Pay for College

Planning ahead to pay for college can help you graduate without a mountain of debt.

Tuition and Fees

Students who are residents of Florida pay significantly lower tuition at state colleges and universities than students from other states. The average in-state tuition for a state university in Florida is $6,336 for 30 credit hours. Tuition at state colleges is about two-thirds the amount of tuition at state universities.

To be eligible for in-state tuition, students or their parents must have established and maintained legal residency in Florida for at least 12 consecutive months before the first day of the term. Unless proven otherwise, students who are 24 or older are considered independent and must provide their own documentation to demonstrate residency. Students under the age of 24 are considered dependent on their parents and must provide documentation from their parents to demonstrate residency. Students who are under the age of 24 can demonstrate independence by:

  • Providing 50% or more of their own support and filing their taxes as an independent,
  • Being married,
  • Being a veteran of the United States military, or
  • Being a ward of the court.

Learn more about the Guidelines on Florida Residency for Tuition Purposes (PDF).

Bright Futures Scholarships

Bright Futures Scholarships are awarded, based primarily on academic achievement, to recent Florida high school graduates who are pursuing an undergraduate degree at a public college or university in the state. Scholarship amounts vary based on GPA, scores on college entrance exams, community service hours and other factors.

Evaluations are based on information from your school district and the Florida Department of Education. You should verify your information and your eligibility with your school counselor.

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Florida College Savings and Prepaid Plans

Florida offers two convenient options for families to save for college. The Florida 529 Plan is a savings account which allows you to invest in options such as mutual funds. How much you invest and when you contribute to the plan is up to you, and earnings withdrawn for qualified education expenses are tax free. The Florida Prepaid Plan allows you to pay for tuition and fees at a Florida public college or university at current prices. These plans have specific costs, payment schedules and defined benefits. For more information, visit Florida Prepaid.

Financial Aid

Paying for college may seem challenging, but Florida offers lots of options to finance your education, including scholarships and grants that do not have to be repaid, loans that need to be repaid after graduation, and work-study programs to offset living expenses. To get started, you will need to complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid and a Florida Financial Aid Application. The FAFSA4caster is an online tool offered by the U.S. Department of Education that can help you understand your options for paying for college.

Learn more about financial aid programs.

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