Disclaimer: The following FAQs are illustrative of actual situations and questions about residency scenarios. Regardless of information provided here, ultimately SPC is governed by applicable state statutes regarding residency for tuition purposes.
Who has to provide proof of residency to get the lower tuition rate?
Every applicant to SPC must show proof of residency. This means that you must complete a Residency Affidavit. By law, if you do not provide proof of residency when you apply, SPC has no choice but to classify you as a nonresident and charge you the higher tuition rate. If you are under the age of 24, you are considered a dependent student, and your parent will most likely have to complete the Residency Affidavit.
How do I prove that I am a Florida resident for tuition purposes?
You must provide specific documentation that can be verified to qualify as a Florida resident for the lower in-state tuition rate. During the initial application process, you only have to provide two sources of proof. For many students, it is as easy as typing in their own (or their parent’s) Florida driver’s license number, Florida vehicle registration number, or Florida voter's registration number on our online application.
What are the deadlines for residency documentation?
- Documentation must be submitted on or before the first day of the term for which you are enrolling. Check the Academic Calendar to verify the first day of classes.
- Documentation must prove that you have lived in Florida for at least 12 consecutive months before the first day of classes.
Can you make exceptions to the documentation and deadline requirements?
The only exceptions we can allow are the statutory exceptions that are built into the law, and even then, documentation must be submitted before the first day of classes. All public colleges and universities are bound by the same standards and are subject to the same state audits. For this reason, SPC cannot make exceptions regarding residency documentation or deadlines.
What happens if my documents do not meet the requirements?
If your documents do not verify as you expected, your status will be changed to nonresident and you will have to apply for reclassification. You will have until the first day of classes to submit any additional documents to support your claim of residency. However, if you do not provide sufficient documentation, you will be assessed out-of-state fees and later, you can request a reclassification of residency. However, the burden of proof for reclassification is stricter, requiring three verified documents as opposed to the two that are required in the initial application.
What is the difference between Tier 1 and Tier 2 documents?
The Florida law is very specific about what is considered a Tier 1 or Tier 2 document. At least one of the documents being used to prove Florida residency must be a tier 1 document. The other documents can be from Tier 1 as well, or, the Tier 2 category.
I have been incarcerated for the last year, was just released, but don’t have a current driver’s license, and my voter’s registration has been revoked. Can I prove residency for tuition purposes?
It depends. SPC will require documentation that you lived in Florida for 12 months before your incarceration. You may have lived in Michigan but were arrested in Florida and served time in Florida. Therefore, you must provide Tier 1 and Tier 2 documentation to prove your physical presence in Florida for 12 months before your last incarceration. If you have been released for a year or longer, you must provide documentation for the most recent 12 months. Please provide a copy of your sentencing history so that we may verify the dates you were incarcerated.
My parents live in Ohio. A couple of years ago I came to Florida to live with my grandmother. She supports me, but she is not my legal guardian. Can I prove residency for tuition purposes?
There is a provision in law to consider adult relatives other than a parent if you are under the age of 24. If you cannot provide legal or court documents that your grandmother is your legal guardian, you may provide proof that you have lived with your grandmother for five years before enrolling at SPC and that she supported you during this period. Tax returns or other documentation may be required to document her support of you.
Classes start on January 9, but I have a driver’s license and vehicle registration proving 12 months of physical presence in Florida as of January 15. Can’t you make an exception and allow me to be classified as a Florida resident for tuition purposes since we are talking about only a few days difference?
No. However, if you begin classes during the express term, which starts about a month after the first day of the term, we can classify you as a Florida resident for tuition purposes provided you enroll only in express classes. You can’t be charged two different tuition rates in one term. You will have to wait until the later start date to receive in-state tuition.
I am under 24 but don’t live at home with my parents – I live with a roommate. The apartment is in her name and all of the utilities are in her name. I work but I cannot prove that I am independent because I do not make at least $7,828 a year; however, my parents do not claim me on their income tax. I have a valid Florida driver license and I have registered to vote. Both of these documents are more than 12 months old. Can I prove residency for tuition purposes?
It depends. If you cannot prove that you are independent by one of the criteria specified in the worksheet, you can submit a letter to the Director of Admissions. The letter must be compelling and document your circumstances.
My dad and I moved here last year when he married a woman who has lived in Florida for many years; she is now my stepmother. Can her residency be used (i.e., she would be the claimant) so that I can qualify for in-state residency?
It depends. If your new stepmother has legally adopted you, then yes, her Florida residency would permit her to be the claimant. You would be asked to show legal adoption papers. If she has not legally adopted you, then you will have to use your dad as the claimant.
I moved here from Ohio over a year ago and got a job in the area. However, I never changed my driver license from Ohio and I am still registered to vote in Ohio. Since I have been in Florida over a year, will I qualify for in-state tuition?
No. While you have been here a year, and can prove with documentation that you worked here, the fact that you kept legal ties to another state may keep you from getting in-state tuition. Be sure to change your state of legal residence very soon after moving here.
I have a vehicle registered in Florida that is valid because it is a Tier 1 document and also a utility bill in my name and proof of payments for 12 months. However, I never changed my driver license to Florida because I was just going to wait until my Ohio driver licensed expired at the end of the year. I brought my forms into the campus, but they are telling me that I don’t qualify for in-state tuition, even though I have two valid documents.
Residency for tuition purposes is more narrowly defined than physical residency in Florida. Students who maintain legal ties to another state (driver license, vehicle, voter) should relinquish those ties to be classified as a resident for tuition purposes.
I have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
Am I able to receive in-state fees?
No, not at this time. DACA students are not eligible to receive in-state fees according to the Florida Department of Education, Division of Colleges.