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 Statute Section 1009.21, State Board of Education Rules 6A-10.044 and 6A-20.003, the 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 (cf. updated guidelines available at www.FloridaShines.org). Polk State College recommends that each newly enrolled student 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 at the Winter Haven Campus, Lakeland Campus, or JD Alexander Center and then submit an online Residency Declaration. An individual who is unable to provide documentation meeting the definition of a Florida resident according to the state guidelines is charged at the non-resident rate. A Polk State College Residency Committee has been established to hear student appeals to the College’s initial residency evaluation. An appeal must be submitted with a written explanation to the Admission and Registrar’s Office. The decision of the Residency Committee is final.
The state offers a variety of exemptions and waivers for the out-of-state portion of tuition, as listed in Florida Statute 1009.26. Some examples of populations who qualify for waivers or exemptions are veterans, spouses, and dependents; children of law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty; veterans who are recipients of the Purple Heart; and children from Florida’s foster care system. Once a student demonstrates that 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 the Florida Statutes that lists all exemptions and waivers. The student is encouraged to research possible waivers independently. An individual must provide evidence of qualification for a waiver or exemption for a term before the Drop Deadline for that term.
Note: While the Admission and Registrar’s Office makes every attempt to validate residency documentation as entered on the admission application, it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to ensure that residency requirements have been satisfied. Once the Drop Deadline passes, residency status cannot be adjusted regardless of waiver, exemption, benefit, documentation, or appeal.