At Polk State College, Florida residents pay lower fees than out-of-state students. Residency Guidelines have been developed by a state committee to assist colleges in the administration of Florida Statutes.
The state law is found in Section 1009.21, Florida Statutes, Rules 6A-10.044, and 6A-20.003, Florida Administrative Code; and the Board of Governors (BOG) Residency Regulation. The guidelines, as maintained by the Statewide Residency Committee, are used to determine residency status for tuition purposes in public colleges and universities. Updated guidelines can be found at www.FloridaShines.org. Polk State College recommends that all new students review these guidelines as there are many ways to meet the residency requirement.
A student who believes that he or she qualifies for a special classification after reviewing the Residency Guidelines should provide documentation to the Admission and Registrar's Office on the Winter Haven or Lakeland campus, or the JD Alexander-Center along with a Residency Declaration. Persons unable to provide documentation according to the state guidelines indicating that they have met the definition of a Florida resident are charged at the non-resident rate. A Residency Committee has been established to hear student appeals to the College's initial residency evaluation. Appeals are written on the petition section of the Residency Declaration found in the Admission and Registrar's offices at all campuses and centers. The decision of the Residency Committee is final. The completed Residency Declaration and all supporting documents are submitted to the Admission and Registrar's Office.
The state offers a variety of exemptions and waivers for the out-of-state portion of the tuition, found in F.S. 1009.26. Some examples of populations who qualify for waivers or exemptions are Veteran's, their spouses and dependents, children of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty, veteran's who are recipients of he Purple Heart, and children from Florida's foster care system. Once a student demonstrates he or she does not qualify for residency, exemptions and waivers can be applied. Because waivers and exemptions are varied there is no single location in state statute that lists all exemptions and waivers. Students are encouraged to research on their own, and refer to the Admission Steps to Polk State which lists the most commonly used ones. Students must provide evidence that they qualify for a waiver or exemption for a term before the drop deadline for that term.
Note that while the Admission and Registrar's offices make every attempt to validate residency documentation as entered on the admission application, the ultimate responsibility to ensure that residency requirements have been satisfied belongs to the student. Once the drop deadline passes, residency status cannot be adjusted regardless of waiver, exemption, benefit, documentation, or appeal.