In-state tuition for immigrant students passes Florida legislature

by Philip Kellerman

After contentious debate House Bill 851 was passed by the Florida legislature granting state universities and colleges the ability to waive out of state fees to eligible undocumented students. Governor Scott has pledged to sign it.

In order for an undocumented student to establish residency for in-state tuition they must meet the following requirements:

1) Attended a secondary school in the state for 3 consecutive years immediately before graduating from a high school in Florida;

2) Apply for enrollment in an institution of higher education within 24 months after high school graduation; and

3) Submit an official high school transcript as evidence of attendance and graduation.

Those legislators in favor pointed out that foreign-born children should not be punished by actions of their parents in bringing them here by charging out of state tuition at up to 400 percent above in-state fees. In addition, they said many of these undocumented high schools students are needed to fill the gap in Florida for a highly qualified work force. Those against opined that it is a tax subsidy to “illegal aliens” and would promote illegal immigration to this country.

It remains to be seen whether immigrant students who have been out of high school for more than two years will be eligible for in-state tuition.

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