Tuition and Billing Services

Online Free Seat Program FAQs

What is the Online Free Seats program?

In 2021, the Florida State Legislature implemented the Online Free Seat program. This waiver/discount program is for students who meet specific eligibility requirements and are enrolled in an online baccalaureate degree program. To be eligible for the waiver/discount, a student must:

  • Be a Florida resident for tuition purpose as defined by Florida Statute 1009.21;
  • Not have earned a bachelor’s degree;
  • Be enrolled in an online bachelor’s degree program;
  • Be a United States veteran, active duty member of the United States armed forces, active drilling member in the Florida National Guard, or a non-traditional student.

What is a non-traditional student?

The state has defined a non-traditional student as “a student who has earned a Florida standard high school diploma, a high school diploma comparable to a Florida standard high school diploma, or its equivalent, or completed a home education program, and has been out of high school or home education program for at least 5 years. A nontraditional student must not have been enrolled in a postsecondary institution in the last 5 years.”

Which undergraduate degree programs/majors are eligible under the Online Free Seats program?

The following online programs of study are currently eligible for the program:

Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters

  • Interdisciplinary Studies (BA)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies; concentration in Arts and Humanities (BA)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies; concentration in Social Science (BA)
  • Public Management (PBM)
  • Public Safety Administration; concentration in Disaster Management (BPSA)
  • Public Safety Administration; concentration in Law Enforcement/Corrections (BPSA)

College of Business

  • Accounting (BBA)
  • Economics; concentration in Business Economics (BBA)
  • Finance (BBA)
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management (BBA)
  • Management: General; concentration in Leadership and Applied Management Skills (BBA)
  • Marketing: General (BBA)
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Accounting
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Economics
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Finance
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Hospitality and Tourism Management
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Management: General
  • Pre-Business; concentration in Marketing: General

College of Engineering and Computer Science

  • Computer Science (BSCS)

Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing

  • Nursing: Registered Nurse (BSN)

Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

  • Geosciences: concentration in Geography (BA)

College of Social Work and Criminal Justice

  • Criminal Justice (BA)

What does the Online Free Seats program cover?

The waiver will cover the cost of tuition and fees for one online course in the student’s first semester of enrollment in the Online Free Seat program. For all remaining courses in the approved program, students will be granted a 25% discount on the tuition for said courses.

What fees are covered?

The following fees are waived for the one online course:

  • Student Financial Aid Fee
  • Capital Improvement Fee
  • Health Fee
  • Athletic Fee
  • Activity and Service Fee
  • Technology Fee
  • Tuition Differential
  • Distance Learning Fee
  • Other fees approved by the Board of Governors pursuant to Regulation 7.003(24).

The following fees are not covered under this waiver: Transportation Access Fee, Owl Card Fee, Lab Fees and Material and Supply Fees.

For all other courses in which the student received the discount, the discount is only applicable to the tuition and tuition differential, not any fees.

Can the waiver/discount be used for courses associated with a second major, second degree, minor, or concentration?

Only courses required for a student’s primary online program are eligible for the waiver and discount.  

Is there a limit to the number of courses that will be covered?

Yes.  In addition to the courses being applicable to the qualified online degree/major, the discount applies for up to 110% of the total number of credits required for the degree.  Please note that credits earned through transfer coursework or accelerated mechanisms count towards the 110% limit.

Are there other restrictions to the waiver and/or discount?

Yes.  The waiver and/or discount cannot be applied if the student has other waivers, 3rd party contracts, and/or scholarships that are applied towards their tuition and fees.

How do I submit an application to the program?

To apply for the Online Free Seat program, you must submit the Online Free Seat application.  Please note that if you are not a Florida resident for tuition purposes, have already earned a bachelor’s degree, and/or are not enrolled in an approved online baccalaureate degree program, the system will not allow you to proceed with an application.

The application will require U.S. veterans, active duty member of the U.S. armed forces, and active drilling member in the Florida National Guard to provide supporting documentation to document their status.

How many ‘free seats’ are available?

The Florida State Legislature approved 1,000 free seats annually to all universities within the Florida public system.  FAU’s initial allocation for the 2021-2022 academic year is 82 slots. Acceptance into the program requires that students submit the application and supply any supplemental documentation required.  Eligibility for the program is on a first-come, first-served basis.

Do I need to submit any supporting documentation with my application?

Yes, the following documentation is required:

  • U.S. veterans must submit a copy of their DD214-4;
  • Active duty members of the U.S. Armed Forces must submit their most current orders;
  • Active drilling member in the Florida National Guard must send the Verification of Active Drilling Status to their Unit Commanding Officer.  The Unit Commander Officer must complete and return the form to FAU.

An application is considered incomplete without the required supporting documentation. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed nor be given priority placement for the program enrollment.

For students who indicate qualification based upon the non-traditional student designation, the Office of the Registrar will review the academic history and National Student Clearinghouse database to validate the student’s status.

If I am granted participation in the Online Free Seats program, how do I maintain continued eligibility?

  •  Students must enroll at least part-time in the degree applicable courses during each academic year.
  • Students who change their program of study to a non-approved degree/major automatically lose their eligibility for the program. Should the student re-enroll in an eligible program at a later time, the student would have to submit a new application to participate in the program.  There is no guarantee that the student will regain eligibility.
  • Students who are active drilling members of the Florida National Guard must submit a new the Verification of Active Drilling Status to FAU’s Military and Veteran’s Student Success each semester demonstrating that they are still active drilling.

Can waiver/discount be used for transient work outside of FAU? 

No.  Courses covered by the program must be taken at FAU.