possibly the settlement agreement that deals with custody of children).

My family has owned property in Michigan for many years. If I live at their Michigan residence during May, June, July and August, can I get residency for the fall semester?

While you may live at the Michigan residence, you must also provide evidence of your physical presence by other means since a living arrangement such as this by itself (as well as a lease agreement, or even owning property) does not qualify as meeting the physical presence requirement of our policy. Evidence of physical presence is verified by school attendance and work and, if necessary, monthly in-person financial activity transaction statements (ATM, debit, credit card).

I have never lived out of Michigan, but I have been classified as a non-resident student. How can that be changed?

Please contact admissions (269) 387-2000 or the graduate college at (269) 387-8212 to determine why you were admitted as a non-resident. Incorrect residency status due to a processing error, information not provided or information not available at the time of the application, will be updated by WMU admissions.

Non-resident status determined by incorrect information on the admission application requires the student complete a residency application and it will be processed accordingly.

How do I answer Question 8: State of Legal Residence on my application?


My parents and grandparents graduated from Western Michigan University. Even though I live out of state, is there any special provision for dependents of Western alumni?

The University does not have a program that allows dependents of alums residency status if they are out-of-state students.

I am a graduate student doing research for a Western Michigan University program, which requires me to be away from Michigan for part of the 12 consecutive months. Can I still qualify for residency?

Graduate students participating in research or scholarly activity for their WMU program that requires them to be away from Michigan for part of this time must submit a letter from their department chair or graduate advisor attesting to the fact that this activity advances their research and the discovery mission of the University. The letter must also include the dates required for this activity. It must be obtained in advance of the research or scholarly activity being completed and submitted with the residency application.

Examples of potential programs:

  • M.A. students in Medieval Studies commonly conduct research in Europe.
  • M.A. students in Anthropology may work with faculty on cultural anthropology projects in East Africa, Japan or Latin America.
  • M.S. or Ph.D. students in Biological Sciences may work with faculty on research projects in South America, Africa, Malaysia or California.
  • Master of International Development Administration students in political science may need to work on projects in other countries.