College-bound? Attending your dream college may be financially out of reach if the school happens to be out of state. But if you hope to attend a public college in Florida and your grandparents live in the state, you may be in luck. Thanks to the Grandparent Waiver, Nana and Pop-Pop can spoil you even more – and not just by overindulging you with home-baked cookies and special gifts. Their Florida resident status might qualify you for a significant tuition reduction.
According to U.S. News and World Report, tuition and fees at ranked public colleges averaged $22,953 for out-of-state students and $10,423 for in-state students in the 2022-2023 academic year. Although Florida has the lowest average out-of-state four-year college tuition, non-residents still pay significantly more. For example, Florida State University estimated that undergraduate tuition in 2022-2023 would be $5,616 for Florida residents and $18,746 for out-of-state students. In response, the Florida Legislature created the Grandparent Waiver. The waiver allows eligible undergraduate students with grandparents residing in Florida to receive in-state tuition at any of Florida’s 12 public universities. Selected students receive a tuition and fee waiver for up to 110 percent of the total number of required credit hours for the degree program they’re enrolled in.
Jason Robinovitz, Chief Operating Officer of JRA Educational Consulting, says that because there are currently only 350 total Grandparent Waivers available per year (each university is allotted a certain number based on student enrollment and other factors) and students must meet specific eligibility requirements, not all who apply will receive the waiver. But for those who do, the waiver will have a significant impact.
“The Grandparent Waiver gives qualifying students a huge financial incentive that can save their families several thousand dollars per year,” he said. “It allows selected out-of-state students to attend a Florida college they may not have otherwise been able to afford.”
Am I Eligible For The Grandparent Waiver?
Waiver candidates must meet all eligibility requirements to be considered for the Grandparent Waiver. Students need a high school diploma or its equivalent and must have a grandparent who is a legal Florida resident. Students must enroll in a Florida public university as full-time undergraduate students for the summer or fall term immediately following high school graduation. In addition, students must have achieved an SAT or ACT combined score that is no lower than the 89th national percentile, which translates to a minimum 1330 total SAT score or 29 ACT composite score (based on the most recent published information by the College Board and ACT, Inc.).
For college-specific eligibility requirements, check out the admissions or financial aid page for each college (or use the college links below).
How Do I Apply for a Grandparent Waiver?
Each of the 12 Florida public colleges offers detailed information about the Grandparent Waiver – including a college-specific application – on its web page. For quick access, use the college links provided below. You must complete and submit a separate Grandparent Waiver for each school.
Carefully review the requirements, and be sure to comply with all requests and deadlines. You’ll need to provide documentation including verification of familial relationship and proof of your grandparents’ Florida residency. Because the waivers are limited in number and universities award them on a first-come-first-served basis, apply early, pay your admissions deposit, and submit your Grandparent Waiver along with your application.
If you receive the Grandparent Waiver, you don’t need to reapply as long as you maintain your full-time student status at the same university.
State University System of Florida Universities (SUS) and Their Links to Grandparent Waivers
- Florida Agricultural Mechanical University
- Florida Atlantic University
- Florida Gulf Coast University
- Florida International University
- Florida Polytechnic University
- Florida State University
- New College of Florida
- University of Central Florida
- University of Florida
- University of North Florida
- University of South Florida
- University of West Florida
Robonovitz says that if you meet the eligibility requirements, it’s definitely worth applying for the Grandparents Waiver.
“Selected students will be treated as residents, so they’ll pay the same tuition and fees that Florida residents pay,” he said. “Contact each college’s admissions or financial aid office to get up-to-date information, and apply and submit your waiver as early as possible to increase your chances of being selected.”
So call grandma and grandpa. Thank them for all those years of letting you eat dessert before (or instead of) dinner, buying you lots (and lots) of toys, letting you stay up way past your bedtime…and for giving you an opportunity to afford the college of your dreams.