I haven't used my ice scraper in ages, am I a Floridian now?
December 6, 2012 3:45 PM   Subscribe

Alachua County, Florida lawyer needed to help with in-state tuition problems. Recommendations?

About to enroll in graduate school for the Spring semester and my claim for in-state residency is currently undetermined after my acceptance. Before I hand over the documents they've requested, I'd like to speak to an attorney to get a proper interpretation of the law so I don't screw myself out of tens of thousands of dollars.

The crux of the problem revolves around Section 1009.21 F.S., which I don't trust my interpretation of. Without going into too much detail, in order to meet the 12 month requirement, I'm trying to use an employment offer dated before 1/7/12, which is 365 days before start of the term. My FL legal documents (license, voter reg) are too new to stand on their own. I also will have 12 utility payments and lease payments by the time the term starts, which are qualifying documents but not on their own. I have at this point wiped legal ties to my old state.

Of course, this was not planned very well because my initial purpose for coming to Florida was not incident to education at all. (I suppose if I had come here with the intention of going to school at the beginning I'd fail that criteria.)

I'd like to ask a lawyer to advise which forms of documentation meet the relevant categories and to draft responses and possibly litigate a reclassification if needed. (Given the tuition differential, I'm willing to pay.) Since I'm not sure what kind of lawyer would deal with this, I'm asking the hivemind!
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (5 answers total)
Just to clarify: this upcoming semester would be your first in graduate school, correct?

(Could you make a sockpuppet here or ask the mods to reply? Maybe add a throwaway email?)
posted by Madamina at 4:37 PM on December 6, 2012

my wife and I moved to Tallahassee in August of 2011 so that she could attend FSU, and immediately got DL, voter ID's etc. Even though she paid out of state tuition the first year, she qualified for in-state for the 2012-13 academic year. Just a data point.
posted by youchirren at 7:30 PM on December 6, 2012

Do you have a pay stub or some other dated document that you can show along with the job offer to prove when you started working in the state? Maybe a letter stating dates of employment from HR? Seems to me an offer dated in Jan doesn't mean you started in Jan...you may have started in March if it took you that long to move.
posted by MultiFaceted at 10:14 PM on December 6, 2012

Ok...so you MUST have something from the first list. I'd say a DL or car registration shows you broke ties with your old state, even if that took you a few months (it happens a lot). You have two pieces of documentation from the second list.

However, the school is the one who gets to decide if you meet the requirements or not. Have you called and asked them if the DL or car registration MUST be 12 months old, or will they accept that with additional documentation? You should be able to ask that without giving up any personal info...just make it a generic question.

Also the law says if you are working as a teacher, in higher Ed, or in a state agency you qualify as a resident. That makes the whole thing easier. Do any of those facts apply to you?
posted by MultiFaceted at 10:24 PM on December 6, 2012

I am not sure what type of lawyer would specialize in this situation, but this is at first glace a relatively simple legal question (statutory interpretation), so I think most attorneys could handle it - this seems like a good time to go to a generalist (and go to someone who does litigation, since you are considering litigation). So, I'd look for someone who just generally does civil litigation.

You could also try the Florida Bar's Lawyer Referral Service.
posted by insectosaurus at 5:20 AM on December 7, 2012

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