Establishing Florida Residency
Guidelines for the Reclassification of Non-Florida Residents to Florida Residency Status
POLICY: All non-resident U.S. citizens on an appointment must make a good faith effort to have their residency status changed to in-state after being enrolled for 12 months. This requires the student to take prescribed actions before the beginning of their first semester of enrollment and to apply for in-state residency status before the beginning of their second year. Currently enrolled students who have not applied for Florida residency status should do so immediately.
BACKGROUND: The Legislature provides funding to State universities to offset the cost of educating Florida students. Tuition covers a portion of the cost of education and the remainder comes from the State. Out-of-state residents receive only modest support from the Legislature in the form of tuition waiver authority.
Funding rates for Florida residents (in-state) are based on full-time equivalency. Although FTEs for both in-state and out-of-state students are calculated in Legislative funding models, the budget provided by the State of Florida builds in an expectation that every institution will collect the tuition associated with its in-state and out-of-state enrollments. In addition, each institution is granted some authority to waive tuition and fees, thereby removing some of the obligation to collect tuition.
For two reasons, it is critical to have all eligible non-Florida U.S. citizen residents reclassified as in-state residents. First, a significant tuition differential (between in-state and out-of-state students) increases the amount of UF’s expected collections. These collections offset UF’s general appropriation. Second, non-Florida students receive a large portion of the dollars associated with waivers granted by UF. Since UF spends more money than it has waiver authority to commit, the out-of-state waivers reduce the funds available to UF from collections.
Through June 30, 2009. the State of Florida permits out-of-state U.S. citizens or permanent resident aliens who meet certain criteria to be reclassified as in-state residents. International students are never eligible for classification as in-state residents. Students enrolled for the sole purpose of obtaining a degree, or who continue to be financially dependent on their parents, are not eligible for Florida residency status. However, graduate students who come to the university and accept employment (or a fellowship) may be considered independent of their parents. These students make contributions to the citizens of the State and are eligible for Florida residency status.
State laws are changing effective July 1, 2009. More information about changes to university policy will be posted when available.
FLORIDA RESIDENCY INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS
Information about becoming a Florida Resident is included herein or online at:
Before the beginning of your first semester and no later than the end of the drop/add period, there are certain things that you must do. Begin by consulting the official website above. The “Request for Residency Change Form” is critical to the process and lists a number of documents that you should have before the first day of enrollment.
Numerous items are listed in the documentation section of the form. It is necessary to prove from the preponderance of the documentation that residency has been established. The completed form is submitted to the Registrar’s Office and they make the final decision. Discussed below are items of documentation that are likely to result in establishment of residency. Immediately below are various comments and excerpts that indicate what legally constitutes a resident for tuition purposes.
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 residency in Florida for at least 12 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.
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. Graduate students who come to the university and accept employment (or a fellowship) make contributions to the citizens of the State and are eligible to apply for Florida residency status.
Actions to be taken to obtain residency for tuition purposes:
Obtain from the Alachua County Clerk of the Court a “Declaration of Domicile” form (here is a PDF from the Alachua County Clerk website: PDF). Complete the form and return it to the Official Records Office, Room 101, Alachua County Administrative Building, Main Street and University Avenue. There is a $15.00 charge for filing the form and you need a picture ID (check this website for current information on fees: http://www.clerk-alachua-fl.org/clerk/Recfees.html ). This form must be filed as soon as possible after you arrive in Gainesville and before the start of classes as it will be used to document the start of the 12 month residency period. Be sure to keep a copy of the declaration for filing with your “Request for Change in Residency Status” form.
(Even if you have been here for a year already, you must file this form FIRST before the 12-month period that counts! If you have not filed this form, you must do so IMMEDIATELY!)
Obtain a Florida Driver’s License (original birth certificate required along with secondary identification). If you do not have a car, then obtain a Florida identification card. These can be obtained from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Office. (http://www.hsmv.state.fl.us/ddl/faqkeys.html#USC)
Register to vote at the Alachua County Supervisor of Elections Office and obtain a Florida voter identification card. (You may register in whatever Florida county is appropriate for your residence.) (http://elections.alachua.fl.us/ )
Maintain a copy of your offer letter to use as proof of employment for the 12 month period.
If you own a vehicle, then register it in the State of Florida, by going to the Alachua County Tax Collector’s Office. (http://www.actcfl.org/. If you reside in another Florida county you may register your vehicle at the Tax Collector’s Office there.
Open a local bank account, as this provides additional documentation that you are a permanent resident.
If you file your own Federal income tax return as an independent person, you need to provide a copy of the latest return you filed as documentation when you file the “Request for Change in Residency Status” form with the Registrar’s Office.
If your parents or guardians claimed you as a dependent on their most recent return but are not going to claim you as a dependent on future returns, then they need to provide you with a notarized statement stating this.
Complete a University of Florida “Request for Change in Residency Status” form after you have been in Florida approximately 10 months but before tuition and fees are due in the first semester in which you have been a resident of Florida for 12 months. This form along with appropriate documentation is filed with the University of Florida Registrar’s Office, 201 Criser Hall, Gainesville, FL 32611-4000, telephone (352) 392-1374 ext. 7237. The form is available at http://www.registrar.ufl.edu/pdf/residencyreclass.pdf.
If you have complied with the above, it is likely, but not guaranteed, that the Registrar’s Office will change your residency status to “resident”. Becoming a Florida resident reduces the amount of tuition waivers charged to the University, College, and Department. These cost savings are rolled back into support for the entire graduate enterprise.
This is important. If you do not do this, you could become liable for paying the out-of-state tuition fees.
Don’t Forget!! ALWAYS keep a copy for your file of every single paper you submit. The information contained herein is accurate to the best of our knowledge. If you discover that anything has changed, please notify us by calling Teresa Richardson at 273-8602.