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Residency For Tuition Purposes

Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes

One of the most important factors when deciding to attend college is cost. It is essential to understand the many different options students have regarding how much college will cost. There is often a big difference in tuition and fees at private colleges and universities than public colleges and universities. Even within public schools, there is a significant difference in tuition and fees between students who are residents of the state versus those who reside in different states.

A "Florida resident for tuition purposes" is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent, legal guardian, or spouse, has established and maintained legal residence in Florida for at least twelve months before the first day of the academic term. Students seeking Florida residency for tuition purposes must submit required documentation to the college.

The individual college makes all residency decisions.

In-state vs. out-of-state for tuition purposes

The education system in the United States is controlled by individual states rather than by the federal government. Each state has its own public schools that are run and funded by the state. Funding for these schools comes from the state residents in the form of taxes. As a result, these state residents can attend public institutions at a lower cost than those not residents of the state. This cost to the state residents is referred to as in-state tuition. The cost to residents from other states is known as out-of-state tuition.

Students who are not Florida residents for tuition purposes are assessed an out-of-state fee. This fee will make the tuition bill for an out-of-state student approximately 3 1/2 times higher than the tuition bill for a Florida resident.

Dependent and Independent Students

The first step in deciding what type of documentation is required is to determine if the student is dependent or independent. Dependent students are required to submit the documentation proving the residency of their parent or legal guardian. Independent students are required to submit documentation validating their independent status.

Suppose the student qualifies as a dependent on a parent’s federal income taxes. In that case, the student is considered a dependent student, and one of the parents must provide proof of their residency.

If the student is 24-years-old or older, they are considered an independent student, and the student - not the parents - must provide proof of residency. If the student is under 24-years-old and married, active military personnel, a veteran, orphan, previously a ward of the state, in foster care, or provides more than 50% of their own financial support, the student may also be considered an independent student.

Florida Residency for In-State Tuition

To be considered a "Florida Resident for Tuition Purposes," students must prove through official or legal documents that they or the claimant have established bona fide domicile in the state of Florida for at least 12 months preceding the first day of classes of the term for which Florida residency is sought. Students do not receive credit for any time spent in Florida in prior years.

No single documentation is considered conclusive, and the burden of proof is on the student to show proof of residency.  

Please Note:

  • Students, who depend on out-of-state parents for support, are presumed to be legal residents of the same state as their parents.
  • Under Florida law, being a legal Florida resident does not automatically qualify one for in-state tuition.
  • It is essential for prospective students new to Florida to know that Florida residency cannot be established just by 12-month enrollment in a college.
  • Just graduating from a Florida high school is not sufficient proof of Florida residency for tuition purposes. Students must still submit the appropriate documentation to prove their bona fide domicile in the state of Florida for at least 12 months preceding the first day of classes of the term for which Florida residency is sought.
  • Homeownership does not automatically qualify one for Florida residency for tuition purposes. Residence in Florida must be as a bona fide domicile rather than maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education. Owning property in Florida while residing in another state will not of its own merit meet residency requirements.

Pursuant to section 1009.21, Florida Statutes, an individual initially classified as a nonresident for tuition purposes may apply to become eligible for reclassification to a Florida resident by presenting documentation and completing the residency reclassification application at the college.

Additional Information

Relevant Florida Statutes

Relevant Florida State Board of Education Rules

Contact the Division of Florida Colleges