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House bill 851 faq

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​H.B. 851, passed during the 2014 legislative session, is a law that, in part, gives students who attended a Florida secondary school for three consecutive years before graduation—regardless of immigration status—the opportunity to pursue higher education at in-state tuition rates, should they apply for admission within 24 months after graduation. Previously, certain Florida students were required to pay out-of-state rates to attend Florida’s colleges and universities due to their immigration status.


​Primarily Florida students who are immigrants, including undocumented immigrants. 


Not necessarily. Many immigrants already qualify for in-state rates if they reside in Florida. Eligible immigrant visas are outlined in the Florida Residency Guidelines. 


​In-state tuition is the rate charged to students who reside in Florida. Out-of-state tuition, which is as much as two or three times higher, is the rate charged to students who reside in other states. 

A student must: 
(a) have attended a secondary school in Florida for three consecutive years immediately before graduating from a Florida high school; 
(b) apply for enrollment in an institution of higher education within 24 months after high school graduation; and 
(c) submit an official Florida high school transcript as evidence of attendance and graduation.


​H.B. 851 goes into effect on July 1, 2014. 

H.B. 851 applies to all public higher education institutions in Florida, including state colleges and universities. These schools are run by two different state agencies: The Florida Department of Education runs the 28 state and community colleges through the Florida College System, while the Florida Board of Governors runs the 12 state universities. H.B. 851 applies to schools run by both agencies, though each agency will have separate regulations explaining how it is to be implemented.

* H.B. 851 also addresses other tuition-related issues which are discussed in the Florida Resident for Tuition Purposes FAQ, including in-state tuition eligibility for veterans, U.S. citizen residents with undocumented parents, and nonresidents who marry Florida residents. 


​If you applied for enrollment in a college or university within 24 months of your graduation, you may qualify. You should contact your individual school’s admissions office as soon as possible to apply and/or inquire further. 


​H.B. 851 does not define secondary school, but Florida Statute 1003.413 defines secondary schools as “schools that primarily serve students in grades 6 through 12.” The law requires that a student attend school for three consecutive years and provide an official high school transcript. Florida Virtual School or a homeschool program, which are both recognized by the state and regulated by the Department of Education, may qualify. Students in these situations should contact their individual school’s admissions office for more information. 


You are still eligible for in-state tuition rates, but you will not be reclassified. H.B. 851 treats qualifying students as non-resident students but allows them to be eligible for an out-of-state fee waiver, making them eligible for the in-state rate. Contact the admissions office to obtain information on the waiver.​


​It is a waiver given to nonresident students that reduces the out-of-state tuition rate to in-state rates.


Are there any restrictions that might limit the number of out-of-state fee There are a few restrictions. Under the Florida Board of Governors’ regulations, the number of nonresident students cannot exceed 10% of the system-wide student body.  H.B. 851 requires that veterans who are eligible for out-of-state fee waivers receive preference. Nonresident veterans will also be considered part of the 10% limit and will be prioritized over other students who qualify under H.B. 851.


​Colleges and universities may request proof on a yearly basis. Until further guidance is issued, students should maintain documentation of their eligibility until they finish their post-secondary program.


​No, eligibility under H.B. 851 does not make you eligible for state financial support. You may be eligible for private scholarships, however.


​No procedures have been established regarding appeals or grievances.