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Florida Resident

A Florida “resident for tuition purposes” is a person who has, or a dependent person whose parent or legal guardian has, established and maintained legal residence in Florida for at least twelve months. Residence in Florida must be as a bonafide domicile rather than for the purpose of maintaining a residence incident to enrollment at an institution of higher education. To qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes, you must be a U.S. Citizen, permanent resident alien, or legal alien granted indefinite stay by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. Other persons meeting the twelve-month legal residence requirement may be classified as Florida residents for tuition purposes only if they fall into one of the limited special categories authorized by the Florida Legislature and Florida Board of Education. All other persons are ineligible for classification as a Florida “resident for tuition purposes.” Living in or attending school in Florida will not, in itself, establish legal residence. Students who depend on out-of-state parents for support are presumed to be legal residents of the same state as their parents.

The determination of dependent or independent status is important because it is the basis for whether the student has to submit his/her own documentation of residency (as an independent) or his/her parent’s or guardian’s documentation of residency (as a dependent).


Required Documentation

At least one item must be from this list:

  • A Florida voter’s registration card.
  • A Florida driver’s license.
  • A State of Florida identification card.
  • A Florida vehicle registration.
  • Proof of a permanent home in Florida which is occupied as a primary residence by the individual or by the individual’s parent if the individual is a dependent child.
  • Proof of a homestead exemption in Florida.
  • Transcripts from a Florida high school for multiple years (2 or more years) if the Florida high school diploma or GED was earned within the last 12 months.
  • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida for at least 30 hours per week for a consecutive 12-month period.

Items listed below may be used in conjunction with one document from the above list:

  • A declaration of domicile in Florida.
  • A Florida professional or occupational license.
  • Florida incorporation.
  • A document evidencing verifiable family ties to a Florida resident, as defined by tuition purposes.
  • Proof of membership in a Florida-based charitable or professional organization.
  • Any other documentation that supports the student’s request for resident status, including, but not limited to, utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments; a lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments; or an official state, federal, or court document evidencing legal ties to Florida.

Exceptions and Qualifications

  • Qualified beneficiaries under the Stanley G. Tate Florida Pre-Paid College Program per s. 1009.98, F.S. (Pre-Paid ID Card Required). [s. 1009.98(2)(b)1, F.S.].
  • Persons who were enrolled as Florida residents for tuition purposes at a Florida public IHE, but who abandon Florida domicile and then re-enroll in Florida within 12 months of the abandonment – provided that he/she continuously maintains the re-established domicile in Florida during the period of enrollment. (This benefit only applies one time.) [s. 1009.21(9), F.S.].
  • 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 [s. 1009.21(10)(a), F.S.]; or military personnel not stationed in Florida whose home of record or state of legal residence certificate, DD Form 2058, is Florida (and spouse/dependent children). [s. 1009.21(2)(a), F.S.].
  • Active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States and their spouses/dependent children attending a public 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. [s. 1009.21(10)(b), F.S.].
  • United States citizens living on the Isthmus of Panama, who have completed 12 consecutive months of college work at the Florida State University Panama Canal Branch, and their spouses and dependent children. [s. 1009.21(10)(c), F.S.].
  • Full time instructional and administrative personnel employed by the State of Florida public school system and Florida public IHE (and spouse/dependent children). See Appendix A, Frequently Asked Questions, for definition of instructional and administrative personnel. [s. 1009.21(10)(d), F.S.].
  • Students from Latin America and the Caribbean who receive scholarships from the federal or state government. The student must attend, on a full-time basis, a Florida public IHE. See Section 7.0, Immigration and International Student Issues, for more information on the qualifying scholarships. [s. 1009.21(10)(e), F.S.].
  • Southern Regional Education Board's Academic Common Market graduate students attending Florida's state universities. [s. 1009.21(10)(f), F.S.].
  • Full-time employees of state agencies or political subdivisions of the state when the student fees are paid by the state agency or political subdivision for the purpose of job-related law enforcement or corrections training. [s. 1009.21(10)(g), F.S.].
  • McKnight Doctoral Fellows and Finalists who are United States citizens. [s. 1009.21(10)(h), F.S.].
  • United States citizens living outside the United States who are teaching at a Department of Defense Dependent School or in an American International School and who enroll in a graduate level education program which leads to a Florida teaching certificate. [s. 1009.21(10)(i), F.S.].
  • Active duty members of the Canadian military residing or stationed in this state under the North American Air Defense (NORAD) agreement, and their spouses and dependent children, attending a public community college or university within 50 miles of the military establishment where they are stationed. [s. 1009.21(10)(j), F.S.].
  • Active duty members of a foreign nation's military who are serving as liaison officers and are residing or stationed in this state, and their spouses and dependent children, attending a community college or state university within 50 miles of the military establishment where the foreign liaison officer is stationed. [s. 1009.21(10)(k), F.S.].
  • Linkage Institute participants receiving partial or full exemptions from s. 1009.21, F.S., based on criteria approved by the Florida Department of Education per s. 288.8175(5), F.S., which establishes linkage institutes between postsecondary institutions in this state and foreign countries. See Section 7.0, Immigration and International Student Issues, for more information on Linkage Institutes. [s. 288.8175(5), F.S.].

Dependent Student

A student, whether or not living with his or her parent, who is eligible to be claimed by his or her parent under the federal income tax code shall be classified as a dependent student.

Parent. “Parent” means either or both parents of a student, any guardian of a student, or any person in a parental relationship to the student.” [s. 1009.21(1)(f), F.S.]

In order to be considered a “qualifying child” or “dependent” for federal income tax code purposes, the following must be true:

  • The child must be your son, daughter, or stepchild, foster child, brother, sister, half-brother, half sister, stepbrother, stepsister, or a descendent of any of them.
  • The child must be one of the following:
    • under age 19 at the end of the year and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly),
    • under age 24 at the end of the year and a full-time student and younger than you (or your spouse, if filing jointly), or
    • any age if permanently and totally disabled.
  • The child must have lived with you for more than half of the year subject to IRS exceptions.
  • The child must not have provided more than half of his/her own support for the year.
  • The child is not filing a joint return for the year (unless that joint return is filed only as a claim for refund of withheld income tax or estimated tax paid).

Some individuals cannot be claimed as a dependent. Generally, a married person cannot be claimed as a dependent if they file a joint return with their spouse. Also, to claim someone as a dependent, that person must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. resident alien, U.S. national or resident of Canada or Mexico for some part of the year. There is an exception to this rule for certain adopted children. See IRS Publication 501, Exemptions, Standard Deduction, and Filing Information for additional tests to determine who can be claimed as a dependent.

Independent Student

A student who meets any one of the following criteria shall be classified as an independent student for the determination of residency for tuition purposes:

  • The student is 24 years of age or older by the first day of classes of the term for which residency status is sought at a Florida institution.
  • The student is married.
  • The student has children who receive more than half of their support from the student;
  • The student has other dependents who live with and receive more than half of their support from the student.
  • The student is a veteran of the United States Armed Forces or is currently serving on active duty in the United States Armed Forces1 or National Guard or Reserves for purposes other than training.
  • At any time since the student turned age 13, where both of the student’s parents are deceased, or the student is or was (until age 18) one of the following:
    • a ward/dependent of the court or
    • in foster care
  • The student is determined an unaccompanied homeless youth by a school district homeless liaison, or by a staff member of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.
  • The student is working on a master’s or doctoral degree during the term for which residency status is sought at a Florida institution

Evidence that the student meets one of these criteria will be requested by the higher education institution. A student who does not meet one of the criteria outlined in section 3.1 may be classified as an independent student only if he or she submits documentation that he or she provides more than fifty (50) percent of the cost of attendance for independent, in-state students as defined by the institution.

Please note: All residency reclassification requests are subject to Florida Statute 1009.21 and State Board of Education Rule 6A-10.044 which was adopted by the Florida Board of Governors on September 6, 2006.