The Online Free Seat Program was created by the Florida Legislature and takes effect in the Fall 2021 semester. This program was created to encourage veterans, active duty members of the United States Armed Forces, active drilling members of the Florida National Guard, and nontraditional students to enroll in an online baccalaureate degree program at a state university.
In order to qualify for the Online Free Seat Program, students must be certain eligibility criteria:
- Students must be Florida residents for tuition purposes (in-state residency);
- Students must not have previously earned a bachelor's degree;
- Students must be enrolled in an online baccalaureate degree program as defined in the "Program Eligibility" section below;
- Students must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
- Is a veteran as defined in s. 1.01(14), Florida Statutes;
- Is an active duty member of the United States Armed Forces;
- Is an active drilling member of the Florida National Guard whose eligibility is validated by the service member's unit Commander and/or the Commander's designated representative serving as the Unit Point of Contact. Complete the Active Drilling Form.
- Is a nontraditional student, defined strictly by the state for the purposes of this program as a student who has earned a Florida standard high school diploma comparable to a Florida standard high school diploma, or it equivalent, or completed a home education program, and has been out of high school or home education program for at least 5 years, and has not attended any college or university in the last 5 years. Students enrolled at FSU, or at any other college or university, in any prior term within the past 5 years are ineligible to apply for this waiver program.
- Students who wish to be considered for the Online Free Seat program must submit an application before the fee payment deadline and be approved by their institution to participate in the program;
- To remain eligible for the program, a student who has been approved for participation must enroll at least part-time in the program during each academic year. Taking at least one credit hour during the academic year would qualify as part-time enrollment.
- Active drilling verification must be conducted each term in which the student is participating in the Online Free Seat Program for students who are drilling members of the Florida National Guard.
Online baccalaureate programs are those programs/majors included in the Board of Governors Online Program Inventory
|CIP Code||CIP Description|
|43.0104||Criminal Justice / Safety Studies|
|45.0101||Social Sciences, General|
|11.0101||Computer and Information Sciences, General|
|43.0107||Criminal Justice / Police Science|
The Free Seat Program applies to online baccalaureate programs regardless of funding source-- E&G, Market Rate, or Non-Fundable programs apply. All courses that are waived or discounted must be a part of the online baccalaureate degree program in which the student is enrolled.
The Online Free Seat Program is a first-come-first-served program with student maximums set by the Board of Governors. FSU has been granted 31 waiver seats, which means that the waiver will be granted to the first qualifying 31 students in year one, and will be reevaluated each successive year. In the students first term of waiver eligibility FSU will waive the cost of one online course, and will discount select fees of the student's remaining courses by 25%. For each term after the first term, FSU will discount select fees on the student's remaining courses by 25%.
During the first term of eligibility, the following fees will be waived for one online course:
- Student Financial Aid Fee
- Capital Improvement Fee
- Health Fee (Health, Health +, Counseling Center)
- Athletic Fee
- Activity & Services Fee
- Technology Fee
- Tuition Differential Fee
- Distance Learning Fees
The waiver will not cover:
- Transportation Access Fee
- Student Facilities Use Fee (per semester & per credit hour)
- FSUCard Term Fee
- Lab Fees, Material & Supply Fees, and Equipment Fees
- Fees for Books and Supplies
- Other non-Tuition related fees not explicitly stated in the covered areas above
For all other courses in the program, FSU will reduce the tuition and tuition differential fee by 25% each term. Students who qualify for the program will receive the discount for up to 110% of the number of required credit hours of the degree program for which the student is enrolled. Accelerated credits and transfer credits count towards the 110 percent limitation.
Policies for the Online-Free-Seat Waiver are maintained by the Board of Governors of the State University System.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I apply for the waiver?
Complete an Online Free Seat Program Application by the fee payment deadline. The Spring 2022 application is open until January 14, 2022.
When will the waiver apply to my invoice?
Because the waiver is based on enrollment, Student Business Services will not apply the waiver until after the drop/add window for the term has closed, typically during the second week of classes.
What happens if I drop a course?
Student Business Services will adjust your waiver to cover the correct courses based on your enrollment.
What happens if I change majors?
Eligibility is determined at the time that the waiver is applied to student accounts. If a major change occurs after the waiver is posted the student may lose eligibility for future terms, but the change will not affect the current term.
What if I'm double-majoring?
As long as the student's primary major is included in the list of CIPs the student's academic schedule will qualify for the waiver, even for courses that are not technically part of the primary major, but satisfy requirements for the secondary.
How does the waiver affect my financial aid eligibility?
Like all resources, the Online Free Seat Program will reduce your overall need which may result in a reduction of need-based scholarships, grants, and loans.