What is an independent student?

An independent student must be

  • 24 years of age prior to the start of the term, or
  • married, or
  • have a dependent child, or
  • a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces for purposes other than training, or
  • both parents are deceased, or the student is or was (until age 18) a ward/dependent of the court or in foster care, or
  • the student is determined an unaccompanied homeless by a school district homeless liaison, or
  • student is working on a master’s or doctoral degree, or
  • provide a minimum of 51% of his or her own support

Independent students must document the source of their financial support, clearly demonstrating that a parent or legal guardian no longer claims them as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.

The Student Must Provide Evidence to Substantiate the initial Residency Classification or the Request for Residency Change and the Citizenship Confirmation form (if newly naturalized) with

  1. Legal ties to the state of Florida - At least two documents must be dated or issued at least 12 months before the first day of the semester for which Florida residency is sought. No single document is conclusive.
    • Florida driver's license
    • Florida vehicle registration
    • Florida voter's registration
    • Declaration of domicile
    • Proof of purchase of a permanent home in Florida
    • Florida occupation/professional license
    • Florida incorporation or other evidence of legal residence in Florida
    In addition, the student must also produce evidence of
    • No legal ties to another state and
    • Establishment of bona fide domicile in Florida (rather than maintaining a temporary residence incidental to enrollment at the university). Continued legal ties with another state contradicts establishment of Florida domicile.

  2. Proof of physical presence - Independent students must demonstrate that they have maintained a residence in the state of Florida for the domicile year (previous 12 months) associated with the term of entry to UF or the request for reclassification.
    Physical presence can be documented by
    • Continuous enrollment at the university for the past three terms, or for periods of non-enrollment --
    • Leases, rent receipts and utility bills in the student's name
    • Proof of employment

  3. Financial independence - Independent students must also prove that they are financially self-supporting.

When the initial request or the request for residency reclassification is evaluated, university staff will estimate the student's expenses for the domicile year. These estimates are based on cost of attendance figures used for financial aid eligibility. The estimate is specific to the student and it is dependent on number of hours enrolled, place of residence (on-campus or off-campus) and other circumstances.

The student must conclusively document that they have provided at least 51% of these expenses.

Financial independence can be substantiated with:

  • A copy of the parents' most recent tax return indicating that the student was not claimed as a dependent, and
  • Proof of income greater than or equal to 51% of the estimated expenses.

Income can include:

  • Earned wages for the past 12 months, documented with federal income tax returns, W-2's and pay stubs.
    (Earned wages must be declared for consideration; tips and other earnings not reported to the IRS cannot be considered.)
  • Scholarships received in the past 12 months.
    (A copy of the award letter is required).

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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