The opinion of the court was delivered by: MCGOVERN
Plaintiffs seek to have this Court declare unconstitutional certain Washington State statutes which impose upon them a one-year durational residency requirement to qualify as residents for tuition purposes at the University of Washington. It is stipulated that each plaintiff is a registered full-time student at the University, and, with two exceptions, each plaintiff has established a bona fide domicile in the State of Washington within the meaning of RCW 28B.15.012.
That statute defines a resident student as one who has: (a) established a bona fide domicile in the State of Washington for other than educational purposes, and (b) established and maintained that domiciliary status for more than one year immediately preceding the commencement of the first day of the school term for which he registered at the State's institution of higher learning.
It is contended that the challenged statutes
require the plaintiffs to be treated differently for tuition purposes than other residents of the State, and thus, for no compelling state reason, they are deprived of their rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. They further contend that the statutes in question violate their constitutional rights to travel and to the due process of law.
The action is instituted under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (Civil Rights Act). Jurisdiction is vested in the Court under 28 U.S.C. §§ 1331 and 1343, and the Three-Judge Court was convened pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281 and 2284.
We find there to be no constitutional infirmity in the challenged statutes.
Plaintiffs argue that the discrimination created by the statutes in question infringe upon their basic constitutional rights and thus cannot be sustained in absence of a compelling state interest for the differentiation. They rest their arguments primarily on Shapiro v. Thompson, 394 U.S. 618, 89 S. Ct. 1322, 22 L. Ed. 2d 600 (1969), and Dunn v. Blumstein, 405 U.S. 330, 92 S. Ct. 995, 31 L. Ed. 2d 274 (1972). In Shapiro, the court declared unconstitutional certain State of Connecticut and District of Columbia statutory provisions which denied welfare assistance to persons who had not resided within the geographical boundaries of those jurisdictions for at least one year immediately preceding the application for assistance. The Court reasoned that the classification served to limit the constitutionally protected right of the plaintiffs to travel, and that defendants had failed to prove that there was a compelling Governmental need for the discrimination. In Dunn, a Tennessee law creating a durational residency requirement of one year for purposes of qualifying residents to vote was held to be in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. The Court held that it had the effect of creating a classification which resulted in the denial to some citizens of the fundamental constitutional right to vote and that it directly impinged on the exercise of a second fundamental right, the right to travel.
Dispositive of the arguments raised by plaintiffs here is the reasoning of the Court in Starns v. Malkerson, 326 F. Supp. 234 (D.C. Minn. 1970), affirmed without opinion, 401 U.S. 985, 91 S. Ct. 1231, 28 L. Ed. 2d 527 (1971), which we adopt, and where the facts were almost identical to those at hand. In Starns, the University of Minnesota Board of Regents adopted a regulation which provided in part that:
"No student is eligible for residence classification in the University . . . unless he has been a bona fide domiciliary of the state for at least a year immediately prior thereto."
In determining that the compelling state interest test was not the appropriate standard to apply in evaluating the classification, the Starns Court distinguished Shapiro in two respects, first, that:
"The Supreme Court found, based on weighty evidence, that the one-year waiting period for welfare assistance had as a specific objective the exclusion from the jurisdiction of the poor who needed or may need relief. Shapiro v. Thompson, supra at 628-629, 89 S. Ct. 1322. The Court stated that such a purpose could not serve as a 'justification for the classification created by the one-year waiting period, since that purpose is constitutionally impermissible. ' Id. at 629, 89 S. Ct. at 1329." 326 F. Supp. at 237.
By contrast, the court in Starns, noted that there was no set of facts by which it could find that the tuition residency requirement was in any way designed to exclude or even deter an appreciable number of out-of-state students from attending the University of Minnesota and, for that reason, the compelling state interest test was held to be not applicable. As indicated by the record in that case,
"Of the approximately 50,000 students enrolled in the University (of Minnesota) . . . over 6,000 were nonresidents."
Similarly, the total enrollment at the University of Washington for the Autumn Quarter of the 1972-1973 school year was 34,125 students, of whom ...