Application for North Carolina Residency

What is the Residency Determination System (RDS)?

Due to the implementing of Session Law 2013-360, the state of North Carolina has introduced the Residency Determination Service (RDS), in coordination with other NC community colleges and universities, as the centralized service for determining residency for students. This service enables a student to use one residency determination for admissions applications to multiple NC public colleges and universities and to demonstrate residency for state aid programs consideration at all public and private NC colleges and universities.

RDS Process

  • While completing the admissions application through CFNC, the system will direct the student into RDS seamlessly. Students not using CFNC have a simple link to RDS on the college admission application. Basically, RDS can be used before, during, and after submitting an admission application.
  • To enhance consistency and accuracy of determination, RDS asks the fewest questions possible to reach a “yes” result while assessing the most options possible before saying “no.”
  • Once the student has completed the RDS application, the student will receive a Residency Certification Number (RCN).
  • RDS will inform a student of their residency status immediately upon completion of the online application. In addition to the residency determination status, the student will receive a summary of the data they entered. Students who are non-residents will receive a plain English description of why they were determined to be a non-resident (if determined to be so).

For tips on completely your residency request, check out our tip guide.

What is the Residency Certification Number (RCN)?

The Residency Certification Number (RCN) is a unique identifier that RDS assigns to a student and provides confirmation that a student has completed the residency determination process. The RCN is unique to the student and may be used by a campus to request data concerning a student’s residency determination. The RCN allows RDS to share any existing “active” record for that student with a school and allows RDS to know that an old record has expired and is now inactive. If the RDS record is inactive, the student must seek a new determination from RDS. The school can download the resulting data based on the student’s RCN.

If a student seeks reconsideration, or uses RDS again, the RCN remains the same indefinitely.

Additional Information

For additional questions, please refer to the RDS website.