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Frequently Asked Questions

 

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All · DCF Fee Exemptions · General Information · Homeless Fee Exemption · Military Service & Residency · Purple Heart Waivers · Student Housing

DCF Fee Exemptions


1. What is the Department of Children and Families (DCF) fee exemption?
    According to Florida law, some students who were in DCF custody, adopted, in a relative’s custody or placed in court guardianship may be exempted from paying tuition and fees at Florida College System institutions.


2. I want to attend a Florida College System institution. How do I know if I am eligible for this exemption?
    You could be eligible for the fee exemption if you meet one of the following criteria:
  • You were in the custody of DCF when you turned 18.
  • You were adopted from DCF after May 5, 1997.
  • You were in the custody of a relative when you reached the age of 18.
  • You were placed in a guardianship by the court after reaching age 16 and spent at least 6 months in the custody of DCF.



3. I am currently living on my own and am over 18 years old. Am I still eligible for this exemption?
    If you meet any of the criteria listed above you may be eligible to receive the DCF fee exemption until you reach 28 years of age.


4. What paperwork is needed to determine if I’m eligible?
    To qualify, you should complete form CF-FSP 5220 (PDF), available from DCF’s website. You will need to work with a DCF representative to obtain the necessary signatures. Each college is different, so you need to ask the college you’re interested in attending about what is required.


5. What does the exemption cover?
    This exemption covers tuition and fees only. This means that you will be required to pay other costs associated with college, such as textbooks, housing and food. Be sure to talk with the financial aid office and admissions office about additional fees.


6. What are other options to help pay for college?
    There are many ways of keeping college affordable. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. The FAFSA is used by the college to determine eligibility for federal and state aid. The exemption does not cover the cost of books, housing or food. FAFSA can help you determine other sources of aid to help with costs not covered by the exemption. View federal and state financial aid programs.

General Information


1. I have recently moved to Florida. Can you tell me which college is located closest to my new address?
    Visit our listing of the colleges.


2. What programs are offered at the colleges?
    Visit our list of academic programs by college. Other valuable information can be found on the Florida Virtual Campus website.


3. Am I eligible for in-state tuition? How can I establish residency for tuition purposes?
    Registrar offices at the colleges can answer specific questions about residency for tuition purposes.

For more detailed information, please refer to the following links:

  • Section 1009.21, Florida statutes
  • Rule 6A-10.044, Florida Administrative Code
  • Guidelines on Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes (PDF)



  • 4. Where can I find information about state financial aid programs?
        You should visit your college’s financial aid office and speak with a financial aid officer. For additional information, visit the Office for Student Financial Assistance.


    5. How can I get a copy of my transcript?
        Contact the registrar's office at the college you attended. You can visit our directory of colleges to find contact information. Typically, a request for official transcripts must be made in writing. There may also be a fee associated with the request.


    6. What services and accommodations are available for me as a student with a disability?
        Services and accommodations are provided to students based on individual need and ability. Reasonable substitutions may be provided on admission to the college, into a program of study, for entry into the upper division and for graduation, as specified in Sections 1007.264 and 1007.265, Florida Statutes.

    Typical accommodations include extended time on exams, note takers, preferred classroom seating, alternate locations for exams, and use of adaptive technology. Accommodations will vary by college.




    7. If I graduate from a Florida college with an Associate in Arts (AA) degree, will I be automatically admitted to the state university of my choice?
        Florida has a statewide articulation agreement which guarantees that a college Associate in Arts (AA) degree graduate must be admitted into a state university upon graduation provided that the student has met all requirements for the AA degree and maintained a 2.0 cumulative grade point average. However, this does not mean that every AA graduate will be admitted at the state university of his/her choice or into the upper division program of his/her choice. Application for admission to state universities (particularly into specific degree programs) can be a highly competitive process, so student performance in the AA program may be taken into consideration.


    8. If I begin my college career at a Florida college, will I be able to transfer to a university before earning an AA degree?
        It is possible to transfer from a Florida college to a 4-year university prior to earning an AA degree, but the criteria for admissions for those students wishing to transfer before earning the AA degree is similar to that of students applying directly out of high school (i.e. more competitive). In addition, early transfer may result in students having to take additional courses to receive an AA degree. In order to ease the transition from a college to a university, it is recommended that students complete the AA degree at a college prior to transferring to a university.


    9. I have noticed that many Florida colleges have changed their name. Does this mean that the institutions still have an open door admissions policy?
        Yes, all 28 colleges in the system have an open door admissions policy. Some colleges have dropped “community” from their name, while others have added “state;” however, all of the colleges remain open door institutions. Upon admission, students are required to take the CPT, ACT, or SAT to determine placement in developmental and college-ready courses, and there is no GPA or SAT/ACT score required for admission.

    Homeless Fee Exemption


    1. What is the Homeless Fee Exemption?
        According to Florida law, a student who is homeless may be exempted from paying tuition and fees at a Florida College System institution. For the purpose of the fee exemption, Florida law defines homelessness as, “A student who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence or whose primary nighttime residence is a public or private shelter designed to provide temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.”


    2. How can I find out if I am eligible for the exemption?
        If you think you may be eligible for the homeless exemption, you should speak with someone in the admissions and financial aid offices of the college you seek to attend.


    3. What paperwork is needed to determine if I’m eligible?
        To qualify, students may need documentation from a homeless shelter, school district homeless liaison, transitional living program, runaway shelter or other documentation requested by the college. Each college has its own process, so you need to ask the college you’re interested in attending about what is required.


    4. What does the exemption cover?
        This exemption covers tuition and fees only. This means that you will be required to pay other costs associated with college, such as textbooks, housing and food. Be sure to talk with the financial aid office and admissions office about additional fees.


    5. What are other options to help pay for college?
        There are many ways of keeping college affordable. Students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as early as possible. The FAFSA is used by the college to determine eligibility for federal and state aid. The exemption does not cover the cost of books, housing or food. FAFSA can help you determine other sources of aid to help with costs not covered by the exemption. View federal and state financial aid programs.

    Military Service & Residency


    1. What do I need to know about Florida residency for tuition purposes?
        Students who are classified as Florida residents for tuition purposes pay a lower cost per credit hour than students who are non-residents. Residents may also have access to scholarships and grants that are not available for non-residents.


    2. How does my status as an active duty member of the military affect my residency status?
        Active duty members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, any current reservists, and active Florida National Guard are afforded some residency protections under Florida law. The following military personnel are classified as residents for tuition purposes:
    • Active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States residing or stationed in Florida (and spouse/dependent children) and active drilling members of the Florida National Guard.
    • Military personnel (and spouse/dependent children) not stationed in Florida whose home of record or state of legal residence certificate is Florida (as noted on an approved DD Form 2058, State of Legal Residence Certificate, or a Leave and Earning Statement, also called an LES or the Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Form 702).
      • An individual shall not lose his or her resident status solely by reason of his/her service or, if the individual is a dependent child, his/her parent’s service in the Armed Forces outside this state.
    • Active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States and their spouses/ dependent children attending a public community college or university within 50 miles of the military establishment where they are stationed, if such military establishment is within a county contiguous to Florida, shall be classified as residents.



    3. I am currently assigned to a military base in Florida but I have not lived here for 12 months. Am I still eligible to be considered a resident for tuition purposes?
        Yes. Under Florida law you are considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes.


    4. I am currently assigned to a military base in Florida, but I am living across the border in a different state. Am I eligible for residency status for tuition purposes?
        Maybe. If you attend Florida college within 50 miles of the military establishment where you are stationed that is within a county that borders Florida, you are eligible to be considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes.


    5. I am a resident of Florida but I have been assigned to duty in a different state/country. Am I eligible to be considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes?
        Yes. If your home of record or state of legal residence on your military forms is certified as Florida, you are considered a Florida resident for tuition purposes. Here are some forms you could use to verify your Florida residency:
    • DD Form 2058
    • State of Legal Residency Certificate
    • Leave and Earning Statement (LES)
    • Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) Form 702



    6. Are my family members eligible for residency status as well?
        Yes, your spouse or dependents are eligible for all the same protections described above under Florida law.


    7. I am a veteran of the armed services. Does this mean that I am eligible to be considered a resident for tuition purposes?
        Veterans must meet the same residency requirements as other students who are not automatically considered Florida residents for tuition purposes. However, a recently-discharged veteran may be eligible for residency if his or hers home of record is Florida.

    Residency is important because the Veterans Administration and GI Bill only provide support for in-state tuition and fee costs at public institutions. Find out more information on the post-9/11 GI Bill and the Yellow Ribbon Program.



    Purple Heart Waivers


    1. What is the Purple Heart Waiver?
        The Purple Heart Waiver is found in Florida law. It provides tuition and fee waivers for Florida military veterans who have received a purple heart OR combat decoration that is “superior in precedence.” To be eligible, you must prove you are a current resident for tuition purposes.


    2. What medals are “superior in precedence?”
        Here is a list of medals that would fall under the “superior in precedence” criteria:
    • Purple Heart
    • Bronze Star (must be “V” designation or device)
    • Distinguished Flying Cross
    • Legion of Merit (must be “V” designation or device)
    • Silver Star
    • Air Force Cross
    • Navy Cross
    • Distinguished Service Cross
    • Medal of Honor



    3. What does the waiver cover?
        The Purple Heart Waiver covers the tuition and fees toward a degree or certificate program up to 110% of the required hours for the program of study. An eligible student enrolled in any associate degree, baccalaureate degree, or career and technical certificate program at a Florida College System institution would qualify.


    4. What sorts of costs are NOT covered by this waiver?
        This waiver covers tuition and fees only. This means that you will be required to pay for other costs, such as textbooks, housing and food.

    The waiver does not cover tuition and fees after students earn 110 percent of the required credit hours for their programs of study.




    5. Do I need to be a full-time student to receive the waiver?
        No. You can be a full-time or part-time student to receive this waiver.


    6. Am I eligible for the waiver if I’m a non-degree seeking student?
        No. You must be enrolled in a certificate or degree program.


    7. What paperwork do I need?
        To determine eligibility for the waiver, you must submit documents showing you received the Purple Heart and were a Florida resident at the time of the military action that resulted in the awarding of the combat decoration.

    Here are examples of the type of documentation you may need:

    • DD-214 form, military separation document
    • DD-2058 form, military state of legal residence certificate
    • Leave and Earning Statement (LES) or the Defense Finance and Accounting Service(DFAS) Form 702, which specifies place of residence
    • Letter or affidavit from the military administrative office verifying residence at the time of combat
    • One or more state or federal documents evidencing legal ties to Florida (e.g., homestead exemption, driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter id).

    Work with your college to determine what paperwork you should submit. To determine eligibility for the waiver, you also need to be a current Florida resident. The requirements for Florida residency for tuition purposes are set forth in Florida law. Find out more!




    8. Are active duty military personnel eligible for this waiver?
        Yes. Certain active duty military personnel may be eligible for this waiver. Contact your college if you’re interested in learning more.


    9. Are there other financial aid opportunities available to veterans?
        Yes. Contact your college’s financial aid office for additional financial aid opportunities.

    Student Housing


    1. What colleges offer student housing?
        Here is a list of Florida College System institutions that provide unique housing opportunities for students:

    College of Central Florida
    Edison State College
    Florida Keys Community College
    Hillsborough Community College
    Indian River State College
    Northwest Florida State College
    Tallahassee Community College



    2. I do not plan to attend any of the institutions listed above but am curious about student housing or options for living that are close to campus. What should I do?
        Contact the admissions or enrollment office at the campus you plan to attend. They can provide resources and recommendations for living near campus.


    3. I have a Florida Prepaid plan. How do I find out if there is housing that will accept my prepaid plan near the institution I plan to attend?
        Visit the Prepaid website to find information on the dormitory plan.