When you start at UF you won’t be a Florida resident for tuition purposed (unless you already lived in Florida), and that is fine . Various graduate handbooks and forms say you must apply for Florida residency for tuition once you qualify, which is possible after living here for 1 year. This is important because “Out-of-state graduate students should add $17,394 to projected tuition/fees.”
Once you have been a resident of Florida for a year, you can petition to be reclassified as a Florida resident for tuition purposes. This happens through the registrar’s office, and involves a lot of paper. Basically, you gather all the documents you can find that have your name, a Florida address, and a date at least one year ago, and hand in a packet to the Registrar. I think the site says you need at least two documents, but it’s much better to be over-prepared (if they deny your petition you may appeal, but this takes a long time and it’s best to avoid it).
Here is UF’s official website about this: http://www.admissions.ufl.edu/afford/establishres
The documents that worked for Erica were: (everything should be a copy, they won’t return these things to you)
- Florida drivers license
- Voter registration card
- Apartment lease (the whole thing, not just the cover page)
- Utility bills for past 12 months
- Renters insurance policy
This document is from an IFAS Dean and outlines some of the official guidelines with links to the relevant Florida laws. Note that it states you cannot apply for residency if you only came to Florida for school. Yet this is the case for everybody in the Weecology lab, and everyone who has applied for residency has gotten it.
The people checking this read the law to the letter, which is something like “Legal documents showing residency of 12 months prior to the start of the semester”. After talking with a few people it seems the easiest way to do this is, as soon as you move to Gainesville and before your 1st semester starts go get your Florida drivers license, car registration, and register to vote. At the start of your 2nd year here these will then be legal docs that are dated 12 months from the present. If you really want to drive it home you can also do the Declaration of Domicile along with your license, voter registration, etc.
Shawn first submitted the following and got denied:
- Florida DL (not 12 months old, I got it in October my 1st semester).
- Most recent UFL paystub.
- Graduate assistantship letter from Ethan (showing the beginning date of 1 year prior).
- 1st page of my lease (dated more than 12 months prior).
He went thru the appeal process and got approved submitting the following:
- My full 12 page lease (My thinking was the 1st page was not a “legal document”).
- 12 months of rent check copes that my bank saves online.
Here is the form for residency reclassification: https://registrar.ufl.edu/pdf/residencyreclass.pdf
Renata submitted these and got denied twice:
- Full lease starting July before my first semester
- Florida DL
- Vehicle registration
- Letters of offer & appointment The second time also
- Copies of my rent checks starting in July before my first semester
I then called the Registrar and found out I also needed to provide my tax return (proving I filed as an independent and paid my own living expenses). They waived it for me and approved my reclassification, because as a grad student they knew I must be filing as an independent(?), but for anyone new it is good to know. The language in the form confused me - it doesn’t matter if you’re older or younger than 24, you need to submit a copy of your most recent tax return.