Holds delay funds

Out-of-state students seeking for Florida residency this year must adhere to new requirements, such as owning a permanent home, in order to qualify. The 2009 Florida Statute, 1009.21, Rules 6A-10.004 and 6A-20.003, will no longer approve individuals who are seeking residency for tuition purposes. “The biggest misinformation people believe that someone tells them is just go to FAMU, and after one year you will become a Florida resident,” said Roland Gaines, vice president for student affairs. “After one year they start to apply for qualifications and they don’t meet it. It’s misinformation being passed on.” The new law passed from the state of Florida legislature calls for students to work a full-time job that includes a minimum of 30 hours a week, own a permanent home and to file as an independent but not for tuition purposes. The ruling has disappointed out-of state students that planned to obtain their residency this year after following the previous residency requirements for one year. Sheena Burley, 24, third-year nursing student from Decatur, Ga., said, “The only thing that would hold me back is not having a full-time job… how am I supposed to buy a house and I’m paying for school too?” The state of Florida decided to execute these new changes because non-Florida college residents were getting residency after being in Florida for only a year. This resulted in the state losing money for out-of-state students, Gaines said. “There have been a number of studies back in 1992 that university and colleges were approving [non] residents,” Gaines said. The state is enforcing that universities and community colleges pay close attention to students applying for residency. For non-resident students that do not have scholarships, it is an increasing burden to pay tuition. Non-resident students are compensating to cover extra tuition fees by using alternative ways to pay for school. Nefertiti Mills, 21, fourth-year political science student from Westchester, N.Y., said, “I got scholarships from back at home, but I am not eligible for grants… because of my parent’s income.” The new qualifications in the Florida statute state there is a difference in a Florida resident for tuition purposes, rather than a Florida resident. Bryan Humphrey, 21, third-year in health management student from Central, N.J., said, “I knew what I had to do to make sure I was an in-state resident, so I worked full-time and I rented my residency for two years.” The difference in resident and non-resident fees is substantial. A Florida resident attending FAMU pays $123.99 total fees per credit hour, while non-residents pay $522.01 per credit hour. The new residency law may have an impact on out of state student enrollment. “It could affect enrollment if they [out-of-state students] come in thinking I will struggle this first year and then I will become a resident,” Gaines said. Gaines added that students applying for residency should be well informed on the new requirements in place as the state is meticulously checking for students applying for residency for tuition purposes. “When we are audited they will look to see how we’ve done. Our president hates audit fining, so were going to try to follow the new law and procedure they tell us,” Gaines said.