Dependent/Independent Students

Dependent vs. Independent Students

What is a Dependent Student?

A student, whether or not living with his or her parent, who is eligible to be claimed by his or her parent under the federal income tax code shall be classified as a dependent student. In most cases a copy of the most recent federal income tax return indicating that the student was claimed as a dependent will be required. With very few exceptions, a dependent student is considered to be a legal resident of the same state as the student's parents. A 'parent' is defined as either or both parents of a student, any guardian of a student, or any person in a parental relationship to the student.

If the student is a dependent, the parent is the claimant and will need to complete the Florida Residency Declaration and may be asked to provide documents in support of their claim as a Florida resident.

What is an Independent Student?

A student who meets any one of the following is considered as an independent student when determining residency for tuition purposes:

  • 24 years of age or older prior to the first day of classes of the term, or
  • married, or
  • has a dependent child who receives more than half of their support from the student, or
  • has other dependents who live with and receive more than half of their support from the student, or
  • a veteran of the U.S. Armed Forces or is currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces (U.S. Air Force, U.S. Army, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Navy) or National Guard or Reserves for purposes other than training, or
  • at any time since the student turned age 13, where 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 staff member of an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, or
  • student is working on a master's or doctoral degree during the term for which residency status is sought at a Florida institution