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Certificate of Residence


Each community college in New York State has a local sponsor, generally a county, which provides funding to the college, thereby allowing County residents to pay a reduced tuition rate.  Students who are not permanent residents of the college’s sponsoring county will be required to pay a higher non-resident tuition rate (generally double).

New York State Education law allows students attending a community college outside their county of residence to qualify for the college’s lower resident tuition rate by obtaining a Certificate of Residence from their home county.  Upon issuance of a Certificate of Residence, the home county agrees to pay for a portion of the non-resident tuition charge at the community college. For a full list of participating community colleges, please click here.

To obtain a Certificate of Residence from the Erie County Comptroller’s Office students must complete an application form, have their signature notarized and provide an acceptable identification document to prove they meet the eligibility requirements.

Eligibility Requirements
        You must be…

  • A New York State resident for at least one full year prior to application;
  • A permanent Erie County resident for at least one to six months prior to application ; or,*
  • A U.S. citizen or carry a resident alien card (“green card”).

* - note – living in Erie County to attend college does not constitute permanent residency for the purpose of obtaining a Certificate of Residence.  Such individuals should contact their home county’s treasurer’s office to obtain a Certificate of Residence.

Benefit for Partial Residency
Permanent residence status in Erie County for six months prior to applying for a Certificate of Residence allows the student to pay the resident rate of tuition for the Community College they are attending.

Partial residency credit will be awarded to individuals who have made Erie County their permanent residence less than six months, provided they have been a resident of NY State for at least one year.  

You will receive a Certificate of Residence from Erie County Comptroller’s Office for the number of months you have lived in Erie County during the previous six months.  This will provide a partial reduction to the tuition cost for the college you are attending.

To obtain full residence status coverage for the full six months ( and qualify for the lower resident tuition rate at the community college you are attending) you should also obtain a Certificate of Residence from the treasurer’s office of the county you were living at prior to moving to Erie County.   (Example – you moved to Erie County two months ago from Genesee County and will now take a class at Niagara County Community College. Apply for two Certificates of Residence, one from the Erie County Comptroller’s Office for two months residency and the second from the Genesee County Treasurer’s Office for the other four months.)

Acceptable Identification Documents to Prove Eligibility
The document must be in the applicants name and clearly show the Erie County address you are claiming permanent residency at.  Post Office box mailing addresses are not acceptable.  

  • NY State Driver’s license – Driver’s Permit – or NY State Non-Driver identification;
  • Car registration;
  • Voters registration card;
  • Prior year income tax return or IRS W-2 form;
  • Lease agreement or rent receipt; or,
  • NY State TAP information.

You will need to provide one of the above forms of identification with your application.  Two forms of identification are required for Fashion Institute of Technology students.

Application Form
Each community college has a unique Certificate of Residence application form, which can be obtained from the college’s business office or web site.  Students can also download and complete the Erie County Comptroller’s Certificate of Residence PDF application form below.

Applications are accepted at the Erie County Comptroller’s Office, Monday through Friday (except on holidays) between the hours of 8:00AM to 3:45PM.

Students who, in accordance with application filing timelines, bring completed, notarized applications and acceptable identification documentation in person to our Office, will be issued a Certificate of Residence at that time to take back to their college.

Certificates of Residence issued as a result of applications received through the U.S. mail will be processed by the Comptroller’s Office and sent directly to the community college.

You must complete the application form in its entirety as instructed on the application and sign it in the presence of a notary before submitting it to our Office. (The Erie County Comptroller’s Office does not notarize applications)

The original notarized application, along with a copy of an acceptable identification document, should be mailed or brought to:

     Erie County Comptroller’s Office
     Edward A. Rath County Office Building
     95 Franklin Street, Room 1154
     Buffalo, New York 14202
     Phone: (716) 858-8400

Application Filing Timelines
In accordance with New York State law; completed, notarized Applications should be submitted to our Office no sooner than 60 days prior to and no later than 30 days after the start of the semester. The Certificates of Residence are valid for a period of one year and are specific to the particular college it was issued for.

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