The Grandparent Waiver in Florida: Everything You Need to Know

Last year, the Florida legislature signed into law the Grandparent Tuition Waiver. According to the legislation, out-of-state students whose grandparent(s) reside in Florida may be eligible for in-state tuition at a four-year public university in Florida. The requirements are as follows:

Have a grandparent who is a legal Florida resident. Note: “Grandparent” is defined as the natural or adopted legal guardian of the applicant’s parent.

  • Achieve an SAT or ACT combined score no lower than the 89th national percentile (1330 SAT or 29 ACT).
  • Earn a high school diploma equivalent to a Florida standard high school diploma or home school program.
  • Enroll full-time immediately following high school graduation and maintain full-time student status each fall and spring semester thereafter until graduation requirements are met. Summer enrollment is not required.

No more than 350 fee waivers may be allocated systemwide each academic year. For the 2022-2023 academic year, each of the twelve Florida public schools received ten fee waivers. The remainder of the 300 waivers were then distributed based on enrollment and other factors. The plan has proven so popular that most, if not all, of the universities have awarded all of their allotments for the 2022-23 school year.

According to an April 2022 article in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, FSU allocated all of its 55 waivers, UF all of its 60 waivers, and UCF all of its 49 waivers. Each of the schools is maintaining a waitlist; both FSU’s and UF’s include more than 100 students.

The law also stipulated that the schools allocate the grandparent waivers on a first come, first served basis. Therefore, International College Counselors recommends applying to each school as early as possible (along with any required documentation such as a Student Self-Reported Academic Record), submitting the waiver as soon as you submit your application, and paying your deposit as soon as you learn you’ve been admitted. Students must apply for the waiver separately at each school.

This legislation has huge implications for out-of-state applicants to Florida public schools, as it offers the potential to save families tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and fees. For example, the difference between in-state and out-of-state fees at the University of Florida is roughly $22,000 each year.

To apply, students need to fill out the corresponding waiver form found on the college’s website. The form may typically be found on the admission webpage, or it may be found by doing a web search of “school name grandparent waiver.”

Grandparents must provide at least two documents to prove Florida residency. The documents need to demonstrate that the grandparent has established and maintained legal residence in this state for at least 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the grandchild’s initial enrollment in an institution of higher education.

Documents must include at least one (1) of the following:

  • A Florida voter’s registration card
  • A Florida driver’s license
  • A State of Florida identification card
  • A Florida vehicle registration
  • Proof of a permanent home in Florida, which is occupied as a primary residence by the individual’s grandparent
  • Proof of a homestead exemption in Florida
  • Proof of permanent full-time employment in Florida for at least 30 hours per week for a 12-month period.

The below documents may be used in conjunction with one of the required documents listed above:

  • A declaration of domicile in Florida
  • A Florida professional or occupational license
  • A document showing Florida incorporation
  • A document evidencing family ties in Florida
  • Proof of membership in a Florida-based charitable or professional organization
  • Any other documentation that supports the grandparent’s request for resident status, including, but not limited to, utility bills and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments; a lease agreement and proof of 12 consecutive months of payments; or an official state, federal, or court document evidencing legal ties to Florida