Florida Residency Tuition

What is it?

The State of Florida offers in-state tuition rates to students who reside in the State of Florida. Students who are not residents of Florida for tuition purposes must pay additional out-of-state tuition. Undocumented students and students from mixed status families should be able to qualify for in-state tuition rates either by establishing Florida residency or by applying for an out-of-state tuition fee waiver.

Who qualifies?

In order for a student to qualify as a resident for tuition purposes, an independent student or a dependent student’s parent or legal guardian must have established and maintained legal residence in the State of Florida for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the first day of classes for the term for which the student is enrolling. Most student under the age of 24 are considered dependent students and therefore their residency status is determined based on their parent’s residence. The parents of a dependent student must provide residency documentation to establish residency for in-state tuition.

It is important that mixed-status families know about the requirements early so that they may begin the processes needed to obtain some of the documents. You will want to review Florida Statute 1009.21 Determination of resident status for tuition purposes to familiarize yourself with the required documentation. It is important to note that your parent’s immigration status need not be an obstacle to your obtaining this residency status. In fact, Florida has added a pathway to residency using a student’s high school transcript. Students who have completed two or more years in a Florida high school as reflected on their high school transcript, are eligible to use their high school transcript as one of the supporting documents needed to establish residency. The high school transcript may be used in place of a driver’s license or voter’s registration card, which eases the process for undocumented students and parents. Students who are seeking this option must apply for admission to an institution of higher education within 12 months of high school graduation. If you or your parent has difficulty obtaining any of the additional documentation like a utility bill or lease agreement, you should contact the college or universities’ admissions office and work with them to find a solution. Be sure to familiarize yourself with all required documentation early on so that you are prepared when the time comes.

What if I am undocumented?

Another path to in-state tuition which may be used by undocumented students is the out-of-state tuition waiver. This waiver is available to students who attend a Florida secondary school for three consecutive years immediately before graduating from a Florida high school. This tuition waiver allows eligible students to pay the in-state tuition rate and is available to all students who meet criteria including those students who are undocumented for federal immigration purposes. It is important to note that students who are seeking an out-of-state tuition waiver must apply for admission to an institution of higher education within 24 months of graduation. This means that even if you plan to take a gap year or two, you should apply to a post-secondary institution in the state during your senior year.

Always remember that there are professionals both at your high school and at the post-secondary institution who are available to support you with the process of establishing residency status for tuition purposes. Establishing in-state tuition should not be a barrier for any student.