A little late for input but,
3/18 dated acceptance letter (submitted early January, had been decision pending since mid February)
3.0/164/nonURM/Out of State (my UG GPA sucks but it was in engineering, and I also have a M.S. with a 3.85 GPA and several years work experience)
Reading these posts I definitely feel I JUST squeaked in on softs.
From what I've read, it looks like out-of-staters are generally able to become instate by the start of year two, does anyone know more about ways to speed this up? I have lots of family down in FL who's address I could start to 'move' my bills, car registration, etc to, so I'm wondering if there is any value in 'moving' to their address now rather than later when later when I quit work up here (AH!) and physically move to Gainesville. Since I'm already too late to have a full 12 months prior to yr 1 semester 2 I am guessing not.
Also, in general, financial aid for out-of-staters: feel there is greater or lesser likelihood of receiving scholarships? I know there are MORE scholarships for in-state but there are also a ton more instate kids to fight over them.... It seems like UF would do something to soften the blow to continue to attract out-of-state talent but what do I know.
I keep asking myself who walks away stable, comfortable-salaried career to go into debt, expecting only about the same salary after coming out, but I guess not hating life 9-5 for the next 40 years is worth it
It certainly would be if I could knock down that huge 30k price tag for that first year...
Appears nobody has addressed this, so I'll take a swing:
Regarding residency... technically, you are eligible for Florida residency after one year in the state. However, with budgets as they are, I've read/heard that it will be much harder to gain in-state tuition for 2L and 3L.
Case in point: I've lived in Florida since 1991, obtained a drivers license in 1999, registered to vote in 2001, and have had a car registered in my name since 2005. On my UF Law application (not any forms regarding residency) I listed my local job and my work experience on a very well-known event for a very well-known media outlet (not some obscure thing) as "Location: Various" because there is a Winter event and a Summer event in different states. Because of that, I got a letter from UF stating that they needed further proof of my whereabouts. Granted, a phone call saying that I worked three weeks at a time, twice a year cleared things up. But they are not messing around with residency.
Not only do you have to prove that you are here (car registration, driver's license, voter ID, water/electric bill, tax filings), you have to prove that you are going to STAY in Florida. The best way to do that is to sign up for the FL Bar Exam as soon as you show up on campus. It'll actually be cheaper the sooner you sign up, but if you aren't planning to stay after law school, it may or may not be worth it.
I don't want to say you're screwed, but banking on cheaper tuition after one year is not wise as it isn't a guarantee, only a possibilty.
Scholarships: UF is still in the process of granting awards, but I have a feeling they could be stingy. I got over half tuition from FSU, but I'm an alternate for merit based awards at UF. I think my FSU one may have been merit/need, which I believe/hope UF is still getting around to distributing. But coming from a salaried position, you probably don't have the best (or should it be worst?) FAFSA EFC number, so you could be chasing the merit scholarships only. The best idea I can offer is that UF does offer some sort of matching cost grant, meaning that if you get into a comparable school that is cheaper, they will match that price. I think this would work if you get into a state school wherever you are and would be paying in-state tutition, UF might match that. Worth some research, but I know that you must demonstrate need.
And most importantly, not hating life for 40 years makes it 100% worth it.