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Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability

Non-Residents Qualify Too Easily for Much Lower Resident Tuition Rates, Report No. 03-29, March 2003
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  • Florida subsidizes approximately 75% of tuition and fees of students classified as residents, while non-resident students pay higher tuition that covers the cost of their education.  Florida law provides that students are residents only if they or their parents have lived in the state for at least 12 months prior to their qualification as a resident. 
  • However, current residency classification criteria and procedures are unclear and inconsistently applied, jeopardizing the accuracy of residency determinations.  In particular, current law and rules do not provide adequate guidance for determining when students who initially enroll as non-Florida residents will become eligible for lower in-state tuition, and how student dependency status should be determined.  There is a common misperception that out-of-state students automatically qualify for lower in-state tuition after attending school for a year. 
  • If Florida eliminated the reclassification of non-resident students, institutions could receive $28.2 million in additional annual tuition revenue from non-residents if these individuals remained enrolled at a Florida public postsecondary institution.  

What other OPPAGA-related materials are available?

  • Report No. 06-57 Progress Report: Legislature Increases FRAG Awards; Residency Determination Rules Improved, published in August 2006.
  • Report No. 05-41 Progress Report: Department of Education Improves Rules Guiding Resident Tuition Determinations, published in August 2005.
  • Report No. 03-70 Justification Review: Private Colleges and Universities Program—Department of Education, published in December 2003.
  • Report No. 03-47 Information Brief: Compilation of College Affordability Data for Students Who Applied for Federal Aid, published in August 2003.

Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
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