Optometry school has become increasingly expensive, so it’s more important for students to cut costs in any way possible. For students who go to UC Berkeley, Ohio State, SUNY, or University of Houston, you can apply for for in-state residency so you can get in-state tuition for these schools! Although offered at other places, these 4 schools have easiest path to in-state residency. Other public optometry schools make it very difficult for the average optometry student to gain in state residency. To be classified as a resident, you have to fill out an application which proves to the state that you are not there simply to attend school. You must always be in this mindset when applying!
To obtain in-state residency, you have to:
- Change all legal documents including driver’s license and car registration to your new state.
- Become an independent student (meaning no parental support). This is particularly important since being dependent on financial resources from outside the state will jeopardize your chances of attaining in-state residency.
- Get a bank account from a bank that is in your new state.
- Change your legal address for credit cards, debit cards, and other important documents.
- Get an apartment off-campus. In some cases, on-campus housing cannot be used as a permanent address.
- Stay in the state even during school breaks. Some schools have strict requirements for how many days you can leave the state, while others are more lenient.
- Get a part-time job. Although not required, it shows that you are contributing to and paying taxes in the state, thereby strengthening your residency application. It also can help support yourself and occupy your time should you need to stay in the state when classes aren’t in session.
- Live in the state for one calendar year. In all cases, you cannot apply for residency until after your first year of optometry school.
In most cases, students apply for residency as a single, financially independent student. There are other ways to get in-state residency in your first year of school if you meet other qualifications. Some of these can apply to other public optometry schools besides UC Berkeley, Ohio State, SUNY, and University of Houston.
Other ways to get in-state residency include (but are not limited to):
- Attending and/or graduating high school in that state.
- Your spouse getting employment in your new state. It can be especially helpful if they work for the university or optometry college you attend, since there could be a tuition discount for you as a benefit.
- If you or your spouse or parent (if still a dependent of them) is in the military and claims that particular state as their home state.
- Moving to the state prior to enrolling in optometry school. This is a good option if there is a particular public optometry school that you have your heart set on. However, there is no guarantee that you will get into that school.
Remember that every state’s rules and regulations are different! If you have any questions, check with the particular university. There is usually a specific person that handles the residency applications.