In-State Tuition Residency Requirements

For tuition purposes, Texas state law classifies all applicants to El Paso Community College as either (1) Residents of Texas, (2) Non-residents of Texas, or (3) foreign students. This is important since this determines whether students pay in-state or out-of-state tuition, and whether or not a student might qualify for state-based financial aid. Please understand that residency for admission and tuition purposes at EPCC is different from residency for voting or tax purposes, and will be based on the information provided on the ApplyTexas application in accordance with the rules established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

A student’s residency status is determined at the time of application by the answers given on the Core Residency section of the application. If a student would like to have EPCC to review their residency status as determined by the application the student can resubmit their EPCC Core Questions and request that Admissions and Registration complete a Residency Classification Review. Students will be contacted as to the documentation needed to support this request for review. Students will also need to submit a new application anytime that there has been an interruption in their enrollment equal to or longer than a consecutive fall and spring semester.

In order to qualify as a Texas resident an individual must both (1) reside in Texas for one year and (2) establish a domicile in Texas prior to enrollment. An applicant or student who is claimed as a dependent on a parent’s most recent federal tax return will be classified based on the parent’s qualifications for residency. An applicant (or the applicant’s parent, in the case of dependent students) are considered to have established a domicile in Texas if at least one of the following conditions has been met for at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the semester in which a person seeks to enroll:

  • Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas having established and maintained domicile at that residence,
  • Ownership and customary management of a business which is regularly operated without the intent of liquidation in the foreseeable future
  • Gainful employment that provides for at least one-half of the individual's expenses or employment of at least twenty hours per week. For gainful employment purposes, wages earned cannot include funds received from employment that is conditional upon a person’s status as a student. So earnings received from work study, stipends, fellowships, teaching assistantships, etc., do not qualify as gainful employment.
  • Marriage for at least twelve consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the semester in which a person seeks to enroll to a person who has established and maintained a domicile by one of the above three methods detailed above.

Again – Texas residency requires that the individual both live in Texas for at 12 consecutive months and that they establish a domicile (as outlined above) in the state of Texas.

The establishment and/or update of a student’s residency status will always require a new application with the Core Residency Questions completed. Students who wish their residency status to be reviewed my submit an updated Residency Core Questions. The Office of Admissions & Registration will contact the student after reviewing their Residency Core Questions and determining what type of documentation is needed to support their residency claim. It should be understood that a student’s residency status can never be established or updated merely by presenting documentation. A new application or an updated Residency Core Questions form will always be need to update a student’s residency status.

The rules established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board provide several options to establish Texas Residency. These options are detailed below. A student may be asked to provide documentation that provides proof that they have both lived in Texas for the last year and established a domicile in the state. The type of documentation requested may differ according to the student’s individual circumstances.

Eligibility through High School

Students that meet all of the following criteria qualify for in-state tuition:

  • Graduated from a public or accredited private high school in Texas or received the equivalent of a high school diploma in the state, and
  • Lived in Texas for the 36 months immediately preceding the date of graduation, and
  • Lived and established domicile in Texas the 12 months preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the student enrolls at EPCC.

If a student meets the above criteria, but is not a United States Citizen or Permanent Resident they qualify for in-state tuition under Senate Bill 1528. The Senate Bill 1528 Residency Affidavit must be notarized and returned to the Office of Admissions and Registration.

If a student does not meet the Texas high school requirement, there are additional ways to qualify for Texas residency by meeting one of the following:

Independent Student
  • An individual who provides more than one half of their own financial support, and is not eligible to be claimed as a dependent for income tax purposes, and
  • Has established and maintained their domicile (according to the criteria outlined above) in Texas for the 12 consecutive months preceding the census date of the academic semester in which they enroll at EPCC.
Dependent Student
  • An individual whose parent or court-appointed legal guardian claims the student as a dependent for federal income tax purposes (or provides more than half of the student's financial support for those not subject to US federal income taxes), and
  • Has established a domicile (according to the criteria outlined above) in Texas not less than 12 months before the census date of the academic semester in which they enroll at EPCC, and
  • Has maintained a residence continuously in the state for the 12 months immediately preceding the census date of the academic semester in which the person enrolls in the institution.
Active Military and their Spouses and Dependents

Students who are active members of the Military – as well as their spouses and dependents – can be classified as residents of Texas if (1) the service member’s Home of Record with the military is Texas, or (2) if they provide EPCC with Leave and Earning Statements that show that they have claimed Texas as their place of residence.

Active duty military students (as well as their spouses and dependents) may also have their out-of-state tuition waived to in-state tuition if the service member is stationed with a unit in Texas. To obtain this waiver the student must submit a completed Military Waiver Request that includes the signature of the service member’s commanding officer. The waiver will remain in effect for one year. A new waiver will need to be resubmitted each academic year or after any interruption in the student’s enrollment that exceeds one semester.

Veterans and their Spouses and Dependents

Veterans of the Military who have been honorably discharged (as well as their spouses and dependents) are classified for tuition purposes as Texas residents if the military member’s home of record on their DD 214 indicates Texas, and the issue date of this form is within one year of the student’s enrollment at EPCC.

Veterans can also qualify for a waiver allowing them (and their spouses and dependents) to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition by submitting an “Intent to Establish Residence in Texas” form to EPCC. In order for this waiver to be granted the student will need to be in compliance with all of the provisions detailed in section 54.058 of the Texas Education Code.

Students who submit these waivers should understand that they will continue to be listed as non-residents with a waiver to pay the resident tuition as prescribed by Section 54.058 (k and l) of the Texas Education Code.

Qualifying Veterans (and their spouses and dependents) are also eligible to pay the equivalent of in-state tuition and fees in accordance with section 702 of the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (the “Choice Act”). This law prescribes that schools that have students using benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty charge qualifying veterans, spouses and dependents tuition and fees at the rate for resident students starting for terms beginning after July 1, 2015. For the purposes of the “Choice Act” a person qualifies if they are:

  • A Veteran who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
  • A spouse or child using transferred benefits who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within 3 years of the transferor’s discharge from a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.
  • A spouse or child using benefits under the Marine Gunnery Sergeant John David Fry Scholarship who lives in the state in which the institution of higher learning is located (regardless of his/her formal state of residence) and enrolls in the school within three years of the Service member’s death in the line of duty following a period of active duty service of 90 days or more.

Students who plan to use veteran’s benefits to fund their education should contact EPCC’s Office of Veteran’s affairs at (915) 831-5142 for more information.

New Mexico Bordering County Waiver

Students who are residents of counties in New Mexico that share a border with Texas are classified as non-residents but may be able to receive the benefit of paying in-state tuition as authorized by the Texas Education Code 54.213(g). To apply for this waiver students should submit the New Mexico Nonresident Tuition Exemption Request to EPCC’s Office of Admissions and Registration and provide proof that they have resided in one of eligible New Mexican counties for the last 12 consecutive months.

Residency Classification Review

Sometimes students submit incorrect information or information that makes it appear as though they are non-residents when they actually do qualify for Texas residency. In other cases, students initially ineligible for residency later become eligible. Furthermore, if a student has not registered for classes at EPCC during the preceding fall and spring semesters, they will need to reestablish their residency status.

If a student wants to have their residency status reviewed they need to complete and submit the Residency Core Questions to EPCC’s Office of Admissions and Registration for review. Students will be contacted as to the documentation needed to support this request for review.

Documentation That Might Be Requested

Depending on the individual’s response to the core residency questions, a number of different types of documents might be requested to support a student’s residency status. These include but are not limited to:

  • Texas high school transcript
  • Transcript from a Texas institution
  • Texas driver’s license or Texas ID card showing origination date
  • Texas voter registration card showing origination date
  • Pay stubs
  • Utility bills in name of the person
  • Bank statements
  • Written statements from one or more social service agencies
  • Lease or rental of residential real property in the name of the person
  • Tax returns for most recent tax year
  • Visa, passport, or other pertinent immigration documents
  • Lease and Earnings Statement (LES)
  • License to conduct business in Texas
  • Employer-provided employment verification, proof of self-employment or living off earnings statement
  • Ownership in real property sole or joint
  • Marriage to a person who has established and maintained domicile in Texas
  • Ownership in a Business in part or whole in Texas.

Again, it should be understood that a person’s residency status cannot be established by merely supplying documentation. A completed application or Residency Core Questions form will always need to be submitted in order to establish or update a residency status.

Please contact the Office of Admissions and Registration at (915) 831-2150 or via email at admissions@epcc.edu to inquire as to what type of documents will need to provide to prove that you have established residency in the State of Texas.