Dear Mr. Feichthaler:
My grandson was recently accepted to Florida Gulf Coast University, where he will attend after he graduates high school in Michigan later this year. As you likely know, the cost of tuition for in-state residents is much cheaper than for those out of state. I wondered if my grandson moved in with me in June right after graduation, would he qualify for in-state tuition?
- George F.
Although not exactly a real estate question, your issue does have some connection to real estate. To declare homestead for asset protection purposes, for instance, there is no waiting period to do so. Once you are here in Florida and intend to make it home, this is your homestead. I can certainly understand your concerns - the state university system advises the average additional cost for out-of-state residents is $20,000 more ... per year!
Unfortunately, for in-state tuition purposes, it is not as simple as moving here and declaring domicile. In the case of your grandson, the state will look, first, to see if he is being claimed as a dependent by his parents for tax purposes. If so, this will immediately disqualify the student from in-state (where the parents live out of state). The law provides that, if your grandson had lived with you for the past 36 months prior to the term you are seeking the reduced tuition, then the student can be eligible for in-state. There are several exceptions to the rule. For instance, if your grandson decided to marry a Florida resident prior to the term in question, the waiting period would not apply.
You may want to seek legal counsel to discuss the exact facts and circumstances surrounding your grandson's potential application. The following lengthy link contains just about anything you may want to know about qualifying for in-state tuition: www.floridacollegesystem.com/sites
We wish your grandson all the best at FGCU, and we wish the Eagles a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.
Eric P. Feichthaler has lived in Cape Coral for 28 years and graduated from Mariner High School in Cape Coral. After completing law school at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., he returned to Southwest Florida to practice law and raise a family. He served as mayor of Cape Coral from 2005-2008, and continued his service to the community through his chairmanship of the Harney Point Kiwanis Club KidsFest from 2011-2015, which provides a free day of fun and learning to thousands of Cape Coral families, and funds numerous scholarships. He has been married to his wife, Mary, for 14 years, and they have four children together. Recently, he earned his board certification in Real Estate Law from the Florida Bar. He is also a Supreme Court Certified Circuit Civil Mediator.
This article is general in nature and not intended as legal advice to anyone. Individuals should seek legal counsel before acting on any matter of legal rights and obligations.