The director of admissions or designee will classify every person accepted by the college as an in-state, out-of-state, or international student. Determining a student's residency status must be based on the existence of surrounding objective circumstances that indicate a student's intent to maintain a permanent presence in the State of Georgia. No single factor is conclusive. Similarly, there is no predetermined number of factors to be met.
The following indicators may be considered when documenting residency status of an individual, but this is not an exhaustive list:
Students meet citizenship requirements if they are born in the United States, are naturalized citizens of the United States, or are classified as eligible non-citizens according to the federal Title IV definition. To qualify for in-state tuition, students who meet the citizenship requirements must establish and maintain legal, permanent residency in Georgia for a period of at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the academic term for which they seek in-state tuition.
Eligible Non Citizen: a person who, in accordance with the Federal Title IV definition, is a United States permanent resident with a Permanent Resident Card (I-551); or a conditional permanent resident (I-555C); or the holder of an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from the Department of Homeland Security showing any one of the following designations: Refugee, Asylum Granted, Parolee (I-94 confirms paroled for a minimum of one year and status has not expired): "Victim of human trafficking," T-Visa holder (T-1, T-2, T-3, etc.), or Cuban-Haitian Entrant. Persons with an F1 or F2 student visa, a J1 or J2 exchange visitor visa, a G or L series visa, or an Employment Authorization Document card (EAD) do not meet the definition of an Eligible Non-Citizen.
Ineligible Non-Citizen: an ineligible Non-Citizen cannot qualify for in-state tuition per Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG) Policy 6.2.2p. However, at the discretion of the President of the college, the international tuition rate may be waived in favor of an out of state tuition rate for an Ineligible Non-Citizen who has been verified as lawfully present in the United States in accordance with state and federal immigration laws. Requests for the tuition waiver must be presented in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the term for which the student is seeking waiver. To begin the process, please see the Director of Admissions on the main campus, or the campus administrator on any satellite campus.
Verification of Lawful Presence in the United States
Effective January 1, 2012, all students applying for in-state tuition must provide validation of lawful presence in the United States. The following documents may serve as proof of lawful presence in the United States, students must provide appropriate documentation in order to determine their eligibility for in-state tuition:
- Current driver's license issued by the State of Georgia after January 1, 2008.
- Current photo identification cards issued by the State of Georgia after January 1, 2008.
- Current driver's licenses or photo identification issued by:
- Alabama: Issued after August 1, 2000.
- Florida: Issued after January 1, 2010, or if the licenses have gold stars in the upper right hand corner.
- South Carolina: Issued after November 1, 2008.
- Tennessee: Issued after May 29, 2004.
- Any other State: Valid driver's licenses or ID cards with gold stars in the upper right-hand corner.
- Certified U.S. birth certificate showing students were born in the United States or United States territory (photocopies are not acceptable).
- Approved, completed Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current financial aid year if students were selected for verification and have provided appropriate documentation to the Financial Aid Office .
- Current, valid Permanent Resident Cards (USCIS form 1-151 or 1-551).
- Current, valid military identification cards for active duty soldiers or veterans.
- U.S. Certificates of Birth Abroad issued by the U.S. Department of State (DS-1350) or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad (FS-240).
- Current U.S. passports.
- U.S. Certificates of Citizenship (USCIS form N-560 or N-561).
- U.S. Certificates of Naturalization (USCIS form N-550 or N-570).
Students who cannot be verified as lawfully present in the United States are not eligible to be considered for in-state tuition regardless of how long they have lived in Georgia. In addition to being lawfully present in the United States, students must meet the in-state tuition requirements as outlined in TCSG Board Policy and Procedure V.B.3 to warrant as in-state students. Students that are initially classified as out-of-state residents and successfully petition to have their residency changed to in-state also meet the verification requirement.
Dependent students are defined as individuals under the age of 24 who receive financial support from parents or United States court-appointed legal guardians whose federal or state tax returns list the individuals as dependents. Dependent students meet the Georgia residency requirement if their parents have established and maintained legal, permanent residency in the State of Georgia for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the academic term for which they are seeking in-state tuition and provided that the dependent students graduated from eligible high schools located in the State of Georgia or if their parents claimed them as dependents on the parents' most recent federal income tax returns. Dependent students also meet the Georgia residence requirements if their United States court-appointed legal guardians have established and maintained legal, permanent residency in the State of Georgia for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the academic term for which they seek in-state tuition and provided that the appointment was not made in order to avoid the payment of out-of-state tuition.
An eligible high school is defined as any private or public secondary educational institution in the State of Georgia that is authorized to grant high school diplomas and is on the list of accreditation agencies approved by the Technical College System of Georgia.
Independent students are defined as individuals who are not claimed as dependents on the federal or state income tax returns of their parents or United States court-appointed legal guardians who have ceased to provide support and right to the individuals' care, custody, and earnings. Independent students meet the Georgia residency requirements if they have established and maintained legal, permanent residency in the State of Georgia for at least 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the first day of classes of the academic term for which they seek in-state tuition. It is presumed that independent students did not gain or acquire legal, permanent residency in the State of Georgia while attending Athens Technical College or any member institution of the Technical College System of Georgia without clear evidence of having established legal, permanent residency in the State of Georgia for purposes other than attending Athens Technical College or any member institution of the Technical College System of Georgia.
Retaining Georgia Residency
Dependent students shall continue to retain their status as Georgia residents if their parents or United States court-appointed guardians established legal, permanent residency outside the State of Georgia provided the dependent students remain continuously enrolled at Athens Technical College. Individuals are classified as continuously enrolled students if they are making satisfactory academic progress toward completing an associate degree, diploma, or certificate program and are without a break in enrollment of more than one traditional academic term (see Satisfactory Academic Progress). Individuals who are not enrolled for two or more consecutive academic terms are not classified as continuously enrolled students. Participation in eligible alternative study programs which require travel outside of Georgia but inside the United States are not considered breaks in enrollment.
Independent students who temporarily relocate outside the State of Georgia for a period of less than 12 months shall retain their status as Georgia residents for tuition purposes.
Eligibility for In-State Tuition Waivers
Students in the following classifications are eligible for in-state tuition waivers. These waivers do not affect students' eligibility for HOPE Scholarships or Grants, except for waivers for military personnel and their dependents as provided for in the Georgia Student Finance Commission regulations. The classifications include:
- Employees and their children who move to Georgia for employment with a new or expanding industry as defined in Georgia Code §20-4-40.
- Full-time employees of the Technical College System of Georgia and their spouses and dependent children.
- Full-time teachers in public schools, military bases, or at public post-secondary colleges in Georgia and their spouses and dependent children.
- United States military personnel stationed in Georgia and on active duty and their dependents living in Georgia.
- United States military personnel and their dependents reassigned outside Georgia who remain continuously enrolled and on active military status.
- United States military personnel and their dependents who are legal residents of Georgia but are stationed outside the state.
- Members of a uniformed military service of the United States and their dependents who, within 36 months of separation from such service, enroll in an academic program, and demonstrate an intent to become domiciled in Georgia. This exemption may also be granted to individuals eligible for GI Bill benefits.
- Students who are legal residents of out-of-state counties bordering on Georgia counties and who are enrolled in a technical college where there is a local reciprocity agreement in place.
- Career counselor officers and their dependents who are citizens of the foreign nation which their consular office represents and who are living in Georgia under orders of their respective governments. This waiver applies only to those consular officers whose nations operate on the principle of educational reciprocity with the United States.
Notwithstanding any provision in the residency policy, individuals who are unlawfully present in the United States are not eligible for any waiver of the tuition differential.
Misrepresentation of facts to qualify for residency status will expose students to civil liability for back-due tuition and disciplinary action including suspension or permanent exclusion from all technical colleges. Moreover, the college may criminally prosecute students.