Tuition Fees and Student Accounts

2020-2021 Catalog Year

Residency for Tuition Purposes

Current FGCU students, classified as non-Florida residents, who seek reclassification must contact the Office of the Registrar.

Residency for Tuition Purposes

Tuition and fees at each institution within the State University System of Florida are set by the Florida Legislature upon recommendation by the State Board of Governors. Enrolled students are charged tuition and fees based on their residency classification as either Florida resident or non-Florida resident. Those classified as Florida residents pay less in fees per credit hour than do those classified as non-Florida residents. 

The requirements for Florida residency status are defined by Florida state statute Section 1009.21. Generally, a person is considered a resident of Florida for the purpose of paying taxes, voting or other legal purposes after residing in the state for a designated length of time. However, state statute requires additional requirements for a student to be classified as a Florida resident for tuition purposes. Most importantly, living in or attending school in Florida will not, in itself, establish legal residence for tuition purposes.

Initial residency classification is determined by the Office of Admissions after applicants have been admitted to the university. All applicants are considered non-Florida residents until they provide proof otherwise. Failure to provide all relevant information and required documentation in a timely manner could result in a non-Florida resident classification for tuition purposes. An online Florida Residency Declaration For Tuition Purposes form is available to provide the necessary documentation as described below. All admitted students will be sent this online link. 

Florida residency for tuition purposes status is only for those residents who reside in the state permanently with established legal domicile in Florida. Permanent Florida residency is demonstrated by the absence of ties to any other state and establishment of a bona fide domicile in Florida. The following information is summarized from the Florida statutes and from policies approved by the State Board of Governors.

To qualify as a Florida resident for tuition purposes, a student must:

Be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien, parolee, Cuban national, Vietnamese refugee or other refugee or asylee as designated by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service; and

Have established a legal residence in this state and maintained that legal residence for 12 months preceding the first day of classes of the term in which Florida residency classification is sought. The student's residence in Florida must be as a bona fide domiciliary rather than for the purpose of maintaining a mere temporary residence incidental to enrollment in an institution of higher education, and should be demonstrated as indicated below (for dependent students, as defined by IRS regulations, a parent or guardian must qualify); and

Submit the following documentation (or in the case of a dependent student, the parent must submit documentation prior to the last day of the drop/add period for the term in which resident status is sought; along with a residence affidavit) to the Office of Admissions. At least two of the following documents must be submitted, with dates that evidence the 12-month qualifying period. At least one of the documents must be from the First Tier. As some evidence is more persuasive than others, more than two may be requested. No single piece of documentation will be considered conclusive. Additionally, there must be an absence of information that contradicts the applicant's claim of residency.

First Tier (at least one of the two documents submitted must be from this list):

  • Declaration of domicile in Florida (12 months from the date the document was sworn and subscribed as noted by the Clerk of Circuit Court)
  • Florida voter registration
  • Florida vehicle registration
  • 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)
  • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida that is occupied as a primary residence of the claimant
  • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida (one or more jobs for at least 30 hours per week for a 12-month period)
  • Transcripts from a Florida high school for multiple years (if Florida high school diploma or GED was earned within last 12 months)
  • Benefit histories from Florida agencies or public assistance programs

Second Tier (may be used in conjunction with one document from First Tier):

  • A Florida professional or occupational license
  • Florida incorporation
  • Documents evidencing family ties in Florida
  • Proof of membership in Florida-based charitable or professional organizations
  • Any other documentation that supports the student's request for resident status
  • Utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payment
  • Lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payment
  • State or court documents evidencing legal ties to Florida

There must not be any contrary evidence establishing residence elsewhere. 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:

  • The student's parents are divorced, separated or otherwise living apart and either parent is a legal resident of Florida, or
  • The student becomes a legal resident and is married to a person who has been a legal resident for the required 12-month period, or
  • 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
  • The student is a dependent and has lived five years with an adult relative who has established legal residence in Florida

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 U.S. armed forces or is currently serving on active duty in the 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

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 above may be classified as an independent student only if he or she submits documentation that he or she provides fifty (50) percent or more of the cost of attendance for independent, in-state students as defined by the financial aid office at the institution (exclusive of federal, state and institutional aid or scholarships).

The Office of Admissions reserves the right to require additional documentation in order to determine the resident status of any student. If Florida residency status for the purpose of tuition is denied, the student may file an appeal to the Office of Admissions.