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Commuter Student Policy

All single, full-time students, under the age of 21 who do not reside locally at a primary residence, in the Tri-Cities (see below for specific details), with a parent or legal guardian must live in a residence hall as long as space is available. 

Students who live with their parents or legal guardian and are under 21 years of age must submit a notarized copy of the Verification of Living with Parents form. This form must include a copy of the current driver’s license of the parent or legal guardian with whom the student will reside as well as a daytime telephone number where the parent or guardian can be reached.  The license number and/or the Social Security number from the license may be omitted from the copy of the parent’s current driver’s license. 

Requests for residential exemptions must be submitted to the Assistant Dean for Residence Life by filling out a Commuter Form, which must state the reason for the request and provide a local address and telephone number. Other documents may be required to verify need for the exception.  Students applying for exemption based on financial Hardship must fill out the Financial Hardship Application and provide all documentation required. Commuter students are expected to provide a local phone or cell phone number. Please be aware that very few exemptions are granted.

Students should not sign off-campus leases until approval to move off campus has been granted. The fact that a lease has been signed will not be a factor in determining whether an exemption to the policy will be granted.  Students will be responsible for both the cost of on campus housing and the off-campus lease should the request to live off campus be denied.


Circumstances for Automatic Approval of Commuter Status:

  • 21 Years old and in good academic and student conduct standing PRIOR to the first day of classes for the Semester
  • Live at home with mother or father, a Legal Guardian (documentation from Court required), live with a married sibling over the age of 22, or live with grandparents – these family members must live in the residence with the student full time. Parent or Guardians must have lived in the Tri-Cities area (physical address within Sullivan County, TN or Washington County VA, which includes the Cities of Kingsport, TN; Johnson City, TN; Bristol, VA; Bristol, TN; Gray, TN; and Piney Flats, TN) for at least six months preceding the date of first enrollment and continue to reside with their parent(s)/guardian(s).
  • Documented Disability - In order for a disability to be considered an exemption for living on campus, the request for accommodation must be approved through the King University Disability Services Office.
  • Significant Life Experiences/Responsibilities Such As:
    • Full Time Military Service (Veterans with more than 120 consecutive days of military duty) /Honorably Discharged
    • Lived Independently of Parent/Guardians for 12 months or more with documented proof provided
    • Legally Married/Previously Married (Documentation Required)
    • Have Legal Dependents (defined as living with the student, having custody and responsible for support) and has documentation demonstrating this responsibility.

Please Note: All students living at Home with a Parent or Guardian must renew their application for Commuter Status each year until they meet the automatic eligibility requirements (i.e. Age, Marital Status, etc.). If Commuter status is not renewed, the student will be assessed room and board charges until the application is completed.

The deadlines for applications for Commuter Status are due by March 15 for Fall Semester and October 15 for the Spring Semester. Students that are automatically approved for commuter status and meet eligibility requirements do not have to re-apply each year. Incomplete applications will not be considered.   

Students must consult the Financial Aid Office prior to completing the Commuter Form and/or making arrangements for off campus lodging. Financial aid packages (including scholarships) may be reduced significantly by moving off campus. It should be noted that some program directors (i.e. coaches, theater, music, etc.) may have a more restrictive residency requirement for members of their team or program that differs from the stated policy.


Exceptions: Students that are classified as GPS or only attending classes that are not on the main Bristol Campus (Kingsport Campus, Higher Ed Center, Knoxville, etc.) are exempt from this policy, but will need to fill out an application for Financial Aid reporting and proper Financial Aid distribution.  Please be sure to verify that you are exempt from the Commuter Policy before proceeding.  

Please be aware that Exemptions are only made once per semester. ALL DECISIONS OF THE COMMITTEE ARE FINAL and will not be reviewed again until the following semester.

Students that are found to be violating the Commuter Policy will be charged for Room and Board fees and will not be eligible to have the charges removed. Furthermore, the student may be referred to the Student Conduct process.


For additional information regarding the room assignment process, please refer to the Housing Process/Room Assignments section of the Student Handbook.