Residency for Tuition Purposes

In compliance with state law, the University of North Carolina system requires students to request a residency classification from the centralized Residency Determination Service (RDS). RDS is the entity responsible for all new classifications of residency in North Carolina. As a result, all residency questions and inquiries must be directed to RDS. The contact information for the centralized Residency Determination Service (RDS) is:
844-319-3640 (phone)                  RDS Guidebook
919-835-2427 (fax)

Check out the Student FAQ's on the RDS website for answers to the most asked questions!

Who has to complete RDS?

  • Any new undergraduate or graduate student applying for admission and claiming in-state residency
  • Any current student who is coming back after taking a break of at least one semester who has not completed RDS previously and is claiming in-state residency
  • Any student who has completed RDS previously but whose RCN has expired
  • Any student changing academic levels (i.e. undergraduate to graduate) or seeking a second degree at the same institution and is claiming in-state residency
  • Any out-of-state student seeking a reclassification

What to expect when using RDS

  • Applicants can complete the RDS process before, during, or after completing the admissions application. Any student claiming in-state residency must complete RDS regardless of their length of time in North Carolina.
  • You will only have to complete the process once when applying for admission, no matter how many NC college or university admissions applications you complete. Be sure to note your RCN number you receive after you complete RDS.
  •  You will complete an online interview and may be asked to provide documentation afterward. Required information will include identification numbers for you and/or your parents (rare), such as you might provide for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). It is a good idea to have this kind of information easily available at the time you complete the RDS interview. If you do not, RDS will save any confirmed information and allow you to re-enter the interview process where you left off.
  • The information that you submit will be validated against federal and North Carolina state agency databases. Please keep a copy of all application materials for your records.
  • Once you have completed RDS, you will receive an initial classification but it will not be updated by the institution until the validation is complete and the institution receives notification of the official determination which typically takes 24-48 hours.
  • Additional information about the RDS process is available at

Effective Date

Students claiming in-state residency must complete RDS. In order for your residency determination to affect the tuition rate for the current term at Appalachian State, your RDS determination must have an effective date on, or before, the census day for the current term (10th day of class for fall and spring semesters or 3rd class day for summer terms). RDS determinations received with an effective date after the census day will not affect the tuition rate for the current term but will take effect for the next term.

Reconsideration and Appeals
Students who have been determined as nonresidents by RDS may request a reconsideration and appeal of their determination for tuition purposes through RDS. To request a reconsideration or appeal, go to