The RDS provides four separate processes to reach a residency classification. Most students will only ever complete the initial consideration process. The reconsideration and appeal processes are for those students who have had a change in circumstance (reconsideration) or who have not had a change in circumstance and believe their residency classification is incorrect (appeal).
The RDS reconsideration process is for students who need to correct errors in the data submitted during the RDS online interview or for students who have had a change in personal circumstances since their original determination (marriage, death of parents, military service, etc.). You may apply for reconsideration through RDS by logging in with your username and password. You will use RDS to indicate the nature of the change and to complete the full range of RDS online interview questions. Additional documentation may be required, and RDS will validate the answers.
The RDS reconsideration process is dependent upon student needs for data changes and changes in circumstance; however, you are limited to one reconsideration request every 90 days, a rough approximation of the current practice of allowing one reclassification request per term. Should you receive the same determination through the RDS reconsideration process and disagree with that residency determination, you have the option to appeal.
You may always seek an appeal if you believe that the RDS process has failed to consider accurately important information regarding your residency status. The RDS appeals process will offer two levels of appeal, consistent with current practice. The initial appeal is the Additional Data and Documentation (ADD) appeal; the second-level appeal is to a state-level committee. You will continue to have litigation available as an option following these two levels of appeal.
- Additional Data and Documentation Appeal (ADD) – A “non-resident” student who believes the RDS determination is incorrect (i.e., key data was entered correctly and no change in circumstance has occurred) can move directly into the appeal process and provide additional narrative and/or documentation regarding his/her situation. The RDS website will provide a list of documentation which may support a residency claim; RDS will share this list with students. RDS will communicate to the student that:
- Submission of any or all documentation does not guarantee an “in-state” determination
- Non-submission of any or all documentation does not preclude an “in-state” determination
At this level of appeal, you may use RDS to explain the basis of the appeal and may submit documents through the standard RDS documentation upload procedure. Data and documentation will be reviewed and assessed by an RDS appeal committee. This committee may choose to contact an appellant directly for further information or clarification.
- Higher Education Appeal Committee – This option is available to students who remain “out-of-state” following an ADD Appeal. This appeal committee, consisting of representatives of the UNC System, the Community College System, and the NC independent colleges and universities provides a check on the overall RDS process, allowing the committee to review a student’s case to ensure the process was conducted fairly and correctly, and that the outcome was correct based upon the information provided throughout the process. Additionally, this process provides appellants the opportunity to appear in person or via technological means (Skype, conference call) to support their case and provide additional information, documentation, and clarifications as needed.
Following any successful reconsideration or appeal, you must notify the school that there has been a change in your residency status so the school can download the appropriate data reflecting the new determination and make the resulting change to your tuition bill. Any change in residency status will automatically be available to the state Grants System. RDS instructions and documentation will reflect this requirement to ensure you are aware the change is not automatic at the campus level.