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Need help understanding an admissions- or residency-related term? We’ve got you covered.

Admissions Terms

Certain terms, when used in connection with the topic of admissions, should be understood as follows:  


A label applied to an educational institution by an official agency, association or ministry of education recognizing it for maintaining standards that qualify graduates for consideration for admission to higher or more specialized institutions.


An examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility of undergraduate students.

Admitted Student

A student who has been offered admission to the university by the Office of Admissions.

Census Date

The date in an academic term by which an institution is required to certify a person’s enrollment in the institution for the purposes of determining formula funding for the institution (12th class day).


All items that are required to be submitted with the application for admission to the university.

>Degree-Seeking Student

A student actively seeking a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree.

Full Time

Enrollment for a minimum of twelve semester credit hours for undergraduate students or nine semester credit hours for graduate students each semester in the long session (fall and spring).

Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT)

An examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility to the Graduate School of Business.

>Graduate Records Examinations (GRE)

The General Test of the GRE is an examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility of graduate applicants.

Graduate Study

The educational sequence immediately following completion of the bachelor’s degree, typically leading to a master’s or doctoral degree.

International English Language Testing System (IELTS)

An examination used by the university in determining English proficiency.

International Student

Individuals from countries other than the United States who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of this country.


Prescribed or recognized as authorized; when used in the admission process (such as “official transcripts”), the term refers to mark sheets, transcripts or records of national examination results which have been duly sealed and certified as original and valid by the originating educational institution or office.


An examination used by the university to assist in determining admissibility of undergraduate students.

>Secondary School

Generally refers to the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th years of formal education, preceding entry into a college or university.

Semester Credit Hours

A quantitative measure of coursework. Generally, a student earns three semester hours of credit upon successful completion of a course meeting three hours a week during one long-semester (fall or spring).

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

An examination used by the university in determining English proficiency.


A mark sheet; a complete record of academic work, i.e., all subjects taken and grades or marks secured in each subject, including failures, if any.

Transferable Credit

Undergraduate academic coursework completed at an accredited post-secondary institution that is recognized by the university as being commensurate with its educational expectations.

Undergraduate Study

The educational sequence immediately following completion of secondary school and leading to a bachelor’s degree.

Residency Terms

Other terms, when used in connection with the topic of Texas residency, should be understood as follows:  

Clear and Convincing Evidence

That degree of proof that will produce a firm conviction or a firm belief as to the facts sought to be established. The evidence must justify the claim both clearly and convincingly.

Dependent Student

For purposes of Texas residency determination, a person who: (a) is younger than 18 years of age and has not been emancipated by marriage or court order; or (b) is eligible to be claimed as a dependent of a parent for purposes of determining the parent’s income tax liability under the IRS Code of 1986.


A person’s principal, permanent residence to which the person intends to return after any temporary absence.

Establishing Domicile in Texas

Physically residing in Texas with the intent to maintain domicile in Texas for at least the 12 consecutive months immediately preceding the census date of the term of enrollment, allowing for documented temporary absences.

Gainful Employment

Employment intended to provide an income to a person or allow a person to avoid the expense of paying another person to perform the tasks (as in child care) that is sufficient to provide at least one-half of the individual’s tuition and living expenses or that represents an average of at least twenty hours of employment per week. A person who is self-employed, employed as a homemaker or who is living off his/her earnings may be considered gainfully employed for tuition purposes, as may a person whose primary support is public assistance. Employment conditioned on student status, such as work study, the receipt of stipends, fellowships, or research or teaching assistantships does not constitute gainful employment.

Independent Student

For purposes of Texas residency determination, a student 18 years of age or older or an emancipated minor who is not claimed by a parent or legal guardian as a dependent for federal income tax purposes during the tax year.

Legal Guardian

A person who is appointed guardian under the Texas Probate Code, Chapter 693, or a temporary or successor guardian.

Maintain Domicile

To physically reside in Texas with the intent to always return to the state after a temporary absence. The maintenance of domicile is not interrupted by a temporary absence from the state.


A natural or adoptive parent, managing or possessory conservator, or court appointed legal guardian of a person. The term does not include a step-parent.

Property Ownership

Sole or joint marital ownership of residential real property in Texas by the person seeking to enroll or the dependent’s parent, having established and maintained domicile at that residence. Owning a time-share, renting a residence or owning a cemetery plot does not constitute property ownership.


A person’s home or other dwelling place.

Temporary Absence

Absence from the state of Texas with the intention to return, generally for a period of less than five years. For example, the temporary absence of a person or a dependent’s parent from the state for the purpose of service in the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Defense or U.S. Department of State as a result of an employment assignment or for educational purposes, shall not affect a person’s ability to continue to claim that Texas is his or her domicile.