State Flag for Universities in Washington Washington Residency Rules


How difficult is earning in-state tuition in Washington?  Why?

Although pretty difficult, very involved, and typically requiring sacrifices, becoming a new resident of Washington and earning in-state tuition is do-able for those willing to go above and beyond to demonstrate a firm commitment to the state.  If you’re hoping for a super-easy, zero complications process…look elsewhere.  Contrariwise, if you’re hoping to avoid the country’s most draconian regulations…you’re in luck.  The difficulty of earning in-state residency at Universities in Washington does vary by university (some are more or less difficult).  Nevertheless, Washington can be characterized overall as medium difficulty relative to other states.

Please understand that Universities in Washington do tend to require more sacrifice and commitment than most undergrads are prepared for.  It’s not a coincidence that the vast majority of people are unwilling to take the steps necessary to demonstrate Washington residence…it is by design.  Although all universities in Washington must adhere to the same demanding Washington state laws, each university in Washington interprets those regulations differently.  An individual university has the power to define any vague terms, can assign greater or lesser importance to certain topics, and to some degree picks and chooses its own policy.  A university’s tuition classification policy is also subject to change without warning.


How to get in-state at Universities in Washington:

A big part of demonstrating you deserve in-state tuition is to overcome the presumption that you moved to Washington solely or primarily to attend school.  So, at Universities in Washington, anyone attending full-time school during their domicile year is effectively disqualified from earning in-state status.  Exceptions can be made for those working full-time (32+ hours/week consistently).  Since working full-time while also attending school full-time is extremely difficult, it is typically advisable to be no more than a part-time student during the domicile period.  As a part-time student, working full-time would be advisable for multiple reasons but is not strictly required; in general however, if you’re going to school part-time, what else are you doing…you might as well work as much as possible and you’ll benefit from making money and gaining valuable life experience

Financially, most undergrads need to be demonstrably self-sufficient meaning that you take care of at least half or more of your expenses, i.e. all your expenses including tuition and living expenses.  Interpretations regarding what counts as self-support totally depend on the university in question where some schools regard co-signed students loans as self-support and others as non-self-support.


Washington State Reciprocity Agreements:

Washington is a member state of the Western Undergraduate Exchange which is a limited regional reciprocity agreement among select Western States. Favorable college tuition rates in nearby states are sometimes possible through reciprocity although many restrictions apply.

See Tuition Reciprocity Agreements Explained

See Tuition Reciprocity Agreements Overpromise & Under-Deliver


University-Specific Overviews Below:

Below please find links to in-state overviews for select universities in Washington. If your college is not highlighted, then please consider buying a University-Specific Nutshell Report or see all available university-specific in-state overviews.

Popular Universities in Washington:

 University of Washington-Seattle (UW, UDub)

Washington State University-Pullman (WSU-Pullman)

Red Square Means In-State Tuition is Most Difficult Western Washington University-Bellingham (WWU, Western)


Other Universities in Washington:

Central Washington University-Ellensburg (CWU)
Eastern Washington University-Cheney (EWU)
The Evergreen State College-Olympia (ESC)
University of Washington School of Medicine-Seattle
University of Washington-Bothell
University of Washington-Tacoma
Washington State University-Spokane
Washington State University-Tri-Cities
Washington State University-Vancouver (WSU-Vancouver)

Every College in Washington Is Unique

Just as every state has its own in-state regulations, each college in the state has its own interpretations. Learn everything important about how to actually earn in-state tuition at the university in Washington you’re most interested in.

Get University-Specific Report

University-Specific Nutshell Report

Everything important you need to know about actually earning in-state at your university.