Residency Classification for Tuition Purposes

Tuition rates vary based on residency. Florida, Alabama and Military beneficiary applicants must complete residency verification in order to qualify for their tuition rate.


Residency verification documentation cannot be evaluated until after a student is admitted or cleared for admission to the University.

Whose Documentation is Needed?

Residency Rules & Regulations
  • It is important to be aware that Florida Statute Section 1009.21 declares that all admitted students are non-residents until an independent review provides sufficient information to change the decision permanently. The burden of proof to overturn the original decision remains with the student.
  • Since every applicant is presumed to be a non-resident until sufficient proof is provided, Florida Law prohibits students from being granted the benefit of the doubt on residency-related issues. Students will need to provide sufficient documentation to reverse a residency decision, and they must provide that information prior to the start of classes.
Residency Classification: Independent or Dependent?

Determining dependent or independent status provides the basis for whether the student or the parent/guardian submits documentation for residency determination.  Any one of the following criteria, would permit a student to be classified as an independent for the determination of Florida 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.
  • If a student is younger than 24, who claim to be independent, they will need to provide proof of parent's / guardian's decision NOT to claim them as dependents to verify their independent status.
  • Married.
  • If a student is/was (until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court.
  • The student has children who receive more than half of their support from you.
  • The student has other dependents that live with them and receive more than half of their support from you.
  • 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.
  • The student is classified as an independent by the Financial Aid Office at UWF.

Evidence for any of the criteria will be requested.  If you do not meet one of the criteria outlined above, you may be classified as an independent student only with documentation that you provide fifty (50) percent or more of the cost of attendance for independent, in-state students as defined by the Financial Aid Office at UWF (exclusive of federal, state, and institutional aid or scholarships).

Exceptions

According to Florida Statutes Section 1009.21 there are a handful of known exceptions.  The University of West Florida does require proper documentation is required:

  • The dependent’s parents are divorced, separated or otherwise living apart and either parent (even if not claiming the student) is a legal resident of Florida for the required 12-month period.
  • The student becomes a legal resident (FL driver's license, voter registration, domicile, etc. established and maintained less than the 12-month period) and is married to a person who has been a legal resident for the required 12 months period.
  • The student is a member of the Armed Forces on active duty stationed in Florida, or a spouse or dependent.
  • 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 thereof.
  • The student is a dependent and has lived five years with an adult relative who has established legal residence in Florida for the required 12-month period.

Florida Residency Tuition

To Qualify as "Florida Resident":
  • Residence in Florida must be a bona fide 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, a foreign national in a nonimmigrant visa classification that grants you the legal ability to establish a bona fide domicile in the United States, a permanent resident alien, or legal alien granted indefinite stay by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Other persons not meeting the twelve-month legal residence requirements may be classified as Florida residents for tuition purposes only if they fall within one of the limited special categories authorized by the Florida Legislature pursuant to section 1009.21, Florida Statutes. 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 upon out-of-state parents for support are presumed to be legal residents of the same state as their parents.
  • Residency for tuition purposes requires the establishment of legal ties to the state of Florida. Students must verify that they have broken ties to other states if the student or, in the case for dependent students, his or her parent has moved from another state.
Instructions for Claiming Florida Residency

All students who wish to claim Florida residency for tuition purposes must complete the Florida Residency Classification Form‌. Depending upon the review of your affidavit, additional documentation may be required to support your claim of residency for tuition purposes.

1. When you apply for admission you will be prompted to complete the residency affidavit. You do not have to submit the affidavit at the same time as the application; however, it must be completed and submitted prior to the start of classes. Additional documentation may be required to prove your claim of Florida residency for tuition purposes, so you want to make sure that you have enough time to submit the required items prior to the deadline. Since each affidavit is individually reviewed, it is in your best interest to submit the form as soon as possible.

2. Upon acceptance/clearance, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions individually reviews your residency documents and a determination is made on your residency status. This determination can be seen in a students My.UWF.edu application portal. If the form is incomplete, or if additional documentation is required, your application checklist will let you know what must be done to complete the residency determination process.

Acceptable Residency Documentation

At least two items from the following list of options are required to establish Florida residency for tuition purposes. The documents are used to establish the student, or parent/guardian, has resided in Florida for the consecutive 12 months that precede the start of the desired term of entry.

Documentation must come from the independent individual, whether that is the student or the parent/guardian of the student. For more information about Independent or Dependent Residency Classification.

Primary Documents

(Must have at least one of the two required documents submitted from this list)

    • Florida driver's license (if known to be held in another state previously, must have relinquished)
    • Florida identification card (if evidence of no ties to another state)Florida voter registration card
    • Florida vehicle registration
    • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida (at least 30 hours per week for a 12-month period)
    • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida that is occupied as a primary residence of the claimant
    • Transcripts from a Florida high school for multiple years (if Florida high school diploma or GED was earned within last 12 months)
    • Proof of homestead exemption in Florida

Secondary Documents 

(May be used in conjunction with one primary document)

    • Declaration of domicile in Florida (12 months from the date the document was sworn and subscribed as noted by the Clerk of Circuit Court)
    • 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, including: utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments, proof of bank account in Florida, lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments or a letter from landlord, or state or court documents evidencing legal ties to Florida

Be advised that successful documentation also suggests there should be no residential evidence to the contrary. Also, remember that this documentation is strongest when we have the original issue dates.


Military Students & Dependents

Instructions for Claiming Residency

All Active Duty or Military spouses/dependents must fully complete the Florida Residency Classification Form‌. Active duty and Military spouses/dependents should select a qualifying exception when complete their form.

V. QUALIFICATION BY EXCEPTION:

Exception E. Active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States residing in this state and their spouses and dependent children, and active drilling members of the Florida National Guard.
(Required to submit: a copy of military orders and/or DD2058 showing home of record.)

Exception F. Active duty members of the Armed Services of the United States and their spouses and dependents attending a Florida College System institution or state university within 50 miles of the military establishment where they are stationed, if such military establishment is within a county contiguous to Florida.
(Required to submit: a copy of military orders.) 

1. When you apply for admission you will be prompted to complete the residency affidavit. You do not have to submit the affidavit at the same time as the application; however, it must be completed and submitted prior to the start of classes. Active Duty and military dependents can be eligible to receive a temporary Florida Classification for Tuition purposes if appropriate documentation is received prior to the 1st day of classes.

2. Upon acceptance/clearance, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions individually reviews your residency documents and a determination is made on your residency status. This determination can be seen in the students My.UWF.edu application portal. If the form is incomplete, or if additional documentation is required, your application checklist will let you know what must be done to complete the residency determination process.


Alabama Residency Tuition

To Qualify as "Alabama Resident":

Alabama residents must be U.S. citizens, permanent resident aliens, or legal aliens granted indefinite stay by INS, and meet one of the following requirements to qualify for differential tuition:

  • Be an independent person, according to the Federal Income Tax Code who has established and maintained legal ties within the state of Alabama as evident by a combination of driver’s license, vehicle registration, voter registration, Declaration of Domicile, etc. for the previous 12 months. If qualifying as a spouse of a legal resident of Alabama, a copy of the marriage certificate is also required.
  • Be a dependent person, according to the Federal Income Tax Code, whose parent or legal guardian has established and maintained legal ties within the state of Alabama as evident by a combination of parent/guardian's most recent IRS tax return (section listing dependents) and parent/legal guardian's driver's license, vehicle registration, voter registration, Declaration of Domicile, etc. for the previous 12 months.
  • Be a member of the Armed Services of the United States, on active military duty pursuant to military orders, who is stationed within the state of Alabama or whose state of legal residence, as evident by the HOR or LES, is Alabama. If qualifying as a spouse of a qualified armed services member, a copy of the marriage certificate is also required. The most recent IRS tax return (section listing dependents) may be required for a dependent child.
Instructions for Claiming Alabama Residency

To qualify for Alabama Tuition Differential, students must complete the Alabama Residency Classification Form‌. Residents of Alabama are eligible for Alabama Tuition Differential, a reduced out-of-state tuition rate. For consideration Alabama residents must demonstrate:

  • US Citizenship
  • Independent or Dependent status on recent tax filings
  • Permanent Resident (green card holder) or legal alien granted indefinite stay by the US Department of Homeland Security
Acceptable Residency Documentation

At least two items from the following list of options are required to establish Alabama residency for tuition purposes. The documents are used to establish the student, or parent/guardian, has resided in Alabama for the consecutive 12 months that precede the start of the desired term of entry.

Documentation must be from the independent individual, whether that is the student or the parent/guardian of the student. For more information about Independent or Dependent Residency Classification.

Primary Documents

(Must have at least one of the two required documents submitted from this list)

    • Alabama driver's license (if known to be held in another state previously, must have relinquished)
    • Alabama identification card (if evidence of no ties to another state)Florida voter registration card
    • Alabama vehicle registration
    • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Alabama (at least 30 hours per week for a 12-month period)
    • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Alabama that is occupied as a primary residence of the claimant
    • Transcripts from an Alabama high school for multiple years (if Alabama high school diploma or GED was earned within last 12 months)
    • Member of the United States Armed Forces, on active duty pursuant to military orders, stationed within the state of Alabama or whose state of residence, evident by the HOR or LES, is Alabama.
    • Be the spouse of a qualified United States Armed Forces service member with a copy of the marriage certificate. Be the dependent child of a qualified United States Armed Forces service member with the most recent federal tax returns demonstrating the list of dependents.

Secondary Documents 

(May be used in conjunction with one primary document)

    • Declaration of domicile in Alabama (12 months from the date the document was sworn and subscribed as noted by the Clerk of Circuit Court)
    • An Alabama professional or occupational license
    • Any other documentation that supports the student's request for resident status, including: utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments, proof of bank account in Florida, lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments or a letter from landlord, or state or court documents evidencing legal ties to Alabama

Be advised that successful documentation also suggests there should be no residential evidence to the contrary. Also, remember that this documentation is strongest when we have the original issue dates.


Residency Resources

Verify Residency Classification is Correct

Correct Residency?

  • Search & select the "Application Status" app to view the status of your residency classification.
  • Verify residency classification under the "application status" app from MyUWF. It is important to note that Florida Statute Section 1009.21 declares that all admitted students are non-residents until an independent review provides sufficient information to change the decision permanently. The burden of proof to overturn the original decision remains with the student.
Residency Appeals
  • After the second week of classes (2nd Friday of the term), students wishing to change his/her residency classification for the current term must file a formal residency appeal. The matter will be referred to the University Residency Appeals Committee through the Office of Enrollment Affairs.
  • The appeal must be submitted in writing along with any additional supporting documentation to the Residency Appeals Committee Chair, Cindy Harigel, at charigel@uwf.edu. The Committee will review all information submitted with the appeal as well as previously submitted documents and related information in the student file. The Residency Appeals Committee meets as needed, but no more than once a week. You will be notified in writing of the decision following the final review. The decision of the University Residency Appeals Committee is final.

   

2016-2017 Estimated Annual Direct Cost

Direct CostsFlorida ResidentAlabama ResidentNon-FL Resident
$ per credit hour ($212) ($317) ($642)
Tuition* $6,360 $9,510 $19,260
Housing** $5,800 $5,800 $5,800
Meals*** $3,780 $3,780 $3,780
Total Est. Cost $15,940 $19,090 $28,840

*30 credit hours of Tuition & Fees: 1 year / 2 or 3 semesters
**Double occupancy: Fall & Spring in Pace, Argo, or Martin Hall
***12 meals per week plus $300 Argo "Food" Bucks: Fall & Spring

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