Billy Harris spent more time during his first two weeks at UF watching the TV show "Friends" than making them.

Harris is from Columbia, Md., and, like other out-of-state students, he is outnumbered by those who came from Florida. Because he isn't from the Sunshine State, he didn't have the advantage of being surrounded by familiar high-school faces.

"I didn't know anyone," said Harris, a 19-year-old finance freshman. "And I didn't go up to people and introduce myself."

The Chronicle of Higher Education published data in October that stated 5,741 freshman in 2010 - 95.5 percent of the freshman class - were Florida residents.

The publication received its data from a survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Education. The survey, which is based on where students claim residency at the time they submit their college applications, tracks the relocation of new full-time students at colleges and universities around the nation.

The percentage of in-state freshmen at UF increased from 2004 to 2008, according to the data. In 2004, 89.4 percent of the freshman class were Florida residents. The percentage has not changed since 2008.

"First and foremost, it is because we are a state university," said UF spokesman Steve Orlando, "and we consider it our primary goal to educate Floridians."

More than 29,000 students applied to UF for the 2011-2012 school year, and 11,423 students were admitted, Orlando said.

Bright Futures and the cost of tuition may contribute to the number of in-state applicants UF receives, Orlando said.

"Tuition is about $2,500 lower than the national average per year for in-state students," he said.

Jamie Nesser, a 19-year-old nursing freshman, said convenience is another reason students choose to stay in Florida.

"If I was from out of state, I'd barely go home, but now I go home all the time," said Nesser, who is from Hollywood, Fla. "I always knew I wanted to be close to home."

She said she likes the fact that she came to UF knowing several people.

Paige Gross, a 19-year-old event management freshman from Potomac, Md., said the high number of students from Florida doesn't affect her.

"I knew that the majority of the people here come from in state. I was still going to apply either way," she said.

Harris said he regretted his decision to attend UF at one point, but he doesn't feel that way anymore. He jumped in and joined a fraternity, which he said helped.

"People know me more by where I'm from," he said. "It makes me more unique, and I like it."