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Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies

Florida Gulf Coast University
Office of Research and Graduate Studies

10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Howard Hall 202
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565


Document submission:

Phone: (239) 590-7988
Fax: (239) 590-7843
Toll Free: (800) 590-3428
option 6, extension 7988



Palm trees in front of FGCU dormsEvery incoming graduate student in the state of Florida must establish your status as a Florida Resident or Non-Florida Resident for tuition purposes.

Once term registration has closed, changes to residency status are not permitted.

Florida Residents

U.S. citizens, lawful permanent residents, and certain non-U.S. citizens may be classified as a Florida resident for tuition purposes provided legal residence has been established in the State for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the first day of classes of the term for which Florida residency is sought. 

Eligible students are encouraged to submit a Residency Classification Form and supporting documentation. Residency classification is reviewed only for students who have received an offer of admission. Students may still send documents while their applications are in progress, however these documents are not needed to complete the application. 

All applicants are considered 'non-Florida residents' until satisfactory proof of Florida residency is received. Failure to provide all relevant information and required documentation could result in a 'non-Florida resident' classification for tuition purposes. All documentation must be submitted prior to the last day of the drop/add period for the term in which resident status is sought. 

Additional information and list of acceptable documents:

  1. First Tier (at least one of the two documents submitted must be from this list):
    1. Declaration of domicile in Florida (12 months from the date the document was sworn and subscribed as noted by the Clerk of Circuit Court)
    2. Florida voter registration
    3. Florida vehicle registration
    4. Florida driver's license (if known to be held in another state previously, must have relinquished) OR a State of Florida identification card (if evidence of no ties to another state)
    5. Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida that is occupied as a primary residence of the claimant
    6. Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida (one or more jobs for at least 30 hours per week for a 12-month period)
    7. Transcripts from a Florida high school for multiple years (if Florida high school diploma or GED was earned within last 12 months)
    8. Benefit histories from Florida agencies or public assistance programs.
  2. Second Tier (may be used in conjunction with one document from First Tier):
    1. A Florida professional or occupational license
    2. Florida incorporation
    3. Documents evidencing family ties in Florida
    4. Proof of membership in Florida-based charitable or professional organizations
    5. Any other documentation that supports the student's request for resident status
    6. Utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payment
    7. Lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payment
    8. State or court documents evidencing legal ties to Florida
  3. No contrary evidence establishing residence elsewhere.
  4. Documentation of dependent/independent status (copy of most recent IRS tax return). Federal Income tax returns filed by resident(s) of a state other than Florida disqualify the student for in-state tuition, unless:
    1. The student's parents are divorced, separated or otherwise living apart and either parent is a legal resident of Florida, or
    2. The student becomes a legal resident and is married to a person who has been a legal resident for the required 12 months period, or
    3. The student is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty stationed in Florida, or a spouse or dependent, or
      The student is a member of the full-time instructional or administrative staff of a state public school, community college or university in Florida, or a spouse or dependent, or
    4. The student is a dependent and has lived five years with an adult relative who has established legal residence in Florida. 

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 Forces for purposes other than training;
  • Both of the student's parents are deceased or the student is or was (until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court;
  • The student is working on a master's or doctoral degree during the term for which residency status is sought at a Florida institution; or
  • The student is classified as an independent by the financial aid office at the institution. 

Dependent Students: Applicants claiming residency as a dependent must have a parent/other complete the form and provide a copy of their most recent tax return, which must list the applicant as a dependent. Residency must be verified using only one person's documents. Note: Graduate and Post-Baccalaureate Non-Degree students can claim residency as an independent even if they are a dependent on their parents' taxes IF they can prove at least 12 months residency with their own two IDs.

  • International Students do not qualify for in-state tuition.
  • USCIS Permanent Resident Cards or other documentation is required to prove legal US residency, but this does not prove Florida residency.
  • Social Security Cards, passports, property ownership, health insurance, vehicle insurance, and school and university ID cards do not prove Florida residency.

If you have any questions about your status as a Florida resident, please e-mail us.