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Definitions

To assist you in understanding the reclassification process, the following definitions are provided:



Bona Fide Domicile - A person's true, fixed and permanent state of residence. It is the place a person intends to remain and return to when one leaves without intending to establish domicile elsewhere. A student seeking reclassification must demonstrate the claimant has established bona fide domicile in Florida rather than maintaining a temporary residence incident to enrollment at the University.

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Claimant - The claimant is the person demonstrating evidence of establishing and maintaining a permanent legal residence in Florida for a minimum of 12 months. The claimant may be either the student or an individual on whom the student is basing the residency. In the latter case, the claimant may be the student's parent, legal guardian or spouse.  

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Declaration of Domicile - A Declaration of Domicile, pursuant to section 222.17, Florida Statues, is an affidavit filed with the Clerk of Court's office in the Florida county of residence. It is a sworn affidavit indicating the signatory is establishing a permanent, fixed residence in Florida and is relinquishing legal ties with the previous state of residence.  The filing date is evaluated in lieu of an issue date when this document is submitted as a legal tie to substantiate Florida residency.

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Dependent Student - A dependent student is one who relies on a parent or other individual to provide for a minimum of 51% of their support. Whether the student lives with the parent they are considered dependent if the parent is eligible to claim the student as such under the federal income tax code. Dependent students are considered a legal resident of the same state as their parents. It is assumed students under the age of 24 enrolled full-time are dependent unless they can clearly demonstrate otherwise.  

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Independent Student - A student is considered independent if the student meets one of the following conditions:
  • The student is 24 years old, OR
  • The student is married or has a dependent child, OR
  • The student is considered emancipated by virtue of the fact they are self supporting, OR
  • The student is admitted into graduate school.
If you claim to be self-supporting you must clearly demonstrate you provide for a minimum of 51% of your own support. You must convincingly document the following:
  • Your parent, relatives or friends make no provisions for your support, AND
  • Your parents no longer claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes, AND
  • Your parents are no longer eligible to claim you as a dependent for income tax purposes.
Note: Receipt of monetary gifts, personal loans, or financial support in the form of room & board or other expenses from the student's parents, other relatives, a significant other, or friends demonstrates that the student lacks independence and is financially dependent upon others. In such cases, the student is NOT considered independent.

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Legal Guardian - A legal guardian is one appointed by the Florida courts. If the claimant is your court-appointed legal guardian, submit a copy of the court decree naming the claimant as your guardian.  A person other than a parent claiming the student as a dependent for income tax purposes is not considered the student's legal guardian.

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Legal Ties to the State of Florida - The three documents must be dated/issued at least 12 months prior to the first day of the semester for which Florida residency is sought. No single document shall be conclusive. The student or claimant must also demonstrate an absence of legal ties to any other state than Florida, Continued legal ties with another state find against the establishment of a domicile in Florida.
  • Florida driver's license
  • Florida vehicle registration
  • Florida voter's registration
  • Declaration of Domicile
  • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida (While not enrolled in a public postsecondary institution in Florida)
  • Florida occupation/professional license
  • Florida incorporation or other evidence of legal residence in Florida (While not enrolled in a public postsecondary institution in Florida)
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Physical Presence - A student's physical presence in Florida for the requisite 12 months and maintenance of a place of residence is critical to support a claim of bona fide residence. Physical presence is not substantiated through continuous enrollment for the three terms prior to the term in which reclassification is sought. For periods of non-enrollment, a student can document physical presence in Florida with the proof of purchase of a permanent home, or full time permanent employment. (While not enrolled in a public postsecondary institution in Florida) Copies of leases, rent receipts, utility bills, and bank statements are used to prove the claimant is maintaining a residence in the state.

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