My husband is currently in the middle of his degree in chemistry (we are both independent adults without links or support to parents/family). I am the main wage earner for our household and we currently live in Colorado.

I want to move to Massachusetts for a new job and my husband wishes to come with me. He had good luck so far talking to a number of schools there about transfering.

However we are struggling to find out if he will have to pay in or out of state tuition after we move as the difference in cost is very substantial. Does this depend on the school or just on the state? Unfortunately we have got mixed and ambiguous information from the schools in question so are extremely unsure on how this works.

  • @cag51 umass has in state rates for graduate students. It is possible that a first year transfer student might not have full funding, especially if it is a masters student or non sciences.
    – StrongBad
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 1:32
  • Is this for an undergraduate program? It's very rare to achieve residency for tuition purposes while a student, otherwise everyone would quickly become a resident past their first year. It's possible that if you are not a student of any kind then being a spouse of a non-student resident would work after a year (the answer by Van suggests so). For graduate students, it often matters a lot less due to tuition remission (though depending on the source of remission, may matter for internal accounting).
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 3:01
  • 1
    @EdV To answer your questions. I am askng regarding masters programs, not a PHD. He also does not currently have any funding source or scholarships other then his savings, my income, and intermittent part time work he does out of academia. I can do some further research on our options but I expected it wasnt the first time folks here would have seen a situation so may be able to point me in the right direction.
    – Vality
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 3:31
  • 1
    @BryanKrause Please see my comment above re program. I am not a student (I graduated from my masters program years ago and am now working full time). We primarily want to relocate due to a substantially better job opertunity in my field but are trying to figure out how the financial situation would be effected for him.
    – Vality
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 3:35
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    @Vality Ok, I had assumed you were most likely not a student though that wasn't clear; I was not sure about your husband. If your husband is a masters student, you should make that clear. "My husband is currently in the middle of his degree in chemistry" gives no information about what level of degree he is enrolled in. It is best if you edit your original question, because comments on StackExchange are subject to disappearing into arbitrary phases of matter.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 4:52

1 Answer 1


Based on this document, I see a chance (slim, but not zero) that you could move to MA together, he would pay out-of-state tuition for a year, and then he could apply for reclassification. (Please keep in mind I am NOT a lawyer, nor anyone in the college admission pipeline; I am hoping to provide you with a question you can ask of someone who is one of the two.) Here's my reasoning:

From part 2, section 2

Physical presence for this entire twelve-month or six-month period need not be required as long as the conduct of an individual, taken in total, manifests an intention to make Massachusetts his or her permanent dwelling place. However, residency is not acquired by mere physical presence in Massachusetts while the person is enrolled in an institution of higher education.

and from part 3, section 2

The spouse of any person who is classified or is eligible for classification as a Massachusetts resident is likewise eligible for classification as a Massachusetts resident.

Your husband would be able to make the case to be reclassified after 12 months on the basis of "he followed you for your job." I think that, even if he took classes full time, he could still apply for the reclassification, but that reclassification will not be retroactive to the year paid as out-of-state. (section 4.4)

Here's the catch: If I am right, it's not a guarantee that he'd be reclassified; it's a thing he can apply for. So, by continuing classes in that 12 month period, he is not only going to be paying full out-of-state tuition, but he runs the risk of being 'locked in' as an out-of-state student for the duration of his program.

The other option, which is much more of a certainty, is that he puts his education on hold for a year to let the residency sort itself out.

I strongly suggest that you just ask the folks at the college he is trying to transfer to. Certainly the admission people have had to deal with this before.

  • 1
    ...and, while I was typing this up, Ed V (as one of those knowledgeable people I am not) asked a very good question.
    – Van
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 2:08
  • I don't think the OP ever mentioned a graduate program specifically. Based on that I'd assume an undergraduate program unless OP clarifies.
    – Bryan Krause
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 3:05
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    Thank you, please see my comments on the question for any clarification. Otherwise I will see if I can use the info you have given to ask better questions to the colleges in question. Thank you so much.
    – Vality
    Commented Sep 3, 2019 at 3:40

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